The Meaning of Faith in The Age of Scepticism

Posted on June 24, 2010


While scanning the blogosphere and searching for something less depressing than the usual unenlightened nonsense I came across the  following:

Atheist apologists seem always eager to assert that faith is belief without evidence, notwithstanding that no religion I’m aware of sees it that way (Christianity surely does not) and that dictionaries don’t define it that way.

That this idea is wrong gets further support from Diana L. Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard University and Director of The Pluralism Project:

Traditionally, “believe” means “belove.” It doesn’t mean, “I think so, but I’m not sure.” It doesn’t mean, “I accept this intellectually because I have the evidence.” No, believing is a matter of the heart. The Latin credo with which the great Christian creeds begin means: I give my heart to this.

The word “believe” has gradually changed its meaning from conveying certainty so deep that I commit my life to it, to conveying uncertainty so unstable that only the “credulous” would rely on it. But faith is simply not about propositions, but about commitment.

To say that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is to say “I love this Jesus Christ,” and I do. Jesus enables me to see something of God that I do not know in any other way: God truly grounded in the soil of human life and death, and hope beyond death. God who does not rescue us out of this world, but who accompanies us in this world, even in the darkest times. God who is as close to us as our neighbor, as close to us as the stranger. God who surprises us with divine presence as we walk along the road to a familiar place. God who comes not as a judge, but as a child.

To say, “I believe in Jesus Christ” is not to subscribe to a dogma or proposition, but to express a deep commitment to God among us, to God’s presence, justice, and love here on earth.

There is no possible way that anyone could convey this message any better.  Today we are deluged with books by Christopher Hitchens and other angry Atheists.  Christianity is under attack today as much as it has been at any time in history and there seem to be few able defenders to counteract these attacks.  Christian Art, Music, Literature and influence are mediocre by past historical standards.  The Church is judged today by the Charlatans, Televangelists, Pedophile Priests and Pretenders who dominate the Popular Culture.  It is indeed ironic that a Professor at a secular university has been able to state  so eruditely what every Christian should be able to clearly profess.