Saturday, 1 August 2015

What's in the name?

the image source in the blog title is

Hi, I don't like to beat around the bush with introductions and whatnot if you want to know who I am, well that isn't the subject of the blog, but you should get some idea eventually after a few posts.
The relevant details are;
I'm Christian, non-denominational, I study maths and physics and have interests in... a whole lot of things.
That's all.

The blog  has got some explanations, some thoughts and some interpretations. It's not the gospel, and not all of it is going to be true all the time. Nor is it going to please all of the people. Those things are difficult and impossible respectively, but it is written for everyone.
Quotes will be in italics, bold is emphasis.

Now the name of the blog itself;
A few scriptural references are included for the Christians among my readership for whom the notion of my approach to faith, in general, may be new in some sense, or just not the way it's talked about most of the time.
The context of the name is the oft quoted bible verse; 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NRSV)

For we walk by faith, not by sight

Which has always rather disturbed me. For one it implies that faith is predominantly the absence of sight, and in many instances the doubt that observing the world brings is set up in opposition to faith; in the walking on water story; the feeling Peter gets when he looks at the rough seas after stepping out of the boat is admonished by Jesus, Thomas gets told that those who don't see and yet believe are to be blessed, and Paul in his letters says;

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen

Hebrews 11:1 (NRSV)

But while these verses are true in their context I think it leaves us still open to a different interpretation for what faith is about. To the verses in question then. The first is about leaving behind our bodily desires and instead living 'in our heavenly dwelling' and so in this verse 'sight' is the things we see that take us away from our conviction and longing 'to be clothed more fully' (see verses 4-7). This is not necessarily all that we observe, but clearly some of the things we see can/will/should disturb out convictions.

Anybody who is convinced something is going to happen in the future - such as one who believes the fact that the sun will rise tomorrow, or one who believes the world will end next time some of the planets align, has conviction of things not yet seen. The evidence thereof is variable, and so having faith about something doesn't presuppose having no evidence. In the story of Peter, I see him as a great empiricist - he sees Jesus walking on water, he wants to know if his data is reproducible for non deities so he gives it a go. It is when he doubts the evidence in front of him that he begins to sink. We would suppose that if Thomas retained his state of little faith, then the rest of his life would be unremarkable compared to the rest of the apostles, but on the contrary he declares 'my Lord and my God', and acts accordingly in future years - many of the stories about his deeds as an apostle to the Parthians and Indians are recorded in multiple traditions.

So this blog is not really so much about faith as about sight, having a faith of sorts that doesn't exist for lack of evidence. I don't accept that faith is blind - indeed to have a mature faith I think it should be the exact opposite - hence 'sighted faith'. I accept the definition of faith in it's broader sense where having faith is holding fast to previously established convictions hence 'faithfulness' refers to ongoing commitment, on the other hand, in a personal sense of faith there is room to grow it and to create new convictions - we do this any time we learn something new.

I hope that the things I see or 'look at', and write about will be enough to at least audit my worldview and perhaps some other's views as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment