...then do you really believe?

"I have no choice but to accept his truth."

This was posted on another thread, but it seems to me that it misses the point.

Start from the assumption that God gave man free will to do as he pleased--to either heed his word in thought and deed or to reject it.

I would think that faith, then, requires a concious decision. If you have no choice in the matter, can you actually call it faith? An inevitability does not require faith, only acknowledgment--which is substantially less rigrorous.

What say you?

You can call it belief if you want, or faith, or acknowledgement. It doesn't really matter to me what it is called. I would say that there is a certain amount of faith required to believe my experiences are connected with Jesus, or to believe they are not just delusions, or schizophrenia, but in all honest most of the "evidence" doesn't support those theories.

the rev

also, the fact that I accept God's existence doesn't mean I would choose to follow Him.

the rev

if you dont mind i think the confussion lays in the word definitions.

take a chair for example.

i can acknowledge that i could sit in the chair if you tell me i can. i dont have to believe i can sit in the chair or demonstrate i have faith i can sit in the chair.


i can believe i can sit in the chair with out demonstrating i have faith i can sit in the chair. but to believe i can sit in the chair i would have to acknowledge i can sit in the chair.

I demonstrate i have faith i can sit in the chair when i actually attempt to sit in the chair!

all three are willful choices. and all three are seperate choices.

Reverend John,

I think your second post was the most salient point here.

Kempowrestler, I understand what you are trying to say, but not sure if I agree with you--can we truly argue about the existence of the chair?

On the other hand, that may be beyond the scope of the question as I phrased it.

Merry...

okay another analogy then...

LEt's say you are looking for a girlfriend.

i email you and tell you that there is an amazing single girl out here that would be perfect for you.

you can acknowledge my email with another email stating you believe there is a great girl out here but youre not sure if she'd be right for you.

however you would demonstrate faith in what i told you about the girl by getting in your car and driving up here to meet her.

I think it would be better to start from the assumption that there is no "individual" that is seperate from God.

What would happen then (besides knuckleheads saying silly things like "there is no existence", haha!)?

SCRAP

"however you would demonstrate faith in what i told you about the girl by getting in your car and driving up here to meet her."

Yes, but I have a choice here--to believe you or not to believe - Which is precisely my point. If I had NO choice, can I actually call it faith?

"What would happen then"

What would happen?

I wonder how much truth there is to it. We have our existance within God? Is that what you mean? Or everything is God? If the universe ceased to exist would that creative force cease too?

Merry...Well I would take the state i have no choice but to believe 2 ways...

1 - kind of like if a guy stuck a gun to my head and said give me all your money i really dont have a choice but to give him the twelve dollars and 13 cents i have to my name. since the only logical choice is to give the money or get shot there really isn't a choice.
or as to say given all reasonable conclussions the only possible choice that makes sense with in the realm of faith and belief is to believe in God.


2 - one day we will all absolutely believe God exsists when we see Christ coming on the Clouds as the Trumpet sounds.

"since the only logical choice is to give the money or get shot there really isn't a choice."

This is Voltaire's argument for believing in God. It does you no particular harm and prevents rather nasty things from happening to you. "Faith as insurance" is a fairly weak argument, IMO. It's hardly faith. It's cynicism at its worst.

"given all reasonable conclussions the only possible choice that makes sense with in the realm of faith and belief is to believe in God."

This statement presupposes faith-- you state that within the realm of faith. I'm discussing how you even enter that realm. What qualifies as faith?

"one day we will all absolutely believe God exsists when we see Christ coming on the Clouds as the Trumpet sounds."

Which does us absolutely no good in the mean time.

I would also argue that you don't have faith in something that is empirically demonstrated. There is no need to believe.

I hold to the argument that faith is a choice a person makes. That is what the ultimate purpose of free will is--to believe in God or not to believe in God. That is why (if you begin from the premise that God exists) you have free will in the first place--to make that choice. You can't force faith. You have to choose.

"I would also argue that you don't have faith in something that is empirically demonstrated. There is no need to believe.

I hold to the argument that faith is a choice a person makes. That is what the ultimate purpose of free will is--to believe in God or not to believe in God. That is why (if you begin from the premise that God exists) you have free will in the first place--to make that choice. You can't force faith. You have to choose. "

But Faith isn't Blind. Faith isn't something you have to just give when you please. it is something that is created like trust! and I agree Faith is a choice a person makes.


"This statement presupposes faith-- you state that within the realm of faith. I'm discussing how you even enter that realm. What qualifies as faith?"

Well that would be the definition of what i understand faith to be: the outward demonstration of the belief in something. I have faith in a chairs ability to hold me . and that is something i believe! but i have faith in a chair being able to hold me so i sit on it.

