Answers & Questions

 

SIN & Forgiveness

The COVID-19 response reminds me of the concern we all had over Ebola.  I remember thinking people realized that it does not matter how healthy you are, or how you live your life. If you are exposed to Ebola just one time, you have a 90% chance of dying. Imagine living a healthy, safe life and then one day, you meet someone who has Ebola and unknowingly become exposed. Now you have a 9 in 10 chance of dying. That is a mortality rate of 90%. One exposure, one time.
 
Sin is like Ebola is one sense, all it takes is one sin, one time, and you die. Sin has a mortality rate of 100%. 10 out of 10 people who do just one sin, die. But it is nothing so nice (if I can use that word in this context) as dying from Ebola. No, sin means you die on Earth and get a new body that cannot die, which in turns lives forever in pain and fear and torment in a lake of pure fire apart from God or anything good. Sin is so horrific it makes Ebola look gentle.
 
There are treatments for Ebola but no cure. Imagine there was, imagine someone could give you a 100% blood transfusion, their blood for yours. The procedure would cause them to die, but you would live and be completely free from Ebola. In fact, the procedure would mean you could never die from Ebola, ever. This is a fantasy, no such cure for Ebola exists.
 
But there is a cure for sin. It requires the death of a sinless, perfect person. And that person has to be totally perfect in every way. The reality is, this cure does exist. God Himself, Jesus Christ, took on human form and lived a perfect life and then died. But He did more than die, He took on every sin of every human being who ever lived or will ever live. All humans everywhere can be totally and completely saved, forever, from all sin and all suffering. Instead of dying and spending forever in pain and fear and torment, now the cured human can live literally in the presence of God Himself and experience all that is good.
 
There is a catch. There is always a catch, right? Just like a doctor needs to give you a cure or treatment for any illness, you need God to give you the cure for sin. And in order to get the cure, you must want it. If I am sick and I refuse to see a doctor and I refuse to ever take any cure or medicine, the fact a cure exists means nothing to me. I die anyway. The same situation exists with sin, if I refuse the cure, I die. I spend eternity suffering. If I accept the cure, I live. It is that simple, but only because God paid the highest price.
 
This cure is called forgiveness.
 
One book in the Bible, in the New Testament, is called Romans
 
You can read if for yourself.
 
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Rom 3:23 NAS)
 
The word all in the original Greek means the same thing as it does in modern English, it means all. Falling short
means you die, like a stunt driver who tries to jump a canyon and falls short, the stunt driver falls to his doom.
 
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8 NAS)
 
God is real and so is His love. He has all power, yet He will not force His will upon His creation, mankind. He allows us choice. We can choose to do good or bad, as is evident by looking at people of every age, in every culture, worldwide. And we can choose to accept the cure, or reject forgiveness.
 
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:23 NAS)
 
Wages are what you earn for your actions. We deserve the death that results from sin. However God’s actions mean forgiveness, eternal life with God where everything good exists and we enjoy everything good.
 
…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; (Rom 10:9 NAS)
 
Getting cured is a two-step process; 1) admit God is who He says He is 2) and have faith that what you read in the Bible is true about how God paid the price we could never pay on our own.
 
This is so important that the Bible sums it up another way in the book of John, also in the New Testament;
 
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. 18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (Joh 3:16-18 NAS)
 
If you have questions, please ask us. We are happy to show you in the Bible the answers to your questions.
 

Why Faith & Reason Ministries?

When thinking of names for a Christian ministry, why would a name such as Faith & Reason Ministries be chosen? After all, that is hardly a common sort of name for a Christian ministry.
 
Of greatest importance, much prayer was involved when considering a ministry name. During that time, three scriptures in particular came to mind:
 
Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (NIV).
 
Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (NIV).
 
1 Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (NIV).
 
Faith is essential to please God, as apart from faith one may not even believe in the existence of any god, let alone the living God that the Bible declares. Indeed, apart from faith one may tend to gravitate towards atheism.
 
Yet, reason, one’s ability to think clearly, is not to be ignored. In Isaiah 1:18, the Hebrew for reason, yakach, means to prove, decide, judge, convince, correct, to reason. Within the context of the Isaiah passage, it even includes the sense of a debate in court (see Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Vol. 1, 377).
 
