Testing Faith

Testing Faith March 6, 2014

I came across the quote above from Adrian Rodgers. I suspect that he was referring to a faith that passes through challenging experiences in life. But I think it has a wider applicability. A faith that cannot withstand critical examination, questioning, and scrutiny cannot be trusted either.

So much of the conversations (if we can call them that) between ideological viewpoints in our time seem marked above all else by fear. Fear that if we recognize the humanity of the other person, the possibility that they could be genuinely intelligent and well-informed and yet still disagree with us, then our own stance will be on shakier ground.

That is certainly true – when well-informed smart people can disagree, it does mean that your stance is not self-evident. It does mean that even you could change your mind – and should if the evidence persuades you.

It is this very sort of testing that can get one from false certainty and unquestioning allegiance to something worthy of the label “faith.”

Faith in a worldview ought to be like faith in a person. When we are young, we do not know whom to trust. When we are old, we have hopefully forged a relationship that provides a grounds for trusting someone, even though we know that they are fallible human beings, as we are.

You can have allegiance to a worldview without pretending that it is flawless and that others are simply misguided in their relationships with other worldviews.

That's when you have moved from infatuation with your religion or ideology, to faith.

Because faith isn't even necessary when you have deluded yourself into thinking that everything is obvious, that there is no room for doubt. Faith is needed precisely when you realize that your own comprehension is as partial and fallible as that of those whose views you detest.

And that is why those with this sort of deep faith can speak with respect and openness yet at the same time with confidence to those with whom they disagree – and come away from the experience having learned something.

And so, in a much broader sense than I think Adrian Rodgers intended, “A faith that hasn't been tested can't be trusted.”


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