Where Has Faith Gone?
THE celebrated British journalist and editor Malcolm Muggeridge said not long ago:
“It becomes increasingly clear to me that the crisis which western civilization is going through is due essentially to a shortage of faith. . . . There is an increasing acceptance of the humanistic idea that there is no God, that people are in charge of their own destiny.”
In past years, the majority of persons would admit to having faith in God and being concerned about his will. But that has changed drastically. Many individuals now feel that the advances of science in our century have made faith in God outmoded or unrealistic. Others have noted the flourishing of wickedness and have decided that either God does not care or he does not exist. As Muggeridge observed, they believe that they must rely on themselves, making their own way in life without faith in God or in his ways.
But such persons may be missing more than faith. How so? Well, if it is established that faith is practical today, they are also missing the practical benefits that come from the having of faith.
WHAT IS SUCH FAITH?
The word “faith” is used in various ways today. For instance, you might hear someone say, ‘I have faith that my automobile will start despite the extreme temperature.’ However, in considering the question ‘Is faith practical today?’ we mean faith in God and in the value of his guidance.
Some persons who claim to have such faith are confusing it with a rather placid sentimentality, a sort of ‘faith in faith.’ They feel that it is good to believe in something, and so they have a mild emotional sense that God should exist. Such tepid faith has little effect on their life, readily evaporating when a real test occurs. So we can see why such faith is impractical.
However, the faith in God that the Bible encourages is quite different. It is “the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.”—Heb. 11:1.
The Greek word there translated “assured expectation” conveys the idea of something that underlies or guarantees what is expected. So this Biblical faith is not a mere vague feeling or an unfounded hope; real assurance is involved. The Greek word rendered “evident demonstration” has the thought of bringing forth evidence, especially evidence that demonstrates something other than what might appear to be so. Consequently, even if many persons say that there is no God, the faith in him that we are discussing is directly related to solid evidence.
Where do you stand on this? Do you have assurance, supported by convincing evidence, that God exists? Taking the matter a step further, Is it really practical to have such faith and to guide your life accordingly? So, is faith practical today?