Regarding 1 Peter 3:15, the Greek word translated reason, is logos. Its usage here means account, reason, discourse, the mental faculty of thinking, reasoning, calculating, answer or explanation, to speak intelligently. While the word logos, particularly in the Gospel of John, can refer to Jesus, the essential Word of God, it has a variety of other meanings as well.
 
Also, in Hebrews 11:1 God declares through the author of Hebrews, “Now faith is the substanceof things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (KJV). The Greek word for evidence, hupostasis, means reality, essence, that which lies under what is apparent, that which has actual existence, and also confidence, firm trust, guarantee, assurance. The definition of the Greek word for evidence, elegchos, is a proof, that which tests or proves a thing, conviction, certain persuasion. Faith is not an ephemeral, wispy thing, but substantial, real, reasonable, genuine.
 
In a way a parallel can be seen in the way that Newton “discovered” gravity. Gravity, itself, could not be seen, but the falling apple Newton observed provided ample evidence that gravity existed.
 
The scriptures never insist that one is to have “faith” simply because one has a “burning in one’s bosom” (it might be the triple pepperoni pizza from last night), it just “feels right” or having “faith in faith”. Faith is based on what is reasonable.
 
Thus, we find that according to the scriptures, both faith and reason are important and closely linked Therefore both faith and reason are included as part of our name.
 
In the next article we will examine the controversy that swirls around the terms “faith” and “reason”. A third article will delve into what is meant by faith.
 
In Part I of “Why Faith & Reason Ministries?”, we discussed how the name “Faith & Reason Ministries” was chosen, and why faith and reason are both important. What we did not know when choosing the name was the ongoing controversy surrounding the terms “faith” and “reason”.
 
After selection, we soon discovered that the name ‘Faith & Reason” places us squarely in the middle of a heated debate surrounding the words faith and reason. We found a number of Internet sites that insist that reason is not only strongly opposed to faith, but defeats it soundly. Simply stated, many maintain that one cannot have both faith and reason – one must choose between them. Numerous quotes were cited in order to prove that “reason” and “faith” are opposed to each other, and that “reason” is the only viable option.
 
A few of the cited quotes:
“Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.” Richard Dawkins
 
“The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.” Benjamin Franklin
 
“Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.” Mark Twain
 
Yet, as we discussed in the previous article, the scriptures themselves do not place faith and reason in opposition to each other. Jesus, himself, noted that the greatest commandment was to love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:27). Thus, Jesus commands us to use our minds to think about, and love God. Further, Paul declares in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (NIV). Also, as Proverbs 23:7 indicates, as a man thinks, so he is.
 
The Greek word for mind in Luke 10:27, dianoia, means understanding, intellect, intellectual facility, thought. Similarly, the Greek word for think in Philippians 4:8, logizomai, means to think or reckon, to put together with one’s mind, to occupy one’s self with that thinking, a thinking that deals with reality. The Hebrew word for think, shàar, parallels the Greek, meaning to reason out, calculate, to reckon.
 
The scriptures make it very clear that thinking and reasoning are essential to faith, and one can make the case that the Bible even assumes that we will think and reason. The key is not thinking and reasoning per se, but rather, what we think and reason about, as Philippians 4:8 states, “think about these things”.
 
The Bible also teaches that there are two ways of thinking, two very different types and sources of wisdom. James 3:13-18 (NIV):
 
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
 
The first wisdom coming from heaven, is pure, full of mercy, and sincere. It results in good fruit, and loves peace. The second wisdom comes from the earth, is unspiritual, of the devil. In contrast, the second wisdom results in every evil practice, disorder and is marked by selfishness. The Greek word for wisdom in both cases, sophia, refers to broad and full intelligence, and can relate to either man’s wisdom or God’s wisdom.
 
The two types of wisdom mentioned in James 3:13-18 lead to very different ways of thinking. In the cited quotes, the respective authors are not thinking and reasoning in line with Godly wisdom.
 
As we have discussed, faith and reason are both taught in the Bible and go hand in hand with God’s teaching. One never opposes the other.
 
Yet, in spite of the Bible’s teaching, various internet sites reference quotes by Martin Luther, in order to seek to prove their presuppositions, that reason opposes faith, and that the Church is against all forms of reason. Two Luther quotes in particular are key: first, “Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding;” and second, in various versions, “Reason is the devil’s whore.”
 
Again, the issue is not the act of thinking and reasoning. Luther’s point of contention was not with the act of thinking, but the unbiblical elevated role given to thinking and reasoning in the Middle Ages, and the technical meaning that the word “reason” was already starting to assume under early humanism. Given the frequent use of Luther’s comments, it is worth taking time to place Luther’s views in historical context.
 
