The Nature of Belief

There was a time when “I believe” as a ceremonial declaration of faith meant, and was heard as meaning: “Given the reality of God, as a fact of the universe, I hereby proclaim that I align my life accordingly, pledging love and loyalty.”  A statement about a person’s believing has now come to mean, rather, something of this sort: “Given the uncertainty of God, as a fact of modern life, so-and-so reports that the idea of God is part of the furniture of his mind.” — Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Faith and Belief

Until the 17th century, the latter definition wasn’t even an option.  Now, in the 21st, the former has all but vanished.  But if that’s the case, then the acceptance of a proposition as true was never in the biblical authors’ minds when they wrote.

Love, loyalty, and alignment of life…  What if that were what we all meant by belief in God?


2 responses

  1. What if…choosing to believe in something and becoming attached to that choice, kept new information from being revealed to you from the source. What if God is constantly changing and sending new information to those who are staying open to receive it?

    April 19, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    • Since God, by his own admission (Malachi 3:6), doesn’t change, I’m not overly worried about that.

      But what about you? Does it make you anxious or feel perhaps like you might miss something if you make a definitive choice?

      April 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm

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