Thursday, June 23, 2005

Faith

A recent testimony at church helped provide an interesting insight into my own faith and where I am in it.
The lady Discussed 3 phases that her faith had went through:

1) God is everywhere in every thing all around, faith with out knowledge with out question, innocent faith.
2) The loss of faith, faith weakened, questioned unknown, "My God, My God have you forsaken me"
3) Faith rekindled small, but strong slowly growing maturing, faith with reason.



That's not quite how she described her three steps but that is how I see them.
Looking at my own faith though there are some similarities.


The early faith was that that I had when I was a Child.

God is good, God is Love, God is the reason for all things, God saves me from hell, God is light God is life, Jesus my best friend, The bible unquestionable accurate and perfect. Christians are good people, god protects and looks after Christians.

This was the faith of a Child (6-10,11) having given one self to God it was strong and unquestioning, I think the commitment had a change at least on my public behaviour. Based years of bible stories, reading children's bibles, Bible in Schools, Bible Club, Sunday School (Brethren with a bit of Apostolic).


Next came faith with some reason. God is good, life and love. God forgives, God protects, God created the earth and the universe, the Bible accurate and near prefect pretty much literally. Christians are people and have people the same weaknesses as other people. The problems in the world are human based. It's better to be a Christian than not. Evolution and science wrong in some areas. Faith and religion not the same.

The faith of a teenager (11-18), a child growing up, finding Sunday School could no longer teach any more, discovering greater and greater diversity in Christian thought and circles, Attending a private Conservative Christian intermediate then a public coed high school. Starting to study and examine Science, History, Church History. Discussing things with Dad troubled by questions he raised to think about, arguing with friends at school about Christianity, Religion and Science. Gaining a deeper understanding of Science and History. Church hopping, attending a traditional style cell group. Disagreeing with other Christians in some areas agreeing in others. Reading more and more, learning more about our culture. Learning about politics and the world.


Next was "faith"? Can I, do I have faith? What do I have faith in?
Questions, always questions.
Does God exist, can he exist, why do things happen, why do we exist? What is the world with out God what is our purpose if there is no God? Is this the true "faith"? Does it matter? One way to god? What is Heaven, what is Hell? What is death with out God? Is the bible all ways right? Is it the exact word of God? Is it a humans inadequate attempt to express the Divine? Genesis, fact? Historical fiction? or Story? Evolution or Creation, perhaps Intelligent design? Does one exclude the others? Social issues abortion, murder, crimes, victim and criminals place and rights?


The Question (18-19)? Still going to church, but wondering, questioning all that one sees. Going to Uni Studying Science, Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Computing. Questioning what was taught, but seeing underlying logic as well as holes. Mixing and merging ideas from all areas of interest Science and Christianity. Going to a cell group people who see black and white, I see grey and some black.


A new faith? Different, now things fit, small though, Questions still a plenty
Much is grey but now there is both Light and Darkness as well as they grey. Truth I may not know entirely, but some understanding achieved, such as a human may. Both Science and God now fit to a degree. God rules but free will for now has power. Heaven and hell of less importance. God IS! But what is the nature? What is the method?

The faith of one who has balanced internally at least to some degree the demands of two things that may appear to conflict (19- ). Involvement with CU, New friends, Christian Friends, Changing cell groups to my current.


The future? Growth of the faith a decrease in questions? Or more likely a decrease in the importance of the questions. An increase in the relationship with God, perhaps one day reaching a point were it dominates. Baptism, Hope for a future with God. Trust that in the end that which can not be explained, is not understood, will be explained or made irrelevant.



One thing I'll say with regards to the period of question, one thing there that scares me, more than pretty much any thing else is the question of "What if God doesn't exist"? Even contemplating that briefly is disturbing beyond anything else I've considered.

Any way what you see is part of the journey of one who has a faith of a kind. One raised in a Christian family.

I'm somewhat curious, if any one wants to comment, on how many others have experienced something similar, and if, if they don't mind me asking, they were raised in a Christian Family.

4 comments:

Jared said...

Yeah that sounds like what I experienced. During Intermediate and High School there was a growing disillusionment with the God of Sunday School. This God was more a god in the realm of intellect. I still attended church but it was more of a social thing to meet up with mates. Then EasterCamp and a swing from the intellect to the experience. Meeting with God and an understanding of that this God cares about me.
I think as we get older some questions get resolved but others crop up and some remain unresolved. But I would agree that having all the answers decreases in importance as God reveals himself with time to be faithful and trustworthy.

Ruth said...

Mine was kinda similar but a wee bit different. I'd put up to about age 13/14 all in one stage of Yay Godness then from 13/14 I started to question whether I actually was christian and what it meant and if I really wanted it anyway, that became the yay God stage where there was lots of hype but also a really strong passion for getting to know God. When I started Uni I started to question things more and try and relate what the bible says to what actually seems to be happening ,which I'm still doing. Not sure if that makes sense. It's almost like I'm swingign from a more 'experience' side of things to a more 'thinking' side of things while trying to still combine the two...

Katherine said...

Yes also similar, and yes, Christian family. My 'disillusioned' phase didn't come till last year. Not that I would call my teenage faith 'childlike'; I remember the moment I left that behind; but I really didn't encounter anything that seriously phased my faith during school. I was not naive. I had considered my faith carefully, felt it was coherent, and was absolutely and deeply content in it, even with the uncertain parts of it. Still don't exactly know what happened last year that made it all seem so weird all of a sudden. Currently still in reconstruction phase. Time will tell whether the whole episode will prove beneficial or not, but my instinct says it will.

damian said...

From my background of athiesm, my experience has been almost parallel. At first I was unwilling to seriously consider the existence of an all-powerful being, perhaps because such a thing is by its nature inconcievable by my finite mind. Not to mention the christian church's method of packaging God and christians as naively perfect is an incredibly hard pill to swallow, taking idiocy rather than faith to believe in. From the limited philosophy and science I have learned, it has become harder and harder to discredit a theory simply because it is too big; the limit of human knowledge is just too small to go denying any scientific or theological idea. So my faith lies in the inability to disprove divinity, in my hope that there really is something out there bigger than our everyday desires and my prudence by keeping to a strict moral code. I will always question however, for my conscience will not allow me the chance to let the real God pass me by simply because I have put faith into a dogma which can not be proved correct.