The Correct Definition of Faith
AS Jesus said to his Apostles, when they couldn’t cure someone -“You don’t need more faith….even a mustard seed amount will do. But it has to be faith, not mental ascension. NEVER BELIEVE anything because of “faith” as used by most Christians and churches. Their definition usually implies- ” believe something that sounds counterintuitive, unreasonable, just plain dumb and keep pretending it is true, contrary to your intelligence; then deny, deny, deny your unbelief until you convince yourself it is true” because some lunkhead PhD in Religion, or Church authority said it was. Run for the hills if you get that message. Stop panicking. Relax and look for truth. You can’t manufacture faith. Relax and understand what it is and what it isn’t. Find out what phrases like “faith in numbers” or ” faith in Janet” or “faith that the taxi, bus, train, plane will be on time”. Then see what the word “faith” actually means. The church kind of faith is actually opposite of the definition of “faith” in every other situation.
The true definition of faith should include – believing only the things that are reasonable, logical, and stood the test of time. In every other usage of the word “faith”, faith increases “if something was true a number of times and it seems true again; and looks like it will be true next time. Then you can have confidence in “or faith” that it will be true again. You can have some measure of faith, in the fact that it is probably true, because you have seen it in action and you are sure it will be true again. If you find one contradiction, you need to reassess your faith in it.
In math- If 1+1 always seems to add up to two, you can have faith that the next time you add 1+1, it will add to 2. If at anytime it adds up to three, you should reassess your faith in math or your skill at addition.
In personal relationships- If someone is constantly late for meetings and you need him/her to be somewhere important for you and be on time, do you have “faith” in that person to deliver? You might have hope, but at your own peril. Faith is not one of the words you would choose for your “always late friend”; unless you have faith that they WON’T be on time. You can have faith for things not to be……or happen.
In all other examples, faith means “based on past experience or some information, you are confident of getting the right answer. Why does the word “faith” have such an opposite meaning when it comes to religion? In no other applications does it ever imply believing without some confidence in proof or experience or trust in another to validate. Evil, confused people have entered the churches long ago, and corrupted the meaning of that word.
Thessalonians 5:21 instructs us to “test” or prove things, including preconceptions, and “hold fast” to the ones that pass the smell test. Many make a mistake of “holding fast to what they have” while completely ignoring the additional information that may come at any time. Thessalonians instructs us to test first. Please stop believing in lies and fables even if they are legitimate parts of the Christian story. If you don’t know it to be true, assess why? There could be many reasons you might not have faith in one thing or another. It might be false, falsely interpreted, falsely understood by you, or just doesn’t make sense with the information you have. Christianity is true, not because you pretend it or deny the evidence of it being false or deny your lack of your belief in it.
I see people lacking faith, feverishly praying that they get faith in what they actually don’t believe in. It is either true or not, based on the facts at hand. It doesn’t become true because you put your consciousness to sleep and overlook the fact that you just don’t believe a particular idea. Faith never means accepting an idea that you see as false. Never. That is like believing that 3 + 4 = 9, then keep denying that it is false.
And I see well meaning, but totally wrong Christians, telling others- “get on your knees and pray to God so that he will forgive you”. Oh, brother, did they miss it. There is nothing wrong with prayer, but this kind of faithless or misunderstood Gospel application of prayer is wrong. You fervent Christians- my question to you is “what did Yashua accomplish by dying on the cross?” The key word is accomplish. Past tense. Your answer should be something like “He died to atone for the sins of the world” or “he paid for the sins of the world”. Reasonable answer to you? Which sins? The ones that had occurred before He died? How about all present ( at His time of death), past and future sins. Right? My point is that everyone has been forgiven, they just need to accept the forgiveness. Not do laborious, oppressive, penance or pray on glass or stress out for forgiveness as if it was being withheld, and thinking “if I were to pray harder, Yashua might forgive me and he will because of all my sincere effort”. As if your prayer moved Yashua; sorry, he already moved when he died and you were already forgiven for today’s sins. Plleeasse! My opinion- acknowledge your error, thank Him for forgiveness which was given at the cross and now you accept thankfully. No hours of weeping and begging for forgiveness as if it needs to be given to you. It is freely offered to all that would accept it. You can’t pray to be given forgiveness, but thanking Yashua for already providing it for all that would accept it. Don’t pray for it; thank Yashua that it is available because YOU HAVE FAITH THAT HIS WORK WAS ACCOMPLISHED. No great “ashes and sackcloth” mentality. That is old Testament. You can’t do anything to earn it (like prolonged prayer for it) thus nullifying that Yashua has finished His Work. The days of weeks of prayer for forgiveness, is for people not under the New Covenant. You who suffer to be forgiven – stop suffering and pleading. Rejoice because it has already been provided for acceptance. That simple and clean- thank Yashua. If you think prayer will bring forgiveness into existence for you, you are wrong. He isn’t getting crucified again for our new (recent) sin.
