You can hope the value of a stock will rise, but when you invest money in that stock, your hope becomes faith.
Did you make a foolish commitment?
Time will tell.
We believe the sun will rise because we’ve seen it rise day after day.
It is a repeatable observation.
We believe what we have seen.
We believe it will rise.
Belief is not faith.
Belief is rational.
Faith is irrational.
Belief is based on evidence.
Faith is based on hope.
This is where it gets tricky.
When our hope compels us to action, our faith is made evident.
Not just to others, but to ourselves.
Without action, our hope is just wishful thinking.
Faith is hope that has written its name in the wet cement of time.
Faith is that realm where actions speak louder than words.
Like I said, this is where it gets tricky.
One thousand and twenty years ago – 1095 to be exact – Pope Urban II decided that christians should reclaim all the geography related to the life of Jesus. In 1291, that idea was abandoned with the fall of Acre, the last christian stronghold in Israel.
You’ll notice that I’m spelling christian with a lower-case c. This is because I believe those actions taken in the name of Christ were not, in fact, sanctioned by him. In essence, the leaders of christianity were signing his name to checks he did not write.
Sadly, leaders of movements tend to do this.
It would be easy to declare – as many have done – that faith is foolish and evil and the world would be better off without it. Heck, John Lennon’s most popular song, “Imagine,” is that very idea set to music.
Imagine there’s no heaven.
It’s easy if you try.
No hell below us,
Above us, only sky.
Imagine all the people
Living for today.
Imagine there’s no countries.
It isn’t hard to do.
Nothing to kill or die for.
And no religion, too.
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…”
Juergen Todenhoefer is an international journalist who interviewed a leader within ISIS after 300 of their fighters took the Iraqi city of Mosul, even though more than 20,000 Iraqi army soldiers were stationed there when that attack was launched.
So you also want to come to Europe?” Todenhoefer asked him.
“It is not a question of if we will conquer Europe,” the man said, “just a matter of when that will happen. But it is certain … For us, there is no such thing as borders. There are only front lines. Our expansion will be perpetual … And the Europeans need to know that when we come, it will not be in a nice way. It will be with our weapons. And those who do not convert to Islam or pay the Islamic tax will be killed.”
“What about the 150 million Shia, what if they refuse to convert?” Todenhoefer asked.
“150 million, 200 million or 500 million, it does not matter to us,” the fighter answered. “We will kill them all.”
Have you ever wondered how 2 Christians can read the same Bible and walk away with entirely different understandings of what they have read? Well, the same is true of Moslems and the Koran, I think.
John Steinbeck may have been thinking the very thoughts of God when he wrote,
[The reader of my book] is just like me, no stranger at all. He’ll take from my book what he can bring to it. The dull witted will get dullness and the brilliant may find things in my book I didn’t know were there. And just as he is like me, I hope my book is enough like him so that he may find in it interest and recognition and some beauty as one finds in a friend.”
Each of us takes from ancient scripture what we bring to it.
Angry persons find an angry god.
Demanding persons find a demanding god.
Forgiving persons find a forgiving god.
Happy persons find a happy god.
Peaceful persons find a peaceful god.
You will notice that I haven’t suggested an answer to the problem of ISIS aggression. This is because I don’t have one. I’m just saying that faith is not the problem.
Roy H. Williams
* In the interest of journalistic disclosure, I feel that I should tell you that I am a person of faith. Doubtless, this affects my opinions and beliefs. I do not pretend to be objective. But then again, neither should you. Can we still be friends?