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We can believe that something is in space – because science tells us or because we’ve seen photographs of whatever phenomena is in question, for instance.
We believe that a pilot is sufficiently competent to take control and command a plane safely to our destination.
In fact, most travelers are more concerned with getting a great deal on
their flight, on not losing any luggage, not being delayed or having their flight canceled, etc. There’s no issue of faith.
Many things we believe in – we actually take for granted. And, taking something for granted doesn’t even necessarily mean we believe in whatever it is we’re taking for granted.
The thing is, we’ve taken in our culture the word truth, to mean fact, the word faith to mean confidence, and the word believe to take something as being accurate - or real - for granted because someone in authority told us it is what it is. . . One of my least favorite lines.
Facts are subject to change. Truth is not. We usually do not live or act according to the truth, we live and act in accordance to our perception of the truth. Therefore, we can be living what is fiction rather than what the truth actually is.
Some motivational speakers will use the idea of scotomas or blind spots to suggest that when we “lock-in” to any given perception about ourselves, we automatically “lock-out” any other possible option concerning our strengths, future, dreams, competencies, skill sets, etc.
The “blocking out” if you will produces the blind spots and we dismiss or don’t even consider the many possibilities available to us for a better future and/or a better life.
Interestingly enough, the term scotoma – actually means darkness and for us, the term is a magnificent and telling word for describing how the spiritual forces descend upon us and clouds our hearts and mind from the things that God wants us to really know about ourselves and about how He really sees us.
Facts are in many cases, scotomas, blind spots limiting our perceptions and feeding us with false sensual information about reality.
It was a fact that the earth was flat and that we had nine planets orbiting around the sun in our solar system. So much for both – facts. These were facts, understood to be truth! So how can we actually confuse the two? Well, consider the role science plays in our life.
Science confirms the perceptions we live by. So, when empirical, tangible, “hard” evidence is provided for us to determine or draw conclusions on what is true, we cannot conceive of truth and fact ever being different or at odds with each other.
Fact is defined as: a thing done; the quality of being actual; a question of fact hinges on evidence; something that has actual existence; a piece of information presented as having objective reality.
Truth is permanent, it is not relative and it is not functional. Truth is not subject to our interpretations or our tests. Truth transcends the finite. Truth is not fact.
Fact may offer shadows of truth, but the two are not the same. When we argue that what is true for me, may not be true for you, we are actually putting our perceptions of truth above truth itself. We are choosing an inferior measure to determine, provide meaning and value to our lives.
Now confidence suggests another way in which we put ourselves as the measure of reality and of all things.
Confidence is defined as a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or reliance on one’s circumstances as in, “had perfect confidence in her ability to succeed”; “met the risk with brash confidence”.
In modern psychology, we could easily substitute “confidence” with EFFICACY, a word coined by Albert Bandura, a major figure in contemporary social learning psychology.
Here again, it is the confidence we have in our ability, in our knowledge and skills that sets the tone for what becomes an issue of idolatry and of removing God from the place of sovereignty over our lives and over the universe.
As in the case of fact vs. truth, where our perceptions are given the priority to determine and measure what is truth, the issue of confidence is about what another psychologist refers to as one’s attributional style, in other words, if we perceive factors as influencing us from outside ourselves – we are fatalists and if we perceive our attributional style as coming from within us – then we demonstrate confidence and the power to control, determine and alter our destiny.
So, what is faith?
I’ll begin by saying that faith without God is not faith. Faith cannot exist without God. In the absence of God, faith is superstition, an exercise in futility and absurd.
It is God who defines the measure, sets the standard and is the reason for why faith in Him is possible and for why the idea of faith exists in the first place. Faith is a supernatural term, addressing a supernatural reality and it cannot be divorced from God’s economy.
Faith does not guarantee an easy life, nor does it ensure healings, favor, and immunity from pain, hardship or sacrifice. Faith defines these realities and provides a supernatural perception so that we can begin to see the world and our lives from God’s point of view.
Faith is our having the mind of Christ.
We see with our minds, not our eyes. What we receive is light through our eyes. This light triggers a neurological process that ultimately ends in the information being perceived through our brain and interpreted there as well.
This light, therefore, is perceived not as the Truth, but as the perceived reality we’ve been led to believe is the truth.
Now, how is it that we can discern what is truth and to what degree is our perception of truth conforming to the mind of Christ?
Scripture teaches us to discern all things and to test the Spirits. Truth has an uncanny way of standing the test of time. And God has a way of revealing God’s purposes and truth to us in very real ways… only, are we willing to have our scotomas challenged as well? Are we willing to have “our way” of seeing the world provoked, challenged and “undermined” by God?