What Does It Mean to Have Faith in God?
Why should someone have faith? What does it even mean to have faith? These are questions that are important for everyone to consider at some point in their life. Lets start by defining what is faith.
A definition of Faith, provided by the NKJV Bible:
Hebrews 11: 1-3 By Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
The bible says to have faith is to have hope for what we consider to be good. But what does it mean to be good ?
We understand that God is Good. So if we act the way God tells us to, then each of those specific rules he gives us could be called moral facts. A belief is a statement purporting some moral fact. Moral realism is the idea that we can judge a belief as to how correctly it matches a moral fact. In other words, moral realists believe that all beliefs are truth-evaluable. The compilation of beliefs into a value set that someone lives their life according to, is called ethics.
We think as good Christians, we know what are God’s moral facts. We live our lives trying to do God’s word. The truth is that even good Christians struggle from time to time to determine what’s right and wrong.
Realists endorse the idea of a moral reality; people are trying to represent God’s objective truth when they issue judgements about what is right and wrong. The disagreements that arise among realists primarily have to do with the nature of this reality.
Cognitivism is a view that says judgements are in themselves also beliefs, capable of being true or false. Under cognitivism even judgements can be judged. And those judgements can also be judged infinitely until we reach the final judge, God. Without God to answer for us we are left with the opinions of imperfect men.
The noncognitivists are those who reject cognitivism, and say judgements are not beliefs, and cannot be truth-evaluable.
Cognitivist Christians try to judge by God what is right in a given situation. For non-cognitivist Christians, mortal moral judgement is impossible.
Cognitive moral realists, however, will insist on the existence of truths regardless of our attitudes. For example, our human minds lack the ‘higher consciousness’ level cognitive abilities needed to capture the nature of moral reality. In other words, our minds may be too limited to understand the universe. With this possibility in mind, we have the basis for a master argument against moral realism:
The Argument of Faith
- To have faith is to have hope for what we believe to be good.
- What is good in any given situation is a moral fact.
- Moral realism is the idea that we can judge a belief to be good by measure of moral fact.
- If we are unable to acquire justification for a belief, then moral realism is false.
Beliefs are self-evident if they have as their content self-evident propositions. Self-evident propositions might be such that, once understood, one is justified in one’s belief, and also such that they are inferable from other propositions.
- Person A believes B only if they have a proposition C to believe B.
- Person A has proposition C to believe B.
- B cannot equal C because a proposition does not supply evidence for itself.
- Therefore, A justifiably believes B only if B is supported by a proposition other than B.
- Therefore, there are no self-evident beliefs.
We can study God, and come closer to him. We can work on our relationships with God, but no one knows the mind of God. There are no beliefs which are ‘self-evident,’ and therefore, we all must petition God individually for reconciliation of interpretations of the bible which are apparently ‘self-evident’ or ‘common sense’. Everyone is a sinner, but we are not our sins. For these reasons, our church does not pass judgement against any one person based on personal beliefs, faiths, races, genders or sexual orientation. We seek only to bring people into a closer relationship with God.
Colossians 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
So why do we need faith? We need faith because no belief is self-evident. To have faith, means to have the substance by which we improve our relationship with God.
To have faith is precisely to lose one’s mind so as to win God.Søren Kierkegaard The Sickness Unto Death (1849)