Faith and Belief
The act of faith requires us to be “in relationship” with our beliefs (Freeman, 2011). This sounds complicated, until we begin to see the kingdom of God as a myriad of relationships – with each other, with ourselves, and with God.
To have faith in the unseen is a difficult concept for most. Clearly, we have felt love, yet love cannot be seen; however, understanding God to the same degree is often fleeting – experienced for a moment, but hard to grasp.
Ultimately, if we see faith as a “relationship with” what we believe, then we can begin to unpack and deepen our understandings of ourselves and others, and the ways in which we are called to move in the world, and shape our surroundings.
To have faith in God means that we must trust in the knowledge we gather and experience, as well as trusting and respecting that God is also preparing others, though the process may look different — “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold” (John 10:16).
We do not have to be identical sheep to share in the practice of faith. Faith is the habit in which we live in the kingdom of God, actively striving to keep our hearts and minds open.
The problem with faith is that it can get wrapped up in Groupthink. For example, if one has faith in God and happens to be Catholic, should one be “faithful” to the Catholic church’s ideology, at all times?
Or consider our two-party political system in America. If we “believe” in certain tenets of one party, does that mean we have “faith” in that particular party to make the right decisions? Enough to vote along party lines in every election?
Allowing any particular set of beliefs — in science, politics, or religion — to constitute “faith” presents problems when the “beliefs” equate to dogma – statements that may not necessarily reflect an individual’s personal truths, or God’s will.
Scripture and other wisdom literature encourages us to pursue wisdom at all costs. It does NOT say to be an island, or to live in a Christian-centric world. We are called to live “in the world” — serving and interacting, being and doing, growing and evolving.