Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I Wish We Talked about Faith More and Knowledge Less

Faith, simply defined, is the decision to continue to act in the face of uncertainty. Faith exists as an element of humility; it dies as arrogance solidifies. Therefore, faith never changes in nature; it just ebbs and flows in degree.

I believe that is vitally important to understand. It's not faith that changes; it's uncertainty and certainty that change - through the acquisition of knowledge (facts). Facts move faith from its original focus to a new focus on something else believed but not seen.

Faith is empowering. Faith drives inquiry. Faith drives discovery. Faith drives innovation. Faith drives charity. Faith drives courtship. Faith drives revelation. Faith drives experimentation. Faith drives progress. Faith drives growth.

The lack of faith (the surety of absolute certainty) drives closed minds. It also drives fanaticism. It drives oppression. It drives arrogance. It drives stagnation. 

It's interesting that Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit . . . meek . . . merciful . . ." - NOT "Blessed are those who know everything." It's interesting that he said, "Seek (an action undertaken ONLY by those who understand they don't know everything) and ye shall find." It's interesting that Moroni didn't say, "He will manifest it unto you . . . Ye may know all things." Rather, he said, "He will manifest THE TRUTH OF IT unto you . . . Ye many know THE TRUTH OF all things."

In focusing on faith, I am not dismissing knowledge, but I am saying that knowledge is only the eternal end goal for me. For me, in the here and now, it's much more the journey - the pursuit - the seeking than it is a final, completed acquisition in mortality.


Clean Cut said...

Seriously, excellent post. Extremely well articulated thoughts. Definitely resonates with me.

Justin said...

Amen! A question though...

You said: "The lack of faith (the surety of absolute certainty)..."

I do like this definition of lacking faith, but perhaps it's only one side of the coin? I'm guessing most Mormons believe that lack of faith is someone too stymied by uncertainty to commit. Is there a lack of faith defined in that way? Can having too much uncertainty also cause a lack of faith? It seems like it can.

Papa D said...

Great question, Justin.

Most people need some degree of certainty, so, yes, too little certainty can cause huge issues. However, I would say too much uncertainty isn't really the core issue; rather it is what each person does with uncertainty. It can lead to faith (positive orientation of hope despite uncertainty) or doubt (negative orientation focused on uncertainty).

At the most basic level, I just wish we were more comfortable with and accepting of the entire spectrum - from total agnosticism but willingness to hope to absolute certainty. I think obsession over certainty is dangerous and hurtful to too many people.

After all, if we say to some is given to know and to others is given to believe **even with regard to something as central as Jesus' role as the Christ** . . . We ought to be open to the same standard for everything, and we ought to extend that same acceptance to faith (hope in the unseen) that doesn't even reach firm belief.

Justin said...

Well I certainly agree with you. I wish more of us in the church saw it this way.