Archive for May, 2012

Christian Belief as against Christian Faith

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

One of the deepest problems in understanding real Christianity as opposed to pseudo Christianity is in the need to know the difference between belief and faith. This is an interesting problem because when we use the words belief and faith we tend to assign them different meanings but this is not the case in scripture. By this I mean that the word that is translated as belief and the word that is translated as faith is the same word in the Greek – Πίστος. We tend to consider belief as the giving intellectual assent to a proposition where as faith is the need to put that assent to the test. We can vacillate between two opinions and when pressed believe one to be true, but if we have to put our life on the line between the two opinions we might prefer not to put our faith in our belief. Galileo was an example of this, he believed the world to be round, but he chose not to die for his belief, instead he put his faith in something other than in his belief.

What does this tell us about Christianity? Just this! Many people call themselves to be Christians, that is they claim to believe that Jesus is the son of God, but come the testing, where they need to put their belief to the test, in other words have faith, they fail. Christians generally behave like all other people, they have their little failings, their secret sins, or their very big loud obvious ones. To get around the obvious lack of faith in God that this indicates the Church surmounts this by a sleight of hand. It has a belief that says nobody can be perfect, we are all sinners and must remain so until the day we die. In other words they reveal that they do not live by faith in God, for anyone who is truly trusting in God for their life , their purpose and their direction cannot sin, for they live by faith. But a man who says he cannot keep from sin is not a Christian, but a sinner.

Now this is where belief and faith seems to be at odds, but are they really? On the one hand a man says he believes in God, but remains unfaithful – a sinner. But what he believes in isn't God, but rather he believes in his own concept of God, for he doesn't put his faith in God but in his understanding of God. He understands that he cannot stop sinning and that God understands this. But this is not true. This is not what being a Christian entails. A true Christian is one who imitates Christ. Jesus had perfect faith in the Father, even unto death on the cross. Jesus did not believe He had to keep on sinning, the idea didn't enter His mind, and scripture tells us we have 'the mind of Christ'. So then if we have the mind of Christ, and He didn't consider sin an option, how can a Christian, one who believes in Him and loves and follows Him even unto death, do otherwise?

So what I am saying is our language has created a seeming distinction between belief and faith, but in a way it hasn't. The confusion is truly our confusion as to what we actually believe. We delude ourselves in the true nature of our belief. We believe we believe one thing but in truth we believe in something else. A man says he is a Christian who believes in God, but because he doesn't live by that belief – that is keep from sin – he reveals that he doesn't believe in God, but in a concept of God – in other words a false God. So our conundrum of distinguishing belief from faith gives us a sophisticated ability to lie.