During the late Middle Ages, there arose within some quarters of the Church what became known as the Scholastic Movement. The Scholastics (Thomas Aquinas would be a foremost example) generally maintained, contrary to scripture, that when we rebelled against God and sinned, unlike all the other aspects of our lives, somehow our ability to think and reason was not severely impacted. It was maintained that a person, on his or her own, strictly by using natural abilities to think, through the use of reason alone, come to faith in Christ.
 
The scriptures, in contrast, declare something very different. Romans 1:21 indicates that when we chose to not glorify God or give thanks to him, our thinking became futile. Since our thinking has become futile, we cannot reason our way to God. God even goes so far as to circumvent and frustrate natural human reasoning. 1 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV), “Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” The problem rests with depending on human reasoning and philosophy in order to reach God. Colossians 2:8 (NIV), “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” Note the Greek word for philosophy, philosophia, a compound word meaning love of wisdom. We are not to be taken captive by a love for deceptive human sophia.
 
During Luther’s lifetime, the term “Reason” was starting to be identified with more than just one’s ability to think with clarity. As the scholastics had insisted that our ability to think and reason had not been damaged as a result of human sin, they had blazed the trail down a path that would culminate in the supreme elevation of Reason – Reason as a philosophy. Human Reason would end up being placed above all else, including God. The idolatry of the worship of the human mind, or “Reason” would reach its height during the “Age of Reason”, also known as “The Enlightenment”.
 
It is noteworthy that what is sometimes regarded as Luther’s most important work, The Bondage of the Will, was directed against Erasmus, an early humanist and contemporary opponent. Luther saw where the elevation of “reason” was heading, and being contrary to scripture, sought to oppose it. What Luther was getting at is summarized quite well in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession (at the time of writing “apology” meant “defense”), first published in 1531.
 
Here the scholastics have followed the philosophers. Thus they teach only the righteousness of reason… and maintain that without the Holy Spirit reason can love God above all things (Tappert, Apology of the Augsburg Confession, in The Book of Concord, 108.).
 
Romans 8:5-9 declares that any person relying on his or her natural sinful mind cannot please God. Indeed, if a person does not have the Holy Spirit, that person does not even truly know Jesus. No one can even come to Jesus unless the Father draws him (John 6:44). We were dead in our sins, and it is God that made us alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5). The Apology rightly notes:
 
“John 8:36 says, ‘If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.’ Reason alone, apart from faith, cannot free us from our sins or merit for us the forgiveness of sins” (Ibid., 111).
 
The Apology does not state that human reason has no place at all, rather, it is human reason acting alone apart from faith, that has no place. Human reason, acting alone apart from faith, leads not to faith in Christ, but to a captive, deceptive love of human sophia.
 
In brief, it is God the Son who frees us, not our own human reason. Apart from God we are dead in our sin (Ephesians 2:1), and being dead, we cannot effect spiritual change. To insist that in our own strength we really can free ourselves ultimately becomes a form of idolatry, as we end up placing ourselves above God, and against what He has declared about us, and our sinful condition.
 
Again, we see that the problem is not with reason, but rather, with reasoning apart from God, with elevating our ability to think and reason above God. By biblical definition, that type of reasoning is done with a darkened mind, a mind that cannot please, let alone submit, to God, a mind held captive to a deceptive love of human sophia. To a darkened mind, faith makes no sense, as the quotes given above make clear. Indeed to the natural mind, a mind that rejects faith, placing reason in opposition to faith makes “natural” sense.
 
On another level, the supposed strong defeat of faith by reason proves to be little more than an affirmation of one’s presuppositions. If a person has already determined, or presupposed, that reason is real, but faith is not real, it is hardly surprising when that person concludes that reason and faith are opposed to each other, and that reason disproves faith. After all, to the one making the assertion, faith is simply an “ain’t”. Yet, what appears to be unreal is actually the most real. 2 Corinthians 4:18 throws things in a very different light, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (NIV).
 
At Faith & Reason Ministries we do encourage people to think critically and honestly, to have an open mind about how faith and reason interact, that both are necessary. Genuine questions are definitely welcome and encouraged. Being ready to give a reason for our faith (1 Peter 3:15) presupposes that someone is either asking, or going to ask, questions about it. As we are commanded to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, neither faith nor reason is to be neglected.
 
