Faith Can’t Be Wrong

The idea of faith has always been one that baffles me. I’ve heard the word tossed around and used in many different contexts. If you have enough faith you will be healed. As if it is something that we muster up and get to a certain point before something good will be done for us. Or how about Jesus’ famous line that with the faith the size of a mustard seed that we can throw around mountains? I’ve never seen a mountain move around me or in my life. People will say that we have to stir up the faith or have our faith stretched or some people go through tests of faith. The whole concept of faith I think is misleading when we use it as a word.

The longer I follow Jesus the more I realize that faith is not something you can point to and say there that’s faith. You cannot convince someone that your faith is right and their faith is wrong. You cannot create faith or make it up. I have a good friend of mine who has recently walked away from the faith, well that’s what most of us call it. Now typically, I would have tried to convince him that it was a bad decision. I would be disappointed that he chose a lesser faith, a faith that is incomplete. I would have talked about it with my friends and talked about how my friend doesn’t believe the right faith anymore.

I realize now that faith is not something that is right or wrong. I can’t call my faith right and someone’s faith wrong. That doesn’t make sense. It’s like calling someone’s preference in the Detroit Red Wings over the Toronto Maple Leafs wrong, even if Detroit did better than Toronto. It’s not an accurate judgement on what faith is to call it wrong or right. Faith can’t be wrong.

Another thing we can’t do with faith is prove it. If we could actually prove faith, then we wouldn’t need it. All these logical arguments for faith, and us being trained on how to logically prove that our faith makes more logical sense than someone else’s faith goes against the very definition of faith. If someone can logically prove to you that your faith is inaccurate, guaranteed someone smarter will just prove the opposite. You can’t fight someone to show them your faith makes more sense. The definition of faith means that logically, it probably makes no sense.

So what can faith be based on? Well it’s not based on us. That’s why it’s so hard to understand or explain. Maybe we aren’t supposed to explain our faith like it makes more sense than breathing and we are just supposed to live it.

9 Comments

  • Faith is the substance of things hoped for and unseen. Christ represents the embodyment of our faith. God says to test the things that we believe and the things that He says. Paul also says to test the spirit.When I see how some people’s faith has left their life bankrupt I think I could distinguish right and wrong faith or even good and bad faith. Yes I think I could argue the fact that faith in Jesus is the right faith and the only faith that makes sense. Praise God

  • Nate,

    I think maybe your definition of faith owes a bit more to the Enlightenment than it does to a biblical understanding. Faith isn’t irrationality, it is trust. It makes sense to say you are trusting in the wrong thing.

    In the NT we see examples of people speaking of “The Faith” or “The Holy Faith”, a body of beliefs (or assertions that are trusted as true). It would make sense to say those are true or false.

    I think its a fairly common refrain in the Bible (even in places where prophets are quoting God directly) to condemn and even sarcastically ridicule trust (faith) in other gods.

    What do you think about those things?

  • I’ve never heard someone compare faith and trust before like that.
    That will get me thinking.

    I think though also, its one thing to attack someone’s faith or trust and say its false, and its another thing to point to what they are putting their faith or trust in and say that it is unreliable or will not give you what they say they will. Does that make sense? One is attacking the person the other is attacking what the person beleives. (attacking is probably improper to use here.)

    So then faith to you is a summary of beliefs?

    Someone could argue till their blue in the face that their faith is right and others are wrong, but what i’m saying is it won’t work. Faith is deeper than a logical conclusion. Wouldn’t you agree?

  • Andrew, i was just sitting on the toilet and i bring a book with me of course.

    I just read this line, from Brennan Manning in the Ragamuffin Gospel

    “If a random sampling of one thousand american christians were taken today. The majority would define faith as beleif in the existence of God. In earlier times it did not take faith to beleive that God existed–almost everybody took that for granted. Rather, faith has to do with one’s relationship to God-whether one trusted in God. The difference between faith as ‘belief in something that may or may not exist’ and faith as ‘trusting in god’ is enormous. The first is a matter of the head. The second is a matter of the heart. The first can leave us unchanged. The second intrinsiclly brings change.”

    I like it.
    I think he is really explaining what you just said and in many ways its along the lines of what i was saying (about living faith) but summarizes what you said (about trusting God)

    So maybe an accurate description of faith looks more like being a living and trusting relationship of that which you have faith in?

  • Nate,

    I think the most important part in terms of living, and in terms of what saves you, is the trusting-in-God (as a person), rather than the trusting-that (about facts). This is because I believe people can believe in the true God and believe propositions inconsistent with that trust.

    However, biblically speaking there does seem to be a limit to this possible inconsistency. There are some facts that, if believed, will damn. Cf. Gal 1.

    Absolutely faith is deeper than a logical conclusion. There’s a really good article I read recently that talks about this, you might enjoy mulling over it (especially relevant, if you don’t have time to read the whole thing, is the section after the “Response” heading about religious language): http://www.frame-poythress.org/frame_articles/1974BiblicalLanguage.html

    It’s a noble thing to try and avoid offense, and I think we should seek peace with all people as far as it is possible with us. But I’m not sure psychologically it is going to take the edge off of the offense to criticize someone’s object of faith rather than their act of faith. In fact, if you’re criticizing the thing people trust in the most, you probably have a better chance of hurting their feelings than if you focused on something they were doing. What would offend you more, someone criticizing Jesus or you?

    I don’t think faith is merely a system of beliefs assented to. But the writers of the NT seem to speak of it that way sometimes (although we should be careful not to import too much into this use of the term when we describe it as a “system”; it’s a system in the sense that the Apostle’s Creed is a system, not in the sense Euclid’s geometrical axioms are), so I don’t mind speaking of it that way too.

  • Correction: I said “There are some facts that, if believed…” when I should have said “There are some propositions that, if believed…” Facts are true by definition, and God doesn’t damn people for believing the truth. Oops. :-S

  • Andrew your comments never cease to make me think in places i’ve never really gone before. Faith is such a deep subject and it is quite difficult to understand.

    I find myself usually, especially lately trying to define things by what they are not, and I think that is showing me how much further I really have to go.

    I tried to define faith above by what it is not, not right or wrong, its not to be proven. But really all these things don’t tell me what faith is at all, I think that’s what you do very good at.

    I’m gonna read that article tomorrow. The beginning was intriguing, so i’d much rather be more awake for it. While I’m not too worried at offending someone, if its truth, I try to say it in love (as a post a few before this proves) but you do have a point about what i’m critisizing.

    I just biblegatewayed faith and read a bunch of verses that speak of it and you are correct. They constantly refer to it as ‘the faith’ as if its some certain way to live & believe. I also find it interesting what they call it when someone leaves. They call it leaving the faith or falling from the faith.

    Most of my post was reacting against the idea of trying to prove my faith to someone else. If someone had a different faith than you, is the right approach to try to prove ours righter than theirs? Maybe, i’m not sure.

  • Intense discussion, But Nathan, I feel led by the spirit of my faith to correct you.

    Toronto is clearly a better team than Detroit. Now technically speaking if you were just talking about the last couple years then Detroit is better. But I am Canadian, so that automatically makes Toronto better than Detroit (even if I only live 1 hour from Detroit.)

    You cant just go around saying things about Toronto like that. It weakened my faith in Toronto, I dont know if I will recover.

    May God have mercy on your soul, Ass.

  • Hey Ron, your faith sucks, Just look at the fruit. Compare Torontos track record and then Detroits. I think its time you came to the light.

Join the Discussion