Has someone taken your faith?
Its real, the pain you feel
The life, the love, you die to heal
The hope that starts, the broken hearts
You trust, you must confess
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best,
The best of you?
(Foo Fighters – Best of You)
Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:23, 24
This is more or less a continuation of yesterday’s “Stripping down faith,” which I guess could all fall under the general heading of “Random Thoughts on Faith.” Perhaps I’ll start a new category…
I know people who, in the process of deconstructing or stripping down their belief system, either found at the end of the process that they had no faith, or perhaps found that their faith – the proverbial “baby” – had gone out with the bathwater. (or, in the famous words of Elaine from Seinfeld (spoken in a bad Aussie accent), “Maybe the dingos ate your baby.” (no, don’t ask me what it means – I’ve never figured it out.) As I’ve said before, I suspect that many atheists are not atheists at all – just disillusioned believers.
Finding faith, however, is the goal. There is a reason to believe (which reminds me of the old Rod Stewart song, which I may refer to later), though I completely understand why so many people, when they begin to lose faith in the various religious illusionary systems, also lose their faith in faith.
Jesus warned of this “baby and the bathwater” effect in Matthew 13, in his parable of the wheat and the tares. “Don’t pull the weeds,” the farmer in the parable states, “because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.”
As I said, deconstructing your faith is a dangerous undertaking. Sometimes, however, it happens when illusions fail. The job then is to find faith, which is sometimes hard. In fact, proponents of the illusionary systems may actually oppose finding faith outside of the system, because they cannot separate faith in God from faith in the system.
Has someone taken your faith? Is someone getting the best of you?
All religious systems have “issues” that we have to put up with “until the harvest.” However, that’s not to say that we have to either like or support the system – we don’t have to feed the weeds, or protect the weeds, if it’s possible to avoid doing so without holding back from the wheat. And, we certainly aren’t stopped from vocalizing how much we hate the weeds…
Now, back to “Reason to Believe:”
If I listened long enough to you
I’d find a way to believe that it’s all true
Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried
Still I look to find a reason to believe.
Often when dealing with the church and religious systems (any group becomes such a system, given time), we recognize that we have, to some extent, been lied to, misdirected, or just plain messed up. The system often “gets the best of us” (sorry, reference back to the Foo Fighters). Still, we look to find that reason to believe.
Finding faith, preserving faith, growing faith – that’s our goal. If stripping down our faith helps, so much the better. But, our faith cannot depend on our being able to clear out the weeds – then we are indeed in trouble. Then, we are again putting faith in externals.
One way of looking at the Matthew 13 parable is this: every stalk of wheat is a reason to believe, a basis for faith. The presence of weeds doesn’t change anything, unless you require a weed-free field in order to believe. If that’s what you’re looking for, stick around till the harvest – but, I’m not sure you’d want to wait that long.