Everybody Lives By Faith

Steven - Portland, Oregon
Entered on February 17, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65
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Many people believe that because Webster’s dictionary defines Faith as, “a firm belief in something for which there is no proof,” it should be reserved for simple-minded, wishful thinkers. However, I ask, is there an area of life which does not require the exercise of faith? Faith is not a “church” word reserved only for the religious minded. It is essential to religion, because it is essential to life. Every action we make requires faith to a greater or lesser degree. Samuel Butler (1612-1680) once stated, “You can do very little with faith, but you can do nothing without it.”

It is never a question of having faith or not having faith; instead the question is, “In whom or in what do you put your faith?”

Every simple action we do such as sitting in a chair or turning on a light requires a certain degree of faith. Upon entering a room, one does not usually inspect the furniture be­fore sitting, but will accept by faith the ability of a chair to support his weight. It is faith which compels one to flip the light switch upon entering a darkened room. Would one even bother to flip the switch if he did not believe it would turn on the light? We also exercise faith daily when we trust our basic senses such as touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. Can you imagine what life might be like if we were not able to trust the information received from these senses?

Two major studies accepted unquestionably by faith are modern science and mathematics. It was faith in reason and natural law that gave birth to modern science during the Age of Enlightenment . Reason, natural law, and progress were key words in the vocabulary during eighteenth century. Man believed in an orderly, created universe, and that by using reason, man could discover the natural laws which regulate existence. Tyron Edwards (1809-1894), once stated, “Science has sometimes been said to be opposed to faith, and inconsistent with it, but all science, in fact, rests on the basis of faith, for it assumes the permanence and uni-formity of natural laws – a thing which can never be demonstrated.” Renowned botanist Asa Gray (1810-1888) supported this idea when he claimed, “Faith in order, which is the basis of science, cannot reasonably be separated from faith in an ordainer, which is the basis of religion.”

Every mathematical equation and proof ever written is based upon faith. Faith that the axioms, which were used in proving the theorems were true. In a basic college algebra textbook entitled, Elementary Algebra for the College Student, by John C. Knutson and James V. Rogers, the following assertion is made, “In mathematics we make assumptions about the elements of a set, properties of the elements, and properties of the operations on the elements of the set. We call these assumptions, ‘axioms’. They are simply statements about the mathematical system that we assume to be true.” (By definition, an assumption is a proposition that is taken for granted, as if it were known to be true.) Without question: All mathematical proofs are ultimately based upon faith assumptions or axioms.

Is faith really reserved for the simple minded? If our simplest actions are based upon faith, and faith is a necessary element to our growth and understanding of modern science and mathematics, should it seem strange to think that God requires us to respond to Him in a very similar way?

“Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever comes to Him must believe that he exists and that He rewards those who diligently search for Him.” – Hebrews 11:6 The Holy Bible

If the faith we have in anything does not compel us to act, then it is “dead faith”. If I do not have faith in an orderly universe, my ability to do scientific research will cease. If I choose not to believe the foundational axioms of mathematics, I will never learn algebra, calculus or be able to perform even the simplest mathematical functions. In the same way, the Holy Bible teaches faith is the only way by which we can approach or please God. If I desire to know anything of God, I must first accept by faith the foundational “axiom” that God exists. Building upon that foundation, I have the promise from the Bible that God will “rewards those who diligently seek Him”.

Faith is for everyone, and everyone exercises faith. In whom or in what do you put your faith?