Thursday, June 03, 2010

Faith: Grounded in Reality

Belief in Christ is all about faith. Now, we don't have to assume that it is not based on some knowledge as, in fact, faith is itself something of a body of knowledge. Faith is not, after all, blind but is indeed quite adept at seeing and interpreting reality. Is not knowledge itself simply an interpretation of experience, and interpretation of reality? So, although it is quite different from the post-enlightenment presupposition of "absolute truth" and "pure objectivity", faith does require some grounding, some actual relationship with what's happening within history. So the question is, first of all, is our faith true? In what way is it true(then, perhaps, what is truth?)? Then, more importantly, why do we believe it? If the answers to those questions are not grounded, if they are not real and physical, then they are empty.

Now don't misunderstand me here. Being grounded in reality does not mean that it has to be proven or historically "accurate" by modern standards. It simply means tat it has to change something, it has to effect and affect something in the world. It has to be real. Indeed, in this regard, something that's historically proven can still be of little consequence in reality. For example, the weight the fact that it is indeed historically provable that I, Wes Ellis, did drink a Big Gulp on a Wednesday in the year 2001, has very little grounding in my present reality. That one incident is indeed incidental to the present and the future. For me to place "faith" in that historical reality would do nothing and would therefore have no grounding in reality.

Faith is not about what happened as much as it is about what happens. Faith is bigger than incidents. It's about the whole of reality and it's about seeing a reality being effected into the world. It's not about the incident, it's about how the incident changes everything. Therefore, faith must not be in something incidental, it has to be grounded in and transforming reality. If our faith is in the resurrection then it cannot be just that it happened. Rather, the resurrection must be something that changes reality and we must be able to live with our physical bodies, just as Christ did, into that reality.

Our faith is not blind. Indeed our faith sees the whole world being changed. We follow Jesus not because of some incident, we follow Jesus because of how that incident changes us. "Taste and see that the LORD is good." We follow Jesus because it is the best possible way to live and we cannot deny it--we would not even if we could. Through faith, a hidden mystery is revealed and that revelation starts in us... today.

2 comments:

lozeerose said...

Wes, your explanation concerning faith and the reality therein runs the risk of sacrificing absolute Truth with relativism. This type of thought is not Christian.

There is only One Truth and that Truth is not dependent on our belief in it. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. (Hebrews (RSV) 13:8)"

This Christian relativism is part of the problem with the dis-unity of "Christians." Our Faith is in deed rooted in concrete historical fact, thus the Creeds (as does the Gospel) specifically recount that Our Blessed Lord was crucified under Pontius Pilate. This places the crucifixion in actual history. And although some do not believe, they cannot prove this fact to be false because it did happen.

God became man, died for our sins and rose on the third day. "...if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. (1Corinthians (RSV) 15:14)"

Faith is all about what happens and what happens. To relegate faith to a feeling or to state that the historicity of our religion is irrelevant is to deny God. Again there is only One Truth and that is Christ. There is One Church and that is the Church of Christ, otherwise known as the Catholic Church whose head is the Bishop of Rome, presently Benedict XVI.

Whether you believe this or not does not change the fact that it is true. I will pray that the Lord grants you strength "to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1Corinthians (RSV) 15:58)"

WES ELLIS said...

Lozeerose,
Sorry it has taken me so long to respond... wedding planning leaves little time fro blogging.

I truly appreciate your prayers! God knows I need strength. Your 1 Corinthians reference is also much appreciated. Indeed without the resurrection of Christ our faith is not only in vain but it is groundless. Yes, we want to be good, yes, we want to be loving but without resurrection, we cannot hope to do so with any fruition.

Do disagree with you insofar as I do not see absolute and objective knowledge as part of the Christian faith, let alone an essential thereof. There may indeed be "absolute truth" but our access to it is still fallible and relative. So it remains, at best, an impractical theory in my mind.

But we can agree to disagree.
Blessings on you, friend!