In part I, we looked at how Faith & Reason Ministries came to have its name. In part II, we examined the controversy surrounding “reason” and “faith”, and that “faith” and “reason” are not in conflict with each other.
 
In this final part, we will look at the importance of faith.
 
What, exactly, is meant by “faith”? Perhaps the two most well known verses dealing with faith are found in Hebrews chapter eleven, verses one and six:
 
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (NIV)
 
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (NIV)
 
In both verses, the Greek word translated as faith is pistis. In general, it means the conviction of the truth of any particular thing. Within the New Testament, it applies to belief or conviction about our relationship to God. It includes the conviction that God exists, that he is creator and ruler of all things, and provides for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ. In regards to Jesus Christ, it includes the conviction that Jesus is the Messiah, that salvation comes through him alone, and no other.
 
It is key to note that faith, in the biblical sense, relates to conviction of what is true. It is not simply a feeling about something, a vague wish, or having some sort of nebulous “faith in faith”, but instead is grounded on what is actually known to be true.
 
Note that without faith it is impossible to please God (the Greek for please simply means please). Reason alone is insufficient for salvation. We previously noted that faith and reason are not in conflict with each other. Here we acknowledge that faith is essential, and yet, our faith is not a faith devoid of reason. 1 Peter 3:15: “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (NIV)
 
Can this biblical faith be described as my faith, of something I am able to do?
 
At Faith & Reason Ministries we hold the biblical position that salvation is a gift of God, not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Even our coming to faith in Christ is a result of God’s work in us. As Jesus declared in John 8:44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” Just as we cannot reason our way to faith in Christ by our own efforts, we cannot muster up the necessary “faith” either. Salvation is a gift from God, and is accomplished through the work of Jesus Christ, not through our human efforts.
 
Does biblical faith ignore what can be plainly seen?
 
Hebrews 6:1 does say that we are certain of what we don’t see, and 2 Corinthians 1:7 appears to be even more direct: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (KJV) To a non-Christian these verses would seem to indicate that Christians ignore what is real, and instead accept as true what actually goes against reality. One is reminded of the Mark Twain quote mentioned in part 2: “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”
 
In the history of human thought, after the time of Christ, philosophers generally based their systems on the reality of the existence of God. Many centuries later, with the rise of science, and the scientific method, only what could be proves as a result of experimentation and observation was counted as being “real”. Some sort of spiritual realm may or may not exist, but since it can’t be scientifically proven, “spiritual reality” was set aside. Later still, having previously been set aside, even its possibility was rejected.
 
In contrast, God, through the Bible, speaks at great length of the spiritual world. For example Colossians 1:16: “For by him [Jesus Christ] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” (NIV)
 
Christians do not ignore the concrete, real world. But, Christians do acknowledge the existence of an unseen spiritual world, a world many skeptics simply deny. 2 Corinthians 1:7 is simply stating that Christians walk with the awareness, the faith, that the unseen world exists. Remember that faith relates to a belief that is actually true. In terms of biblical truth, Mark Twain is actually the one in profound error.
 
What can we conclude? First, faith is essential, without it one cannot please God, apart from faith one cannot even be saved. Second, faith is based on what is actually true, it is not some sort of idealized wishful thinking. Third, faith is therefore reasonable. Fourth, when Christians speak of walking by faith, all that is meant is that Christians walk based on the truth of the existence of God’s created spiritual world, that what exists includes more than just the physical world.
 
Finally, we note that faith and reason work together, in concert with each other, they are not mortal enemies, as some claim. Rather, as biblical Christians both are necessary.
 
Jesus commands us in Mark 12:30: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (NIV) If we throw away the God-given ability to think and reason, it becomes rather difficult to love God with all our mind. If we throw out faith, we cannot love God at all.
 

