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A question of faith...
Apr 16, 1998

I've got a question, more perhaps an enigma. How can faith be valid? For faith to be valid, then it must always be true, otherwise one cannot have faith. If faith is trust without question, then one must have 'faith' that they are somehow guided by a higher power toward true faith and thus the righteous path. This brings up a problem. Suppose there are two equally spiritual men, both committed to their god and their faith. Both practice religions that claim to be the only way to truth, heaven etc. The catch is that they do not worship the same god. Now, if both are equal in all ways and their religions, though based on different gods, are equal in all ways, then one (perhaps both) of them has faith that is not valid. This means one can not trust faith for one must always doubt. If one can not trust faith, then the foundations of everything I was taught as a child come tumbling down. I have yet to get a learned answer to this question; one in which things that are based on faith are not used to support the argument for faith. Perhaps it is impossible, but if so, then I can't justify faith for there is no argument which is not self based upon which to rest. I can not trust my own judgement because there is no way to know which man I am, the right one or the wrong one.

Response from Rev. Pieters

I question your definition of faith as "trust without question."

I believe doubt is very much a part of faith. Without examining and questioning our faith, it is impossible for our faith to grow. Even Jesus questioned God. I am not afraid of addressing my questions to God. To me, discussing perplexing faith issues (which can include doubt) with God or with other people is one of the important building blocks of my faith. My faith is stronger because of all that questioning.

You seem to feel that everything is either black or white, but there are many shades of gray. Is there really only one truth for all people? I am one who believes that there are different truths for different people in different times. The Apostle Paul stated in I Timothy 2: 11-12 that women are to be silent, and have no authority over men. For Paul, a man of the first century, and for many generations after, this attitude towards women was considered "the truth." And yet in today's society there are large numbers of men and women who feel that women should be heard in all their diverse and voices, including in authority over men and other women. "The truth" can change.

In addressing the question of two people with different faiths, I am one who believes that there are many different ways of believing and a variety of paths to salvation. The faith of a Hindu person or a Muslim or a Jew is just as valid and valuable as the faith of a Christian. I respect diversity, because I feel God is diverse, and is experienced in many different ways around the world and throughout time.

I pray that you may open your heart to the doubts and questions of faith, and the diversity of the experience of faith.



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