It is also important to understand that everything relies on Faith! the simple proof of this follows:

(i know its been used a million times but its truthful) take a piece of paper and a pen. The piece of paper represents all the is 100% undeniable truth. using the pen make a dot representing all the things that you know are 100% undeniable true. at best the most intellectual mind would only dare cover what maybe 10-15%. now my arguement is, if you cover one area suggesting that you know 100% beyond any proof that it is truth. but leave other areas uncovered because you dont know if they are true or not, how can a person be sure that what they covered as 100% truth be in fact 100% truth? they can't. so even the most basic premise that we understand is still based on an element of faith!

the other arguement is even simpler in mind and that is if we have the ability to choose, can anything possible be true other then humans being created with the ability to choose? if humans evolved that would mean we are simple pieces of a larger mechanism and our choices aren't choices at all but the only possible outcome of a given situation. IE humans are parasitic and reproduce out of a natural habit to continue, or humans, murder out a natural form of size control. etc. etc. so the fact that we can or can not make up our "choice" or "will" is in my mind an obvious proof of the Exsistance in a Creator.

So we evolved and not created. Why are we the only ones to have evolved into intelligent creatures? Surely the conditions that allowed humans to evolve existed for other animals as well. So we're lucky right? Evolution is not free will, but an adaptation. We did not choose to evolve, but did anyhow?

Faith is a gift from God.

Philippians 1:29.
"For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake. This teaches that suffering for Christ is a gift, along with believing in Him. Both are gifts, and both are from God."

Acts 18:27. In talking about the ministry of Apollos, Luke tells us that he was a great help to those who had believed through grace. It doesn't say that they believed in grace, but rather through grace. Grace enabled them to believe. So again, faith, or belief, is a gift."

Ephesians 2:8-9. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God not of work lest anyone should boast."

Now someone might say that this means we really aren't exercising faith, that it becomes a sort of charade...I dont believe this is the case. Things can be a gift and yet still ours.

Let me provide an example from the physical world that goes with this. When a young boy hits adolescence, his mind is filled all of a sudden, with sexual desire.

That desire is sure his, it doesn't belong to the guy sitting on the school bus next to him. Prior to this, he had not commanded his body to change...it just happens. The body fills with testostorone, and the mind with desire. These desires belong to us...and God made the body to work this way. So if he can give physical gift's like this, I don't see why he couldn't give faith.



JoshuaB if your inturpretation is true then everyone would 'grow' into faith. but not everyone has faith. also the ephesians 2 passage is very obvious that the grace is what saves us not the faith! but the Grace only saves those who have faith! much like a parachute can't safely land someone on the ground unless they have faith that the parachute will work and jump out of plane!

I dont think God ever meant for "everyone" to grow into faith. The bible is also clear about that.

Check Romans 11:7-8
7What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, 8as it is written:
"God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes so that they could not see
and ears so that they could not hear,
to this very day." 9And David says:
"May their table become a snare and a trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
10May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
and their backs be bent forever."

Now the reason that I say faith is a gift from God...and not a work..is because a work is something that merits praise or blame. If we are saved by Grace through faith, then we can rightly call faith a work, if its somethign we choose to do, if its a gift, which I believe, we by having it merit no praise or blame, its a gift.

hope this helps to explain.

JoshuaB you putting a preconcieved concept into this. you are saying choosing something is a work! but scripture clearly shows that works and faith are seperate things but rely on each other.

We are saved by Grace! faith is the acceptance of Grace!

If you owed a million dollars debt. and i offered to pay off your debt. and you accept you have done nothing, or not done any 'work' to pay off your debt. I have. Just as Christ has done all the work to pay off our debt of sin! The concept of works for salvation is not a matter of acceptance or faith, but of a person justifying themselves which we know is impossible cause the sacrifice for sin had to be perfect which we are not!

"Well that would be the definition of what i understand faith to be: the outward demonstration of the belief in something. I have faith in a chairs ability to hold me . and that is something i believe! but i have faith in a chair being able to hold me so i sit on it."

I disagree entirely. You have empirical knowledge in the ability of the chair to hold you...because it has a thousand times before. It's rather like the sun coming up--you don't have FAITH that it will come up, it's just that it has every other day in your life, so you've come to expect it. You have no reason to expect otherwise.

God is different. You don't have empirical knowledge of his existence. So you have to make a choice to believe or not to believe. And choosing to believe requires faith because you can never, in your lifetime (provided we are not at end times), be empirically certain that God exists in the way that you are empirically certain that the chair will hold you.

I mean, if God and I just had a pleasant cup of tea together and he summoned up a few angels to play a string quartet as mountains floated lazily by in the background, oh and he'll be round again next Tuesday for a bit of cheese and some liniment, I don't think my knowledge that he existed would require faith at that point.

faith is the acceptance of Grace.

I agree. But you cant accept that without God wanting you to first. He chose you....you didn't chose him. Thats what the bible teaches. Thats what Grace is...because of nothing found in you...before time God according to his own purpose saw that you wanted to be called toward him and so he chose you. He chose the fact you would have faith in him.