Wednesday, 16 April 2014

What is True Faith: An Opinion Piece

A few weeks ago I came across a quote that has resonated with me longer than expected. In fact, upon reading the quote I did not expect that it would resonate with me at all. I am a human being and simple distractions captivate me, so I sometimes read quotes. Following my reading of the quote, I have asked questions in regard to what is being communicated. I am in no way saying that the quote made me ask questions, but I think that God did. God must have noticed that I read the quote and decided to ask me questions based on the information that I perceived. The quote reads as follows: "True faith produces a life full of actions, not a head full of facts." As soon as I had finished reading this I was simply repulsed. But why? My reasons and objections shall be written out below.

The quote encourages Christ followers to not use their minds. You may think that I am jumping to conclusions here, but bear with me. Well okay, I am reading between the lines. However, I feel very confident in thinking and stating that this quote pushes the agenda that "good Christians are mentally lazy." Why does the author assume that faith and thinking are so distant from one another? Why does true faith cease to produce a head full of facts? I would have felt more comfortable if the quote had said "True faith produces both a life full of actions and a head full of facts." But it does not say that, it says "...not a head full of facts." I think that the mind is an important part of the human spirit, but this quote is all action and no theory, and that does not sit well with me. I like theory - perhaps I like theory too much? I know that God wants more action from me, but I do not think that theory is necessarily vain.

The emphasis that this quote solely puts on action makes me rather skeptical. Make no mistake, I think that true faith and actions are connected to each other. James 2:14-17 says "What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself."

Taking that into consideration, I have never seen anything in scripture which indicates that a head full of facts is not a consequence of true faith. And I am back to the unanswerable question, the question that I did not expect to pose: what is true faith? Hold on, that question is basically right in the title. Oh my, the forgetfulness. Four hours of sleep is simply not adequate before writing an exam and having two job interviews. Okay, getting back on topic. Faith and actions are separate from one another, but somehow true faith relies on actions? But do the actions rely on true faith? Can the true faith be described apart from the actions attached to the faith? What is true faith in and of itself?

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