Faith, as in faithful

Regarding the title: In the IT world, there’s the famous differentiation between free software (“free, as in freedom”) and freeware (“free, as in free beer”). Using that as an analogy: it seems that Christians are not really of one accord when it comes to the meaning of “faith”. Some think of it as “faith, as in believing”, and some as “faith, as in faitful”. Let me call these groups the “believers” and the “faithful”, and their occupation “believing” and “being faithful”.

Believers think of believing as the fundamentalist activity of thinking something is true, without fact-level confirmation, just based on an axiom. The faithful think of being faithful as the state of being “on God’s side”, even though the truth about God is not as obvious as one wishes it to be, and even though everything is in a mess, seeming to consist of doubts, strange occurrences and spiritual fights only.

What’s in the Bible regarding “believing or being faithful”? Without going into the details: there are plenty of people who failed in their activity of believing, but were still on God’s side. Abraham. Jakob. David. Asaph. Moses. Aaron. Eli. …

Now, with respect to my notes on humanities-level believing and fact-level believing I’d say: yes, the reports about the Gospels (and other humanities-based investigations) give reason to be faithful. But they don’t justify the fundamentalist activity of being sure beyond any doubt. Now, accepting that reason and starting to be “faithful” to God, makes one ask if there’s reason to be more sure about what one believes about God. That is, facts. Ok then, welcome to the search for them (in my case I call it Xpedition “Second Acts”). That search is about “looking deeper”: testing the reports, relating reports to what one expects from the current reality because of them … .

But remember, regardless of the status and outcome of this search, there’s reason to be faithful to God. That’s good news, as without that we’d be without any justified hope, near to psychogene death.






2 responses to “Faith, as in faithful”

  1. Anonymous

    Why do you write faithful in quotation marks, i.e.
    as “faithful”?

    Your post sounds like you see faithfulness as a garbled version as your fact-based-faith.

    If I’m not mistaken God wants faith as in faithful and not fact-based believe. Do you see God asking somewhere to prove his existence and the credibility of his words before you start believing?

    You defined “faith as in believing” and “faith as in faithful” to be without fact-level confirmation. And as you seek for this confirmation it meens that you, according to your own definition, you are not a believer.

    You’re gonna spend years of your life and ten-thousands of euros to look for things which are of no importance to God.

    –Bro Joe

  2. matew

    Hi Joe, regarding the quotation marks: I think you mean the “starting to be “faithful” to God” part. That’s the single instance where I cannot give you a reason for them … I guess I had simply too much in the text and and mingled things up.

    Because I was writing this rel. quickly. So that I’ve gotta clarify things now. Ok then.

    This post was not to disregard faithfulness in favor of fact-level belief, but to disregard (the activity of) believing in favor of being faithful.

    So, no, faithfulness is not a garbled version of fact-based belief. It’s its basis.

    The believing / faithful dichotomy is basically a play with English words: both are used to describe a Christian, but have different connotations. “Believing” means “to think that something is true”, while “faithful” means “to be loyal to somebody”.

    In my post, I tried to clarify these different notions of being a Christian: while (fundamentalist) believing cannot include doubts, being faithful can. Doubts that may initiate a search for facts, but at the same time the faith does not need these facts to stick to God.

    Which should also answer your question if I am a believer according to my own definition: I am, in the sense of “faith, as in faithful”.

    And yes, I’m gonna spend time and money to look for things that are of no importance to God. Because they are of importance to humans, who have not that immediate perception of the facts about God that God has.

    God does not ask me to prove anything before starting to believe, but the chaos of religious opinions in this world does. Each claims to be true, so what one to trust? That’s why I think it’s logically necessary to deeply look into the issue. Even after a personal decision for the God of the Bible, who is, according to my current understanding, the only serious one.

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