Jason's Blog

“Faith” without understanding

by on Apr.17, 2005, under General

I was thinking this evening, an old habit, and came up with an oddball thought. It’s dealing with faith – mostly, faith without question or understanding. For me, faith without question is somewhat insane. I don’t believe anyone should accept at face value anything without questioning it. A simple example is a car – most people accept that a car will run, but I believe that you should have at least some idea of how a car works – not to the level of a mechanic, but at least enough knowledge to understand how an engine works on principle, or how to check your oil. The same goes for faith in the religious sense – you shouldn’t accept at face value anything, but question everything. Yes, you’ll never be able to understand all the details. Not even the “experts” truly understand everything, and the bible, to take the reference of a car manual is a guideline – you need to still question and try to understand what goes on behind the manual. That’s where true understanding comes in – practical experience and through questioning.

I respect someone who has knowledge through experience, through trial and question over someone who’s merely read a manual, or far worse in my experience, just accepts without at least trying to understand the principles of a thing. In life, I think nearly everything can go to this principle – understanding, even at a basic level is a valuable tool, and a person who seeks knowledge and understanding through experience, through trying to understand and question is a rare, and valuable person.

In addition to the above thought, is this – someone who reads the bible, but doesn’t question, doesn’t look outside at real life is equally problematic as someone who reads a manual and expects everything in it to be absolute truth – life, in all it’s glorious wonder, is more complex than any manual can ever describe. Manuals make mistakes, as their written by human beings. True understanding and knowledge comes through experience. A manual helps, but knowledge and experience are far, far, far more valuable.


7 Comments for this entry

  • Erika

    Amen to that, brother. I’m in a highly questioning state of mind, to the point where I don’t know what I believe anymore. It’s a confusing time, but strangely liberating at the same time.

  • Tracie

    Ooh, good thoughts.  I completely agree with you on this one.  I was always taught to question everything.  Not to the point where you don’t believe anything, but to the point where you aren’t believing everything someone says without a thought.  I feel it is SO important to make knowledgeable descisions about things…course that could just be the scientist in me. 

  • Stephen K

    Nice entry man – I’ve been finding so much hypocrisy with religion that for me it is bordering on the insane.

    Your manual reference is a good one. The problem that I have with the christian manual is that it is so full of BS, that it has become more than irrelevant. There are people who actually believe, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that noah actually placed all 10 billion species of living creatures inside a boat, then distributed them to all the continents where they are now found. Come on.

    The passage about god being mad and killing egyptians first born children is another great one. I love how so many pick and choose what they like about the bible, and just ignore the rest.

    I think for me, religion has become a very effective way to scare very poor uneducated people and keep them in check. Especially in the 3rd world and places like it, because the church can still get away with it.

    I saw “meet the press” yesterday on nbc – Tim Russert had a few news people, some theologians, a few priests, and a nun. It was a pretty cool show. Russert asked the jesuit priest (who was in rome) if he thought the catholic church would ever allow married priests, contraception, masturbation, and female priests, and he said “one of the four might be possible. The other three are not.” Russert then asked him to identify which one was possible, and he said “married priests might be something that the church might change, but the other three are out of the question”.

    Russert then grilled him a little more on the female priest thing, and the jesuit very condescendingly asked, “do you have two hours for me to explain that? I don’t think so.”

    I’m not speaking for anyone other than myself here, but I don’t want to have anything to do with a group of people who think that its ok to discriminate in this way, not to mention the other views the church takes on stem cell research, contraception (the church is actually helping the spread of aids in africa), and many other things. Can anyone actually imagine jesus himself telling females that for a lack of the correct plumbing, they are unfit to lead a church? These guys are out of touch even with the guy they base their entire existence upon.

    I think the more I learn about the way things actually work, the more ridiculous I find the church to be. They are completely out of touch on almost every social issue.

    I too believe very strongly in questioning evertything. I’m done quesitoning the church though, because the answers are usually baseless and not very forthcoming.

    My rant is over.

  • Stephen K

    I mistakenly used masturbation in place of condoms as one of the four things russert asked the jesuit if the church would change. But it still is a sin according to the church, so it might as well have been included.

    Anyway, here is the transcript from the show if anyone is interested:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7619740/

    Thomas Cahill is a rather smart guy IMO, and he was one of the guests. He’s an author, and writes for the Washington Post.

  • Uteng

    Word. Funny thing, that same truth dawned on me just recently. and if you’re like me, this epiphany has birthed a NEW life for ya.

    1 Love 1 God 1 Way

  • Uteng

    Stephen K! my brother, let me address you.

    firstly, im a member of a pentecostal church, which is essentially protestant, so you’ll know for sure that im not a fan of the catholic and their ways.

    So! i dont agree with the married thing, nor the female thing, coz Paul dealt with that in his letters (new testament). He did mention not having females speak etc, but recent revelations/readings, show that he was justified, and justified himself at the time-check it out.

    we have loads of married and female ministers in the pentecostal church, AND we enjoy the benefits of seeing real miracles right in front of our eyes through God’s power.

    may i quickly say, that i dont know if it makes sense to believe in one part of the bible, or indeed any, and deny the rest, coz that would make God a liar, and we must all know ‘Let all men be liars and God be true’ (paraphrase) + ‘God is not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent’ (look it all up) matter of fact, you would be justified in becoming an athiest i would think.

    so noah: i think it is very possible, it is important to remember that the world has not always been the way we know it today; the ocean was more united, and the plates unbroken- scientific fact. neither were the animals im sure, that spread out over all the land. (sheesh(!) but for real, ALL the insects, small as they are?!) but think on the amount of insects we know of today, what cud have stopped them knowing them then? it’s not rocket science. errrr….where are we…..pharoah!!

    God killing all the first borns is not beyond Him. is it the ability u question here my friend, or the principal? Herod did it in all Israel when Jesus was born.

    (You must not have meant condom, coz that’s contraception) anyway, on that topic, i uphold that anything outside of marital sex if fornication, so to use contraception in sex outside wed-lock is ‘attempting to cover up their shame, they say ‘next time use protection’’ (Lauryn Hill)

    the church does not constitute your faith, or your relationship with God, well, u shudnt let it. soon as God put another human-being on earth, that’s when the problems began, SO…that must mean that we have issues co-habiting with eachother. DEAL with It! conflct is a prominent theme of life-on-earth, but ur not justified for ‘forsaking the gathering of the saints’ (Apostle Paul) in God’s eyes. matter of fact, Christianity is about loving, and trying to show love to all people,it wudnt have been so heavily emphasised by Christ if it was easy.

    1 Love 1 God 1 Way

  • Amy

    Uteng!

    You are right on my brother.  Life is about knowing Love, acting on it, and pushing yourself to embrace all that it holds for you.  People who don’t understand this do not understand Jesus or what he was about.  If some of you questioning people out there can strip away all the distractions and focus on what God says about Love, many of your questions would be answered.  This is not easy, and it is not intellectual.  It takes time, dedication, effort and fearlessness.  It is not a destructive or hateful process.  It does not spread dischord, strife, or malcontent.  It is selfless and humble, patient and hopeful.

    Love on.

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