Blind Faith

(May 10, 2013)
 
     Classic rock fans may be disappointed to find that this is not going to be a treatise about the musical group which featured Clapton and Winwood, but simply a short essay about a commonly used (and misunderstood) term.
     When people casually mention "blind faith", it is usually meant as a derogatory reference to a religious (or more specifically, Christian) way of life that they consider to be based in ignorance.  Belief in Jesus Christ is thereby summarily dismissed as being simplistic and unverifiable, with the person doing the dismissing taking on the guise of an allegedly superior intellect. 

     I used to feel compelled to dispute this perception of Christianity (which is quite possibly what the naysayers really wanted in the first place - an argument!).  But I have changed my tune about that a bit, particularly in light of the following Bible verses:

     - "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  (Hebrews 11:1)
     - "For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for?"  (Romans 8:24)
     - "Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:  Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."  (1 Peter 1:8-9)

     Faith, by its very definition, is blind... at least to a certain extent.  Please don't get me wrong; I've done my homework and I know the facts - the historical veracity of the Biblical accounts of Jesus, as well as their self-verifying qualities, have been sufficiently substantiated to me, and anyone who is willing to investigate a little bit can discover the same.  But that doesn't change the fact that no one currently walking the earth witnessed the events that took place in Galilee and Judea two thousand years ago.  It is of equal importance, though, that no one currently walking the earth can offer a more satisfactory answer than did Jesus to the question of what lies ahead for each of us after we die. Not one of us has first-hand knowledge to go on.
     To deal with this rub, atheists claim that there will be nothing to experience after death.  But the lack of evidence for their twisted version of faith (and it is a type of faith) underscores the fact that they are but whistling in the dark, and their constant brooding negativity belies their outward expressions of confidence.  Contrast their contentions with the claims of the people who lie at the other extreme of the wishful thinking spectrum, who say that there is some sort of universal peace for everyone (or at the least, no Hell for anyone).  These are betrayed by their own overly verbose attempts to convince. Nothing says "even I don't buy what I'm telling youlike a chronic case of logorrhea.  And in between those endpoints, the agnostics are in the running to be considered the sorriest lot of all, by dint of a middling mindset which implies that they are just too apathetic to make the effort required to work out the most important problem anyone could ever possibly face.
     So I admit that while my faith in Jesus is based on sound testimony - both from the physical and the spiritual realms - there is a degree to which it is, in fact, blind.  I have not seen the end results of my belief (and its accompanying words and deeds) as of yet.  But in this regard, unbelievers are in the same boat as believers, since they haven't seen the other side, either.  Both camps begin equally blinded; the only difference is that those who choose to have faith in Christ are exercising their God-given sense in acknowledging the fact.  Everyone else apparently prefers a lifetime of slamming their spiritual shins into invisible end tables, followed by an eternity of they-know-not-what.  An unbeliever's mockery of blind faith is a tacit admission of being both blind and faithless.  At least the people who are Godly have one of those two things to go on!  And I cannot think of a more sensible thing for a blind man to do than to accept the help of someone who has perfect vision.  This Someone has proven to me over and over again that he can see things that I can't, so I'm going to go ahead and trust him to lead me the rest of the way into what would otherwise have been the unknown.  Thus is his ability to see transferred to me.
     Of course, the analogies to faith as being an aid for a personal deficiency don't stop with sight.  People also like to mock what they call "religion" as being a crutch.  And my response to this feeble attempt at an insult is much like the other:  "Very well, my faith is a crutch.  What do you expect me to do?  I'M CRIPPLED!"
     The almost unavoidable acknowledgment that I am in desperate need of constant assistance has probably done more to help me discover the truth about God than years of academic study could have accomplished without such an assent.  In fact, it was this need that drove me to do a pretty serious amount of academic study in the first place, and which motivated me to start paying very close attention to what I read and observed.  But please notice that I said the acknowledgment was almost unavoidable.  I include the quantifier because the choice remained (and still remains) to me to try and dodge it - as it does for everyone.  If one prefers to remain sightless, hobbled, deaf, and/or similarly handicapped because the admittance of need costs more pride than he is willing to surrender, or because the reaching for a helping hand requires more work than he wants to do, he has the option to remain exactly as he is.  
     When the citizens of the country of the Gadarenes asked Jesus to "depart out of their coasts", he did as they requested (see Mark chapter 5).  But as for the formerly suffering man whom Jesus had healed there, he "prayed him that he might be with him."  Which of those two attitudes is more attractive to you?