Not all that we believe in is true even if we believed it for years, or mom and dad told you so. Test your beliefs continually and rigorously against the Bible and reality. Don’t deny what is there. But the Bible has to be interpreted properly and not by Joe the barber, as he preaches and cuts hair. Human intellect, reasoning, the smell test supersede any traditions and the words of others, especially authorities or who have a doctorate in religious studies or an erudite demeanor or look about them. There are few unambiguous verses in the Bible to bring light to the veracity of any interpretation. Churches are full of dogma and have few answers. If the church authority doesn’t know, more likely not understand, the usual mantra in a patronizing voice is -“…the Lord moves in mysterious ways. We aren’t meant to understand this”; or this smug – “we will know when we get to heaven.” Church’s have always been big on ceremony and dogma and little on understanding truth and substance. It is not in their best interest to have a questioning flock of followers. They just don’t have the answers and are not necessarily malicious. They are often doing their best as they mislead others as they were misled (taught). Preachers and priests are people with the most fallacious preconceived ideas and have many wrongly interpreted scriptures taught by their denominations to support their beliefs, as they twist interpretation to prove themselves right. This is what they learn in seminary- how to substantiate core church beliefs, not truth. They will ignore or deride a clearer verse or interpretation that contradicts church doctrine. Or dismiss real questions from people and just say, “don’t be so questioning, just believe”. Really? So if my 3+9 ends up as 17, I should just believe it? Naayyy! Would you?
What is mental ascension? It is mental attempt to display an emotion. You can love someone in your heart (core) or pretend to in your head. I am sure everyone has been “in love”. Remember how powerful those feelings were. If you got married, the feelings may have started to wane as the pressures of life weigh your heart down. To substitute for your “love” you often mentally ascent your love. What? You might say “luv ya” without the emotion of joy to be with that person. It doesn’t mean you don’t love them, but all your feelings may have been ground down by everyday life and you are numb or down and all you can muster is the words “luv ya” based on memories of your love – memories of the joy of their company. You might still care about them, maybe even get that passion back occasionally, but often you just go with the “luv ya”. You express no emotion or passion and you certainly aren’t joyful with their presence in the moment, you just mentally “play” “conclude” “say” that you love them without the joy (love). The question to ask is- “can love come from the mind or only from the heart. I believe that without that passion, you can’t actually love. You can know that you love the other and say so, but that is mental ascension. Passionless, without heart is not love at all, but you mentally agree that you love them. I hope you get it, because the same idea applies to faith. It comes from the heart, not the head. I contend that if you are trying to get faith or more faith through your mind or using words, you will never find faith. You will mentally ascent to faith or really just be pretending “faith”, like the little love scenario before.
Faith without love, is dead. Joy and other emotions come from the heart (core or center of being or emotions). Without real passion or emotions, you are a robopath. Coined by Lewis Yablonsky in a great 70’s book called “Robopaths; Men as machines”. Think Borg. Many have literally been assimilated by the environment, which to many is TV, computers, sports, music, socially learned (programmed) behavior, et al. Many have mental faith or mental love because they don’t see themselves as a spirit with intellect, but an intellect (or just a body) that might be or have spirit. Everything might be through thought- I contend it isn’t. In fact, it can’t be and is an anathema to true faith and love. So if your looking for faith and love in your head, you will never find it.