Sometimes I just don’t get the concept

My wife recently shared with me a story about a video she had watched on the internet. It was a man and wife and the man asked his wife a question. He asked her, “if a car is travelling at 80 miles per hour, how long will it take the car to travel 80 miles”?
The wife proceeded to talk out loud her thoughts, stating when she is in good shape she can run a mile in 7 minutes, and that a car moves very fast, and so forth. After 4 minutes the husband finally stepped in to help his wife and said to her “now I am going to tell you the answer. The answer is in the question, if a car is travelling 80 miles per hour, then it will travel 80 miles in just one hour.” The wife immediately refused to believe him with a statement of “nuh unh”. She explained that going that fast meant travelling more than a mile every minute, and that is crazy fast. She continued to disagree with him.
Although I am sure a man could be just as stumped as a woman in the example above, this article is not about men and women and intelligence. It is about getting the concept or not.
She was not dumb, if she was then she would not have been able to quickly do the math and state “that is more than a mile every minute.” She simply didn’t get the concept. In fact, because she didn’t get it, she proceeded to deny that her husband’s answer was correct.
How many times have I, or you for that matter, denied something was true because we didn’t “get it”. We did not understand the explanation of the answer and therefore we denied that the answer was correct. Or the very concept seemed unreasonable or unbelievable to us, so we denied any explanation because it was so beyond what we were willing to consider.
Just because I, or you, do not understand a concept does not automatically make something untrue. Yes we are commanded by God to use our minds, to be logical and reasonable, but sometimes we simply don’t “get it”. There are old phrases like being “unable to see the forest for the trees” or “it went over his head”. A statement is not illogical or wrong because we cannot understand it. It is not untrue because we cannot wrap our heads around the concept.
We DO need to try to understand things and we DO need to use our minds and think logically, but we must also humbly accept the fact that there are some things in life which, at least at this point in our lives, we will not understand. Hopefully we will understand the concept sooner rather than later. And IF we don’t “get it”, we must be cautious in our acceptance of something being true. It may, or it may not be, reasonable and logical. If I do not understand something, and it does not seem reasonable to me, there are two possible choices;
Either
1) it really is true and I don’t “get it” yet
or
2) it really is false and that is the reason it seems illogical or unreasonable to me.
I am wise if I treat the things I don’t understand with caution, knowing they may or may not be true and I simply do not yet know for sure.
 

