A Test of Faith
When it comes to faith, it’s important that one understand what they believe in and why. Blind faith is just that…blind.
Let’s start with the Bible and John 1:18 which says that, “No man hath seen God at any time.” So if you believe that the Bible is the Word of God, you have a conundrum. You see there are lots of biblical stories where people see God, beginning at the very beginning (in the Garden of Eden). Which one is wrong? Regardless of the answer to that question, the Bible cannot be the Word of God since both John 1:18 and the stories about seeing God both can’t be right. At best, all the Bible could be is the word of man about God.
Then there’s the whole concept of monotheism – the belief in one and only one God. Actually, the Israelites believed in multiple gods, from the time of Cain until the Torah was finally written some 3,000 years later. Exactly, how do we know that? Well for starters, recent archaeological evidence shows that the Israelites believed in more than one God. Beyond that, there is the Bible which mentions multiple gods in many places. For example, in Psalm 82:1 it says that, “God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the gods.”
If not one god, then what? The answer is that the Israelites originally believed in the concept of a personal god, Yahweh, who became their god when they chose him (The Covenant). If they hadn’t have chosen him, he no doubt would have never been considered to be a god and there would have been no Old Testament (the Jewish Bible) and therefore no Judaism, and perhaps no monotheism either. Without Judaism, it is unlikely that Christianity would even exist today as it has its roots in the prophecies about the coming of a messiah in the Old Testament.
As for ethics, if you want to base your faith on a strong set of moral values, perhaps the Bible’s Ten Commandments is an excellent place to start. But you should know, that the Ten Commandments say that slavery is acceptable. If you don’t believe me, check out the Tenth (10th) Commandment. Obviously, God (?) felt that it was acceptable god-like behavior to subjugate another human being. What more can one say.
Ultimately I suspect, though, that people want to base their faith on the truth. Again, the Bible gives a clue as to how to go about doing that. It says to seek the truth and the truth will set you free. The only thing that the truth could set you free from, obviously, is a lie. Jesus was talking about the religious beliefs of his time. He rejected that theology just as he rejected the money changers in the temple and he explicitly warned his followers not to be led astray by the “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” That warning is just as valid today as it was then.
So here’s my challenge, a test of faith so to speak. Have faith, but have a well thought-out rationale. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should be yours and not something that you accepted blindly from one of the wolves in sheep’s clothing. As opposed to church dogma, you can change your faith as the experiences of your life suggest. It can be based on the Bible, if you like, but it shouldn’t be because you believe that the Bible is the Word of God (because it isn’t). Your new faith should be something that you live every day and not just on Sunday, because faith is not about believing, it is rather about being and doing; in essence, it is a way of life. It should define who you are as a human being (your core principles) and should incorporate the promise of everything that you can become while here on Earth. Keep in mind, though, that a religion and a covenant are not required…and never were intended. Are you ready to take the test?