Have you ever thought about the difference between “I believe” and “I know?”
Many today prefer “I know” to “I believe.” They want to know beyond a doubt that something is “true” and they will discount any opinion that may not be able to be “proven” to their satisfaction.
But faith isn’t like that. Faith says “I believe,” and its belief isn’t dependent on empirical proof. Faith doesn’t require proof; it requires love and trust. It is like a father asking a son to jump into his arms. At that moment the son decides what he believes about his father. Will my father catch me or let me fall? If there is love and trust, the son jumps.
That’s why so many arguments about the truthfulness of the Christian faith leave me a little hollow. It seems many even within the Christian community have accepted the notion that “I know” is more powerful than “I believe.” Books have been written about how this fact proves Christianity and that fact proves Christianity. They even offer some “evidence that demands a verdict” to show beyond a doubt that Christ rose from the dead. Right now there is a team of explorers planning another trip to Mt. Ararat in Turkey to “find” Noah’s Ark. And these so-called proofs of the faith simply create more opportunities for folks to disagree over the interpretation of these same “facts.”
Do I discount the importance of this evidence? No, not at all. But while it is encouraging to see these facts brought to light, even if this “evidence” didn’t exist, I would still believe. I believe because I love and know God. In fact, much to the chagrin of many modern day “thinkers,” the ancient path to understanding and true knowledge is to believe so that I might understand.
I know this attitude toward belief and faith frustrates some who feel more comfortable with indisputable facts, but how many truly indisputable facts do you really know?
The truth is that all of us “look through a glass darkly” and much of the things we think we know are really strongly held beliefs. That’s OK. It doesn’t diminish the truth or power of those beliefs at all. It is only when we believers capitulate to the spirit of the age – “unless I can see it I won’t believe it” – that we give up the most powerful proof of all, our faith.
It was in the arena where the martyrs for our faith proved to the world that what they believed was more important than their own comfort and safety – that their hope of eternity took priority over the beasts they could see and feel.
What is our belief based on? What is the foundation of our belief?
Is it the Scriptures, perhaps? Maybe, but what about the myriad of interpretations about the meaning of the Scriptures? Is it tradition? That would be fine, but which tradition?
No, our faith is based not on ideas, like the other world religions, but on a Person Who said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…” Our faith is centered on and focused on Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith.
That’s why the Creed we recite each week at Liturgy is called “The Symbol of Faith.” The Creed accurately reflects the Face of Jesus Christ back to us. The Creed (the word itself means “I believe”) is the embodiment of what we hold to be true and what we declare as the foundation of our lives and our actions. This Creed helps us make visible what we believe about Jesus Christ and His Church.
"I believe" is actually more powerful than "I know..."
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