Wednesday, 11 October 2017

A question of faith of fear




Is faith the result of fear of the consequences if we do not have faith? Or is it somehow a self-generated product of our determination to believe without any tangible proof or evidence?

If faith is a gift or grace bestowed upon us by God; then are those with little or no faith to blame for their situation? Who takes the first step in faith? The individual or God by giving them faith to start with?

If faith could be measured … … … Jesus said if we had faith as much as a mustard seed we could perform miracles … … … if faith could be measured, and since none of us can perform miracles like those recorded in the Bible, does it imply perhaps that we do not have faith, or not enough?

Why is it that some people have faith so weak that they stumble again and again when things get rough, (and I admire their persistence in this rather than giving up), whilst others have a faith so strong that it withstands, and indeed increases, with every calamity in their lives? Is this of their own doing or are they given Divine help to maintain and increase their faith?

But let’s go back to the original question. If someone has a smidgen of faith, and closes his eyes tightly and wills himself to believe even though he does not understand fully; he just does it because of fear of “going to hell”; is his faith somehow deficient and tainted because of its motivation? Or is it just as welcome by God?

Peter had faith when he attempted to walk on water. But when his faith was soon deflected he began to sink. He had faith and courage when he withdrew his sword and hit one of those who came to arrest Jesus. But that faith soon evaporated when he denied knowing Christ a few moments later. Thomas had faith when he followed Christ for years and, like the other disciples, witnessed His many miracles. Yet he too put aside all his faith and let doubts cloud his judgement and beliefs. No doubt other disciples and followers of Jesus started with a modicum of faith which soon deserted them when the going got rough. Like those people who could not understand Jesus when He said that unless they eat His flesh and drink His blood they will not have eternal life. They soon got up and stopped following Christ.

Of course, no one has questioned the disciples original motivation when their faith led them to leave their previous life and follow Jesus just because He asked them too. Was it curiosity that led them to do so? Was it a deep rooted personal belief as they saw Him preach and perform miracles? Or was it because they feared the consequences had they decided not to follow Jesus and His teachings?

And that, I suppose is the nub of the question. One’s motivation to have faith.

If a person meets St Peter face to face at the Pearly Gates, and the records show on the Saint’s computer that this individual had faith all his life because he feared going to hell. Would the Saint let him in all the same; or send him down without a parachute?

4 comments:

  1. Good question. I don't - can't - fully understand God's decision-making process.

    My hope is that mercy is real. If I'm going to have that hope, I can't reasonably think God will smite someone for having a fear of Hell as a primary motivation for following our Lord. Or think that God will smite someone because the do have that fear.

    Either way, it's not my decision. The way I see it, trying to muscle in on God's territory is a bad idea. Besides, I've got plenty to deal with just keeping myself focused.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your thoughts, Brian. I tend to agree with you. Jesus did teach that unless we do as God wants us to we will end up in hell. So someone who wills himself to believe and have faith because his motivation is fear cannot then be punished because his faith was not freely given. Difficult questions often cross my mind.

      God bless you and yours.

      Delete
  2. DEEP thoughts, today, My Friend!
    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete

I PRAY FOR ALL WHO COMMENT HERE.

God bless you.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...