Saturday, October 2, 2010

Charity Believeth All Things: A Few Connected Thoughts

My New Year's Resolution this month is to "believe more things" - taken, as has been the case all year, from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 where it states:

Charity believeth all things.

As I contemplated this resolution, some connected yet autonomous thoughts that ran through my mind. Rather than write a typical post this week, to start off the month I want to record those thoughts and ask everyone who reads this post to offer your thoughts about my thoughts. I'm not sure exactly in what direction I want to take this particular resolution this month, so I would appreciate any help anyone wants to give.

1) I remembered a quote I cited earlier this spring in a post that deals with the idea of believing regardless of "truthfulness" - and I'm sure it will factor into how I approach this resolution:

"If you want to believe in something, then believe in it. Just because something isn’t true, there’s no reason you can’t believe in it. Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things that a man needs to believe in the most: that people are basically good; that honor, courage and virtue mean everything; that power and money mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; that true love never dies. It doesn’t matter if they are true or not. A man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in." - from the movie, "Second Hand Lions".

2) I wrote the next thought almost exactly a year ago, and it also deals with the same general theme I am starting to develop as perhaps the core focus of this month's resolution:

“To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.” (D&C 46: 13-14)

If some have to "believe" something as fundamental as that Jesus is the Son of God, then it seems logical to assert that even more are going to have to believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet - and myriad other uniquely Mormon teachings.

I have no problem with saying, "I know” about a lot of things - but there also are things that I still believe without yet knowing. I would love to hear more people stand in front of the congregation and say, “I believe . . .”- or even, "I want to believe . . ."

3) I wrote the following just over two years ago:

A friend once said to me, "I see you as an academic believer." My response follows:

I like that term, since the primary emphasis is on being a "believer" rather than an "academic". I am inquisitive by nature; I try to see everything from every side and reach my own conclusions; I do so, however, from a foundation of faith - because I have found that it is such a foundation that brings me the most joy.

This means that I always try hard when I read or hear something for the first time to see if there is a way I can see "correctness" within it - even if that ends up being only a very small portion. Often, I end up rejecting 10%-90% of something - but my approach, I believe, allows me to gain something from most of the things to which I am exposed. That is true sometimes of things I have considered carefully previously - if the perspective is somewhat different than what I have considered previously.

I am not an "academic believer" if that means someone who only accepts what I can understand. (I would term that type of person to be a "believing academic".) I certainly am an "academic believer" if that means someone who tries to think about and understand everything but who, first and foremost, believes. My heart and experiences are bound rock-solidly to the Restored Gospel, but my mind is looking constantly for ways to understand it better.

I am leaning on tackling this month's resolution from the standpoint of the need for faith in world I see through my glass, darkly - but I would love to have input into the quotes above and any other thoughts about the idea of charity believing all things.


Matthew said...

I am finding this phrase difficult to get my head around, to be honest. I have thought about it a few times, and haven't really gotten too far.

Some thoughts:

- believing all good things
- believing all truth
- believing in the ideal rather than the reality
- believing in the positive potential of all people

Some other translations put it this way:

NIV (©1984)
... always trusts, ...

New Living Translation (©2007)
... never loses faith, ...

I think that the object of belief being all things is what troubles me. This is probably why all my thoughts add qualifiers. :)

Sorry I don't have more to offer this time round. I will keep thinking, though.

Jacob B said...

I have a post that deals somewhat with this question:’s-task-part-2-truth-in-mormonism/

Papa D said...

Thanks, Matthew. I appreciate your input. My next post is taking shape. We'll see where it goes.

Jacob, thanks for the link. The part that addresses this concept is a good presentation of much of that toward which I'm leaning. The idea that what I call "pure Mormonism" embraces all truth is central to my thoughts at this point.