Reasonable Faith

What is “reasonable faith”?
Part of my background includes time spent working on my doctorate in family psychology, with a practicum in grief therapy. I spent about 9 months with a local hospice working to help people who had lost parents, siblings, spouses, and children. In my opinion, all grief is difficult and personal so all the training I had (and all the books I had read) needed to be adapted to each person and their individual needs each time. Also in my opinion, the loss of a child is the hardest.
I often drove home fighting back tears after having spent an hour or more working with clients whose hearts were broken and whose lives would never be “normal” again. But not all of my clients were impacted in the same way by the loss of their loved one.
I had a chance to observe firsthand the difference between those who had the “blessed assurance” of salvation, and everyone else. That is an old term, one before my time, yet I have heard it used even in today’s day and age. It refers to someone who has a reasonable faith in what the Bible says about death, eternity, and heaven.
Naturally we must define the word faith at this point, and more than that we need clear examples of what makes a faith “reasonable” instead of “blind.”
As an American who has lived on the west coast, I have experienced the cultures of Washington, Oregon, and California. My experiences are limited, as they are for every human being alive. No one has done everything there is to do, has gone everywhere, seen everything. That is impossible. Even just limiting ourselves to this one planet, there is more here to experience and see and do than any one lifetime would allow. Therefore every one of us lives our lives based on faith.
Faith is simply trusting that something is true without thoroughly examining every possible data point and personally verifying the accuracy of a statement or idea.
I have faith that there are 50 states in the USA although I have not personally seen them all. I have examined some evidences such as maps and testimonies of other people, but any good scientist or lawyer will tell you that second hand knowledge is not as good as first hand. Therefore I have faith that there are 50 state. I place my faith in books about those states that what I read is true. I have no logical reason to doubt that what I read is true, therefore I have a reasonable faith.
I have faith that DNA exists. I have faith that germs exist. I cannot see them with my naked eye, and I have never had access to the needed equipment to allow me to see it. More than that, I have never examined the scientific papers and evidences carefully to see if what they state is true. Instead I have relied upon the statements of people I trust and often have had a level of authority in my life. And I have placed my faith in the textbooks, videos, and other media that have claimed that germs and DNA both exist. Therefore I wash my hands to help prevent my getting sick from germs. I believe that DNA is like a fingerprint, and that every person has DNA and that a scientist can do testing to find who is who by using DNA as the indicator. These are additional examples of reasonable faith.
I have reasonable faith that Caesar Augustus lived and was ruler of Rome, that a president named Abraham Lincoln lived and was shot, and that Shakespeare existed and wrote plays. I have reasonable faith that astronauts went to the moon, that eating certain foods means I will get invisible things called vitamins and that they are healthy for me, and that there is an airbag in my car which will deploy in an accident, although I have never seen it.
Blind faith is believing something without evidence or in spite of any evidence to the contrary.
Blind faith can be the person who says Hitler did not exist and there were no concentration camps in World War 2. In fact, a person with blind faith may go so far as to say there was no World War 2. They believe this in spite of any evidence because they choose to believe it. They can stubbornly, and consistently, find reasons and explanations why all the evidence they see is made up in order to cling to their belief.
Blind faith can be the child who believes there is gold at the end of every rainbow, or the drugged out addict who thinks they can fly simply by stepping off a ledge and flapping their arms. Blind faith is the person who believes the object of their young, passionate love has no flaws or the person who believes everything a single charismatic leader claims without looking at any evidence for or against. Blind faith is also the person who chooses to believe something when logic tells them it is not true, like the parent who ignores all the signs of drug addiction in a teenager because they are “blinded” by love for their child.
Obviously the examples can continue all day long in both areas, that of reasonable faith and that of blind faith.
I have reasonable faith in the Bible, in God’s existence, and in what will happen when a person dies. Therefore I have the “blessed assurance” that when a person dies who accepted Christ in the way the Bible describes, that that person will spend eternity with God in Heaven. I have looked at the evidences available, I have listened to those who do have experiences I do not have, and I have looked at the evidences to the contrary. I have also lived my life and experienced things which lead me to have reasonable faith.
Like a person who does not wash their hands before eating, or eats food which had set out on the counter too long, and becomes sick. That person can say from experience that something was going on which they could not see. And there was a physical result from whatever was going on. Maybe the person had to experience that a number of times before they admitted that was a pattern. Maybe the person found that, over time, there seems to be reasonable and logical evidence that something they cannot see is affecting the ability of food to make them sick or not. When the person is told it is germs, (or bacteria, or parasites, or whatever) for example, they can have reasonable faith that the explanation is accurate. I cannot see all 50 states, and I may never see all 50 states. But I accept the testimony of others and what I read based on reasonable explanations. I cannot see Abraham Lincoln, nor have I ever investigated his tomb or the places he is said to have been while he was alive. The same is true for every historical figure it seems. In the same ways, I also have reasonable faith that the Bible is true. That which I have looked at historically has proven true, that which I have experienced has shown me that there is something going on which I cannot see but has an effect I can see. And I have listened to others who have logically argued for or against the Bible being true. I have found, in my own experience, that most of the people who have told me the Bible was not true did so based on blind faith. The people I have met who argued that the Bible was not true did so passionately and based on an insistence that it cannot be true. Often the “cannot” be true was because they could not see God. This is odd to me because so much of my life is based on things I cannot see. (try to think of a dozen examples yourself of things you cannot see that are true)
I have also met people who had blind faith that the Bible was true. I don’t trust them either.
The people I have accepted who claimed the Bible was true and trustworthy gave me reasonable, logical reasons. The books I have read and other media that claimed the Bible was true was only accepted by me when they did so reasonably and logically.
No one truly needs hard, irrefutable facts to know something is true. Anyone can have reasonable faith that something is true, whether it is a historical fact, a micro or macro object outside our field of vision, or even geography outside our scope of travel and existence. Therefore when my own mother died recently, I did not grieve in the same way that most of my clients had grieved. In fact, the Bible often refers to physical death as “sleep” so that I can understand metaphorically that a person with a dead body will be seen by me again. I can understand this metaphor, because when my wife is sleeping soundly she may look dead, expect of course for the slight movement of the chest with each breath, yet I know from experience that I can once again spend quality time with my spouse when she awakens in the morning. Therefore I don’t grieve when she is asleep, although if I have something I want to say to her or share with her, I must wait until she awakens. The same is true of those who do actually die, but have gone to Heaven in the way that the Bible describes. “13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.” (1Th 4:13-14 NAS)
I am happy to share with you why my faith in the Bible and God is reasonable and not blind if you ask.
 

Leadership and being a servant

In our modern society there is no honor in being subject to someone else. Many people refuse to accept God as Lord because that would mean He is the boss. We don’t want a boss, we want to BE the boss. We, as adults as well as children, throw tantrums, tell stories, beg, threaten, whatever it takes to get our way. Some adults say they don’t throw tantrums but they do get “bent out of shape” or “frustrated”. Regardless of the label, we all want to be in charge. We want the authority, the power, the perceived freedom and privileges of being “on top”.
 
