Well, yesterday brought an unexpected lesson on faith that illustrates what I was trying to share in my post from earlier this week.
What I had been trying to explain is that faith is something we actively do in order to bring about something that we cannot know will happen. Since the future is entirely unknowable, every little action we take requires a grain of faith.
Well, I was at my parent’s home yesterday with my parents, my children, my sister, her husband, and their baby daughter. We were expecting a fun day of playing, going for walks, and some photography. Every decision and action we were making over the course of the morning was because we were exercising faith towards that hope we had a fun day ahead of us.
Well, in a span of 20 minutes, our day went from goofing off like this:
to spending the next several hours in an ER letting doctors work their skills and know-how on saving my toe:
So, while our faith actions that morning had been towards having a fun Saturday with family, our faith actions suddenly had to change to getting me to medical experts who we had hope could properly dress my wound, and then getting me to a pharmacy for medicine that we had hope would keep me from extreme pain, and keep infections out of the wound.
I think similar things happen with our spiritual faith as well. We have a responsibility to develop faith that there is a living Savior who cares for each of us personally, but then we use other ideas to try and buttress that faith, and unfortunately we sometimes use wrong ideas. In Mormonism we often talk about the Book of Mormon being the “keystone of our religion.” The idea of a keystone is that it is the most important piece for holding an arch together, if the keystone falls out the rest of the arch will fall. The converse is that the keystone is also held up by other ideas, if too many of those other ideas are weak or false, then the keystone can’t be held up. Other important keystones could include the atonement and the idea of gaining knowledge through revelation.
The problems start when we in religions try to hold up the keystones of our faith with ideas that aren’t true. We believe that Christ is our Savior, but then we make some assumption that since we learn about Christ in the Bible, everything in the Bible must be literally true. When biology and geology prove that Earth isn’t 6000 years old, then suddenly an untrue belief that we held winds up cutting us off from a true belief. This is where churches find themselves losing millennials.
This is why faith needs to be more of an ongoing personal action as opposed to an abstract thing that we passively possess. We need to recognize that we, using our finite brains, create false assumptions supporting our own faiths. Faith is something that we can’t know is true, but we hope is true, and yet IS true. Just because we find our that a premise we used to originally support our faith was untrue doesn’t mean the thing our faith is in is also untrue (in fact, if you’d like more assurance of this, you can learn more about this specific type of logical fallacy).