Believing in God is not Faith

Does Christianity have to be true for you to believe it?

For most Christians, the answer is obviously yes. If Jesus wasn't the son of God, if he wasn't sent to us by God, and if he wasn't sacrificed for our sins by God, then there is no reason to believe. Even Paul said that without Christ's resurrection, our faith is useless.

But there are some who would say that it all depends on how you define truth. Since most people would define it as that which corresponds with reality or facts, the initial question really means does Christianity have to be historically evidenced for you to believe it?

Most will still say yes, but some will say no. For them, truth might be defined by whatever works. Meaning that belief in God only needs to bring them closer to him for it to be true. Or truth might be whatever is coherent with their set of beliefs. In these cases, Christianity isn't any less true, it just doesn't need to be factual.

If that sounds completely incongruous with the Bible, it's not any more so than requiring facts. Based on the correspondence theory we all blindly accept, miracles aren't congruent because they don't correspond with reality. Seas aren't parted every so often, people don't walk on water to get to work, and they certainly aren't raised from the dead on a daily basis. You can say that these things happened, but that doesn't make them facts because facts are based on reality and the reality is miracles can't happen apart from divine intervention.

This is what happens when we're the ones defining truth. When we're the ones saying truth is whatever's factual, whatever works, whatever's coherent, we're trying to understand our existence in a way that doesn't require God--that doesn't require a relationship beyond ourselves. And to say that truth is dependent on how a created reality is perceived by a created being is to exalt the creation over the creator.

To the contrary, truth isn't anything that we can define or manipulate; truth is Jesus Christ. It's not based on perception, pragmatism, or principle; in fact, it's not based on anything at all because truth is a person. If it emanated from anything less than divine (like our definitions), it would become marred with the malleability of finitude and cease to be truth. For truth to be truth, it has to be truth. And there's only one thing that is because it is: the being self-identified as I am that I am.

When we forget this, faith suffers. Instead of trusting in the person of truth, we trust in our own conceptions of truth. And our default theory will force us to accept that we can't have faith without facts. It's not enough for Christianity to be truth because God said so, we need historical evidence and archaeological findings to believe. Pretty soon, our faith looks less like a relationship and more like an exam.

We start to quantify it based on what we know about God. God exists, check. Jesus Christ is God, check. Jesus Christ died for my sins, check. We delude ourselves into thinking that believing these things are true is actually faith. But even demons know who God is and who Jesus Christ is. And if anyone knows more facts about God than us, it's the beings that operate on the same plane of existence as him.

I only realized this recently when I felt like I was losing my faith. Having thought my entire life that faith was my spiritual gift because I never doubted God, I got to a point where my life was falling apart and I said to him, "I know you can help me, I just don't think you want to." That's when the light went on. Faith isn't trusting that God is able; faith is trusting that God is willing.

Even the righteous Job fell into the same trap as Elihu testifies:
People cry out under a load of oppression; they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful. But no one says, "Where is God my maker, who gives songs in the night, who teaches us more than he teaches the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?" He does not answer when people cry out because of the arrogance of the wicked. Indeed, God does not listen to their empty plea; the almighty pays no attention to it. How much less, then, will he listen when you say that you do not see him, that your case is before him and you must wait for him, and further, that his anger never punishes and he does not take the least notice of wickedness.
No one's surprised that God doesn't listen to those who refuse to acknowledge him, but it should be a little sobering that he doesn't listen when we refuse to see his goodness. Job clearly recognized that God was there, which should have put him a step above the godless pagans, but Elihu makes no such distinction. The godless are arrogant in what they accept as truth, and we're no different if we don't trust that God is truth and truth is just.

The writer of Hebrews describes it this way: "Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." True faith trusts that God is working for our good even when we can't see it, not that he's merely there and we can't see him. Facts shift our focus away from God to our perceptions, and our fallen perceptions in this fallen world will always tell us that he's capricious. Because it's easy to believe in God. But it's not easy to suffer and believe that God is good.

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