Take the movie Bruce Almighty. Bruce was mad at God. Bruce knew better than God and Bruce’s life was a mess and it was God’s fault. Bruce had never done anything to deserve this – or so he felt. And our feeling, our opinion, is the most important determiner of truth today. Facts are largely irrelevant.
 
In the movie, a totally fictional comedy loosely influenced by the Bible at best, Bruce meets God and is given the power and duty of Lord Almighty. Bruce can do anything and has all power! (at least in his town) Bruce makes himself famous, and winds up making himself miserable. He fails at the one “God duty” of answering prayers and although he is initially doing much better in his job and now drives a great car, Bruce loses his girlfriend, loses his other friends, and is very unhappy. Finally he admits that God was right all along and that Bruce would NEVER want that job again. He has no idea how God does it. Then with a changed attitude Bruce is happy, gets the girl, and is doing fantastic in work and in life.
 
More than that, in real life, we can be just as stubbornly wrong as Bruce but we don’t get the chance Bruce got to see how very wrong we are. God uses other methods to show us, and in turn we “admit without mouths” that God is right but in our attitudes and actions and feelings we rebel.
 
Rebellion is attempting to overthrow the seated authority. So yes, when we insist we know better than God, we rebel. We do it in so many ways. We read a passage in the Bible and say “it does not mean that, God would never want me to suffer – or God would never say that – or a loving God would never do that – or whatever.” We decide what the meaning must be regardless of the facts, regardless of the words used or the dictionary definition of those words. We interpret what God says based upon what we want.
 
To those of you who are parents, doesn’t it drive you nuts when you kids do that? You very clearly tell them “clean your room, brush your teeth, or perhaps be home by 11pm”. Your words were clear. Your child speaks the same language you do and knows what you said. But they rebel. They choose to interpret what you said to mean was to ‘move the piles around in the room when done playing’, assuming they stop playing. They interpret what you said to mean ‘smile in the mirror and make sure your teeth look clean’, or at the very least say you brushed them (lie). They interpret what you mean as be home sometime, 11pm would be nice but just do your best. And when you impose consequences they cry “unfair” don’t they? They appeal to your love to not punish them. They appeal to your logic saying “I am just a kid” or “I forgot” or “I will get to it soon” or even “I tried to call you”.
 
We are all humans, and all humans sin. We all do the wrong thing, or don’t do the right thing. That is sin. And that is why it was SO easy for the snake to get Eve to do what he wanted instead of what God wanted. The enemy helped Eve rationalize “you are able to make your own decision, you know better than God. He was wrong.” And she agreed. Just as we all do. Sin has even been defined as loving “self” more than God.
 
So what does this mean in practical application?
 
Look at leadership and servanthood. Who wants to work or suffer or do what you are told when we could do what we want, when we want, and tell someone else to do the work? Look very hard at the words of God through Peter. God tells us we need to hear the basics again. He tells us suffering can be a tool used to bring about something good. He tells us to obey even an unjust master, and to be MORE obedient and respectful of a believer. Instead we obey the master we fear and if someone is a believer or a friend, we do our best to take advantage of them, to manipulate them, to be the boss even if we are not the boss, don’t we? We have a phrase for that, we call it the “power behind the throne” or the “one who wears the pants”. We may allow someone the title of leader or boss but we rebel and use every skill we have to make sure the boss makes the decisions WE want made.
 
Imagine riding in a car but the driver must go as fast or slow as you tell them, must turn when you tell them, must do what you say. Who is REALLY driving, the driver or the person making all decisions? In a more extreme example, we hold guilty the mob boss who orders a “hit” on a person just as guilty as we do that person who actually committed the murder. In fact, we may even see the mob boss as the REASON the murder happened.
 
And well we should. Whoever is the leader, they are the responsible person. How crazy we behave when we think we are going to be better leaders than God! We need to be sane, logical, and have the best qualified leader do the leading. We need to obey God. He never makes mistakes, He never goes “off the deep end.” And if God, who is perfect, chooses someone to be our leader, we need to have the faith in God that He did not make a mistake and we must follower that leader as an act of faith in God. God will bring that leader to justice if they do anything wrong, and God will watch out for us as we obey the leaders God has placed over us.