I’ve been wrestling with the idea of faith a lot lately. For some, faith is aligned with some sort of God of the Gaps explanation where you only need it whenever you can’t explain something and faith explains everything that can’t be explained. For others faith is simply a cop-out used so that you don’t have to think anymore, if you can’t explain something (even if there is a perfectly valid explanation for it) then you just play the faith card and move along without ever giving it a second thought. For many, faith is simply a belief in God, or some sort of supernatural mysterious explanation of something they can’t explain. I’m not sure that understanding faith as simply believing something that can’t be proved is a good way to look at it.
For me, faith has become something that I have to submit to. It’s trusting that there is an element to life that I cannot understand and submitting my will to the mystery of that. For me, faith has become a dependence on a people who have gone before me with the same sort of inclination to something deeper and more. I think the world claims both meaning and meaninglessness loudly and refuses to credit anyone for either. My faith gives credit to a God, who we call the creator, for both our feelings of meaning and meaninglessness. The connection with a community, scripture and tradition serves as a reminder about the substance of our faith. Our faith isn’t just a cognitive belief in things that are unproven or unbelievable, rather it is a way of life that refuses to back down to the constant bombardment of a self-identified meaning or completely meaninglessness. Our identity doesn’t lie in whatever purpose we can come up with for ourselves, whatever makes us happy or content. Our identity doesn’t lie in giving up, in a complete lack of any purpose at all. Instead, our identity of people of faith in Jesus, us founded upon a centuries old way of life that seeks to live out a specific understanding of who we are, where we come from and where we are going.
For me, this is what it means to be a person of faith. I refuse to come up with my own purpose and meaning, and I refuse to believe the world is meaningless. I accept a way of life that has been lived and believed through Christians and God followers for thousands of years. I am confident that this is a good way to live and have come to see this faith as something that I should submit to, especially when I doubt or waver in meaninglessness.