Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mini-Rant: Faith is NOT a belief that the light will go on when the switch is flipped!!

I don't like some of the common examples of faith that are used to teach children about it. Believing a light will go on when you flip the light switch is not faith, and it shouldn't be taught as such - even to very small children who can't understand the full concept yet.

Paul said that faith is the substance of things "hoped for" and the evidence of things "not seen".  There's no faith required to flip a switch and expect the light to go on; it's straightforward knowledge based on previous experience - actually seeing the light go on.  Sure, it might not happen - if there's a short in the wiring or the bulb is burned out, but that still doesn't make it faith; it just shows that there can be exceptions to general "knowledge" we have gained through actual sight.

To me, our "faith" is that for which we hope because of the Atonement of Christ and the unseen evidence we see for that hope - a belief, yes, but such a strong belief that it actually compels us to act on our hope. It is Christ-centered, and the examples we use ought to be Christ-centered, as well - like those Paul used in Hebrews 11 after he defined faith.


Richard Alger said...

What is a better analogy?

Papa D said...

Good question, Rich. I should have included a few examples.

The things listed in Hebrews are examples of things people DID as a result of faith, rather than analogies for faith. Thus, I would use examples that are action based and involve doing things despite not being able to SEE (with our actual, physical eyes) results. A couple of examples that come to mind immediately:

1) Walking in the dark using directions from someone else, believing that you will end up where that person says you will finish - but not somewhere that is on a common map and has entered the realm of knowledge.

2) Praying - in lots of situations, without a history of constant, observable results.

3) Following directions soley out of trust in someone (for whatever reason) without a history of experience with that person. "Perfect" (complete, whole, fully deveolped) trust and faith are closely related, if not synonymous in some cases.

4) Anything that constitutes "experimenting on the word" - since an experiment, by definition, is an effort to understand something not proven or "seen" previously.