Now, I admit they might overlap to confuse the issue. You might feel passion of faith and love from the heart and then think about or link it to thought, but the source of that joy is the heart. No joy- no love. Thinking about it doesn’t create it. How do you fix it? First you have to actually recognize it as a problem and that mentally believing you love somebody isn’t actually loving somebody. We are so used to being “intellects” that we can’t see anything else but “thinking” love. Realization or perception is also a heart thing and not head thing. I don’t mean that pump. When you finally understand something that puzzled you, you get that “aha” moment. That aha moment is when the intellect sees the heart’s answer. You never get the answer from continuously running words through your brain. You must stop running words before answers to questions are received. How often do you find yourself telling people or yourself “stop and let me think”? Does that mean to keep those words going in your brain or does it mean, you need some silence to get clarity to get a perspective or wait for the answer. We stop so we can “see” the answer, so we wait until it magically comes into your intellect from ?. Heart (maybe you like center of being, your core, your self). The word “heart” can make some people stumble. When you learned your times tables, you learned them “by heart”. Can you keep you head jabbering and multiply 25×20. You might need to “visualize” or come into contact with your heart.
Seeing is perception or realization. It can be rational but not intellectual. See that you aren’t an intellect, but a spirit that possesses intellect. But how can you see what you don’t believe? Keep testing yourself. Don’t have that church kind of faith that says “believe what you don’t and deny your doubts.” Faith takes evidence (not denial)- no matter how hard you might try to believe 6 + 2 = 5, it never will, except maybe for some of these modern math loonies. It takes time for a child to learn addition. They might use fingers and to to help at first. Later, they don’t have to even think about it- they know the answer by heart. What is 2 + 3? Does it take you a lot of effort to come up with the answer. Are you using your fingers and toes to help? Why not? Why aren’t you going “I have to believe it. I have to believe it. I can’t doubt that the answer is 5. Give me the strength to believe it..” I am not making fun of anyone, just trying to get you to see from a particular perspective about what many people do in this “faith” acquisition business. Why don’t you struggle to get 2 +3= 5. Because YOU HAVE FAITH THAT IT IS. YOU LEARNED IT BY MANY TRIAL AND ERROR ATTEMPTS TO ADD WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG. After you saw evidence that 2 + 3 =5 many times, you finally knew, “had faith “, that it was so. You learned to have faith in math and in your ability to add. No denial involved. You are steady as a rock. You have a foundation built on rock. You can then learn to multiply, divide, and just look and “SEE” how many eggs are left in the carton. And you are 100% sure. You might go on to algebra, geometry, calculus if you keep BUILDING on your solid, early learned foundation. No amount of hope, fervent prayer or denial is going to get you to pass that algebra test if you have no faith that 2 +3 =5. This whole exercise might take some time to sink in. Give yourself time- did you ever get faith by really freaking and hoping and denying your lack of it. Try the addition way. The Bible mentions young Christians able to digest only the milk of faith (baby food “faith”).
Start with the foundation. How? See how faith works in every other situation. The definition of the word shouldn’t change when it applies to Christianity or any religion or thought system except one that is askew. If you don’t believe something in your “Christianity” or “Buddhism” or “physics” or “…….”, perhaps you may want to see why (not deny), and not worry about not having the faith to believe something that may not be true. Maybe it isn’t true or maybe it is, but you just accepted it blindly (trying not to doubt) and have no understanding or your interpretation is wrong about what you are in doubt with. Build your foundation only with what you really DO believe. Then add more true beliefs. You didn’t learn to multiply overnight. Maybe you built your whole house without a foundation or one built of sand (non-existent or unsteady). Anybody remember what happened to the house built without a foundation when the stream beat vehemently? Check out Luke 6:48, 49. All sorts of people are under many delusions, especially religious people because most of them think that believing what they don’t believe is “having faith”. How come you know that you are still correct that 2 + 3 =5 –because it seems to ALWAYS be so and hasn’t equalled 3 or 7 or 8 yet. And you CAN HAVE FAITH until it fails to equal 5.
This faith applies to science, but only that covered by Newtonian physics. Once you enter the world of subatomic particle physics, all our usual logic systems fail. In particle physics, an electron can be in one place or two or everywhere and nowhere. That isn’t most people’s realm. How can it be in all places or in two or none at the same time? This seems to be true, but I wouldn’t worry about that unless your attending MIT or a particle physics class.
Build your foundation or take your house down and rebuild it on one. The times of vehemently beating streams is upon many already. You have time to make your foundation solid. Please force no one to be a Christian. Christians should always remember what Ghandi said – “I would have been a Christian until I met one”. Keep that in mind when you feel judgemental