Questions About Faith

Public forum for topics that don't fit into the other categories.
Roy
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Re: Questions About Faith

Post by Roy » 12 Feb 2018, 10:44

I like to think of faith in the context of someone moving across country for a new job, or switching careers, or starting their own business, or making a thoughtful decision to get divorced. Essentially, all of these have in common sacrificing some of the comforts and dependability of the current known situation for a future that is somewhat uncertain but is hoped to be a positive step forward.

Religious conservatives tend to defend the status quo. This (in the context I have explained above) is not faith in my opinion. It is good and right to stick with what you know (especially if it is working for you), I just do not see that as faith.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

AmyJ
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Re: Questions About Faith

Post by AmyJ » 12 Feb 2018, 10:56

I was watching a nature documentary on Sunday. It had a sequence about these gulls that live up on the cliff edge for part of the year to build nests and raise young easily several hundred feet above the ground. The cliffs are something like 40 meters from the water - and the chicks are not built for soaring - at best it looks like hang-gliding to the water (if you are a lucky, well prepared chick) or onto the ground to be lunch. It's also a 1 launch ticket - there is no go back and climbing up into the nest again.

The first chick was pumped - and plummeted to the ground about 10 meters or so from the cliffs. Because the chick went alone and did not get enough distance, the chick was a young fox's lunch. The next chick also fell short, hitting the ground (and rolling - it was pretty funny) a few meters further - but was able to roll safely and waddle to the water (lacking dignity, but in good health) - it helped that the chick's parent glided along side the chick and was there to protect the chick (though the footage didn't show any lurking foxes - maybe it had already been fed, or was omitted from the video). The last chick went off the cliff and plummeted successfully (barely) into the water - also accompanied by a parent. There was nothing graceful about any of the launches - but I find them captured in my mind.

To me, faith is in part the chick plunge. You don't know the ground below you or how much ground you will cover - but it is helpful if you have someone who can support you (and at least scare off the foxes) - and if you can see your goal (at least the short term). And maybe sometimes you will be the chick that just falls short, makes a very ungraceful landing - but doesn't get eaten.

Roy
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Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Questions About Faith

Post by Roy » 12 Feb 2018, 13:35

Amateur Parent (another participant here) has mentioned about the sparrows or birds of the air referenced by Jesus in Matt. 6:26. The verse seems to indicate that God will provide, yet the birds existence is a hard one. Short busy lives. High mortality rates. Death by freezing, starvation, or violence.

Maybe the bigger lesson is that life (however short or difficult) is worth the effort and that each life journey requires faith as we place one foot in front of the other stepping into an uncertain future.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Beefster
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Re: Questions About Faith

Post by Beefster » 13 Feb 2018, 00:01

Roy wrote:
12 Feb 2018, 10:44
I like to think of faith in the context of someone moving across country for a new job, or switching careers, or starting their own business, or making a thoughtful decision to get divorced. Essentially, all of these have in common sacrificing some of the comforts and dependability of the current known situation for a future that is somewhat uncertain but is hoped to be a positive step forward.

Religious conservatives tend to defend the status quo. This (in the context I have explained above) is not faith in my opinion. It is good and right to stick with what you know (especially if it is working for you), I just do not see that as faith.
I agree with this 100%. I think I got lost in trying to answer some of Kipper's questions that this message got lost.

Faith is hoping that things will work out even when you don't know exactly how. Faith and obedience (to God) are not on the same axis, but they're not quite orthogonal either. Too often, obedience is framed as a form of conformity to a norm or status quo rather than adherence to actual divine advice derived from God's complete understanding of the nature of the universe. Doing as you're told is not really an act of faith. Trust, maybe, but not faith. Often times, it's trusting your own judgment and instinct that is the real act of faith. Finding your own path and working things out with God, on your own terms, takes a totally different kind of faith than the "obedience for blessings" mentality that prevails in the church or the "belief in Jesus for salvation" that is common in the evangelical Christian world. This kind of faith has no clear path and the results are completely unknown. But in the end, you come out a better person who owns his/her belief in God.

Status quo leads to stagnation. Status quo is an enemy to (eternal) progression which sometimes wears the mask of obedience. If you are not changing, you are certainly not getting better.
Last edited by Beefster on 13 Feb 2018, 00:20, edited 2 times in total.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Sometimes our journeys take us to unexpected places. That is a truly beautiful thing.

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Beefster
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Re: Questions About Faith

Post by Beefster » 13 Feb 2018, 00:13

nibbler wrote:
12 Feb 2018, 06:31
Often I hear doubt being presented as the opposite of faith but I think certainty does a better job of filling that role. Doubts can help faith grow, certainty almost always makes faith shrink.
I like this so much that I decided to put it in my signature.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Sometimes our journeys take us to unexpected places. That is a truly beautiful thing.

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nibbler
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Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Questions About Faith

Post by nibbler » 13 Feb 2018, 05:31

Roy wrote:
12 Feb 2018, 13:35
Amateur Parent (another participant here) has mentioned about the sparrows or birds of the air referenced by Jesus in Matt. 6:26. The verse seems to indicate that God will provide, yet the birds existence is a hard one. Short busy lives. High mortality rates. Death by freezing, starvation, or violence.
Last Sunday someone in the SS class I attended made the comment (paraphrased and translated, so heavily filtered), "heavenly father feeds all the birds but they still have to go out and look for it."

A reference to Matthew 6:26.
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold
-Jesus

Roy
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Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Questions About Faith

Post by Roy » 14 Feb 2018, 17:38

nibbler wrote:
13 Feb 2018, 05:31
Last Sunday someone in the SS class I attended made the comment (paraphrased and translated, so heavily filtered), "heavenly father feeds all the birds but they still have to go out and look for it."

A reference to Matthew 6:26.
I think I know what they are trying to say here (avoid sloth) and yet it just does not work for me. Wouldn't that be akin to saying that God feeds all the homeless people but they still have to go out and look for it? I suppose my brain wants to frame an analogy to the works of mice and men...
But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
[Oft go awry],

An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!
An’ forward tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!
This to me seems more fitting of what Jesus meant in context:
25 “So I tell you, don’t worry about the things you need to live—what you will eat, drink, or wear. Life is more important than food, and the body is more important than what you put on it. 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant, harvest, or save food in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them. Don’t you know you are worth much more than they are? 27 You cannot add any time to your life by worrying about it.

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? Look at the wildflowers in the field. See how they grow. They don’t work or make clothes for themselves. 29 But I tell you that even Solomon, the great and rich king, was not dressed as beautifully as one of these flowers. 30 If God makes what grows in the field so beautiful, what do you think he will do for you?
It’s just grass—one day it’s alive, and the next day someone throws it into a fire. But God cares enough to make it beautiful.
Surely he will do much more for you. Your faith is so small!

31 “Don’t worry and say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 That’s what those people who don’t know God are always thinking about. Don’t worry, because your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. 33 What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what he wants you to do. Then he will give you all these other things you need. 34 So don’t worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Tomorrow will have its own worries.
To me he seems to be saying that life can be short and hard and unpredictable but also breathtaking and beautiful. Do not fight the vicissitudes of life, transcend them!
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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