Why is faith different?

chron

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Then perhaps one could reason that maybe faith doesn't need to rest on historical fact?

An interesting concept, and one that has been explored.

You mentioned the possibility and likely unpopularity of alternative explanations for the resurrection.

Here's one that was put forth some years ago as a very serious alternative. It was intended to do what you describe: make the truth of the Christian religion palatable to those who cannot stomach the magical, superstitious aspects of being asked to believe that someone rose from the dead.

The idea is that Peter, crushed after his denial of his lord and best friend, went into the wilderness to commiserate with himself, perhaps (who knows, but this is a fictional, what-if narrative) to do himself in, as Judas did. As he stirred about in his anguish, he prayed, and prayed hard. He eventually came to realize that God, the heavenly father that his friend, Jesus talked about so fervently, did, indeed, love him, and even forgive him, in spite of the heinous act he committed.

This dawning epiphany was like new life to Peter. It was as though Jesus had somehow come alive in his heart.

He returned with the good news that God forgives even the greatest sins, and joyously shared with the other disciples and followers. They were stunned by the change in their friend, for whom they had feared, seeing as he went into hiding in such a morose and distraught state that he might even take his own life.

What to do? How to explain this? They asked Peter, who told them he had had a revelation from God. The author of this account supposes Peter saying something like this:

"It -- it's almost as though the Lord came alive again, right there in my heart."

The times being what they were, and the followers of Jesus being used to miracles and all, it was just a hop, skip, and a jump from this statement to "The Lord has risen! He is alive!"

Peter didn't have the heart to tell them otherwise. Perhaps he was even convinced himself, eventually. But he saw that God was using this idea to give hope where none was to be found otherwise, and who was he to stop the word of God from propagating just because of a simple misunderstanding?

~ ~ ~

Now, Salty (if I may call you that), does that invalidate the Christian religion?

Not at all. In fact, it's one beautiful possibility, IMHO.

So, if historical truth isn't needed for faith, then what?

It doesn't matter what you believe, right? As long as you're sincere?

Is that where we are led?

I must off to work in a bit, so you will likely not hear from me again for another ten hours or so.

Thanks for your insightful comments.
 

cyberpi

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Well, the idea of faith to having to do only with people is overly restrictive. I'm using the word as it is commonly used. People regularly express faith in chairs and ideas. People have faith in visions. Steve Jobs at Apple, Inc. and Bill Gates at Microsoft are two tech-industry pioneers who had faith in their visions of what could be.

I think it's silly to say that definitions that don't fit with my conceptualization of what a word "should" mean are wrong.
If you place faith in an object then you are cruisin for a bruisin. If you do NOT place faith in a person, then you are cruisin for a bruisin. Polar opposites. But, if you see faith as a matter of controlling rather than giving control, then... if you control a person (rather that it being their will), then you are cruisin for a bruisin, and if you do NOT have control of the chair then you are cruisin for a bruisin. Again, polar opposites. I generalize, but there is a key and polar difference.

I may be silly, but whose definition should I learn and use: someone who does not see God, or someone who does?
 

chron

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I may be silly, but whose definition should I learn and use: someone who does not see God, or someone who does?

Is it possible that your definition of faith may not be the only one that is valid?

Can you learn from how others define faith? Or are you closed to the opportunity that awaits those who are open to exploring the many ways that God and humans express faith?

For a biblical example of faith in a thing:

Why should I fear when evil days come,
when wicked deceivers surround me—those who trust in their wealth
and boast of their great riches? (Psalm 49:5-6)

Granted, the bible isn't endorsing this type of trust, it is doing the opposite. But it is undeniable that the bible here indicates that faith in a thing (wealth, in this case) is possible.
 

cyberpi

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Is it possible that your definition of faith may not be the only one that is valid?
The word is just a word. The real thing is without doubt because if you place faith in me then it is per your will and per my will and if I place faith in you then it is per my will and per your will. Words are just a medium to communicate. There may be miscommunication but even people who speak different languages can find agreement and have faith in each other.

Can you learn from how others define faith?
I think everything I have learned came from someone. Does that answer the question?

Or are you closed to the opportunity that awaits those who are open to exploring the many ways that God and humans express faith?
With your definition of faith in a thing rather than a person, I am closed to the blind gambling with many things and I am also constrained with a number of agreements with other people. So experimenting with drugs for instance is out of the question.
 
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