believe without a reason

I was listening to the Michael W Smith song “Missing Person today, and I was struck by the line:

And like a child he would believe without a reason

I find this more than just a little bit annoying. Firstly, its a misuse of what Jesus says in Matthew about “becoming like a child”.

This means to unlearn everything the world has taught you to value, and to relearn how to live in the kingdom of God.

Secondly, How can you “believe without a reason”? There is no possible way you can believe something without a reason. At the very least, you believe something because someone you trusted told you something. 

Its an old and very stupid thing that Christians, particularly evangelicals, hold on to. I can remember many Pastors preaching this. “Just believe like a chid” – WELL WRONG. Children believe like children, but then they grow up.

Christians do not, and should not “believe without a reason” – just like when you are at school, or anywhere else for that matter, if someone tells you something, or teaches you something, you dont “just believe it” – you take it with a grain of salt, and you go away and find out, or get a second opinion, consult an expert.

 

No, friends, there is no such thing as “believe without a reason” – and it marrs what would is otherwise a cool song (and Christianity!)

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3 Replies to “believe without a reason”

  1. Among the more curious facts about biblical Christianity arises from the fact that, although often ignored by the church, in Jesus’ time was there were no Christians. Therefore, no one within the sound of Jesus’ voice could have been raised a Christian. After all, Jesus was Jewish. Furthermore, depending on how one wishes to view things, Jesus may not have been a very good Jew! The biblical Pharisees certainly thought Jesus less than pious.

    At the same time, for all practical purposes, Jesus’ principal audiences were likewise Jewish. Not only that, according to the standards of the day, they were adults. In other words, unlike Socrates some three hundred years earlier, Jesus wasn’t corrupting youth of a city. Instead, Jesus was subverting adults in a whole country. Simply put in the parlance of white supremacist bigots, Jesus was a AGITATOR. Most likely, that’s why both secular and religious authorities of the day wanted Jesus dead and forgotten.

    Looking at things from Jesus’ perspective: How does one get adults to rethink their suppositions of life? One good way might be to encourage potential adherents to go back to the beginning and start all over again. In fact, Jesus is quoted as saying in John 3:7, “Ye [you] must be born again.” Previously, in John 3:6, Jesus offered a contrast between physical and spiritual birth. A verse later, he notes the whimsical nature of life after spiritual birth.

    Now, fast forward to the 21st century. A good many Christians accepted the faith of their parents. In researching the faith of their ancestors, it is not uncommon for church members to be unable to find non-Christians in their direct lineage as far back as they can trace. Consequently, unlike the Hebrews in Jesus’ day, there is nothing for them to unlearn in order to follow Jesus. They just followed the pack to church without having to think too much about it.

    Writing a generation after Jesus walked this earth, Paul addresses the issue of inherited faith. In I Corinthians 13:11 he observes, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

    Anyone who has spent any time around children is all too aware that one factor in their immaturity is a self-centered nature. Quite often, they seem to think the world revolves around them. Among the evidences of maturity is a capacity to get beyond a world of me, my, and mine. Other elements include compassion, empathy, and the ability to accept responsibility. It involves getting past childish ideas.

    At the same time, children can be incredibly gullible. Having relatively few life experiences with which to compare information they’re fed, they tend to believe anything they’re told.

    One principal difficulty in churches is too many Christians confuse being naive with having faith. Having never had to come to grips with the horrors of life resulting in, for example moral injury (PTSD absent medically definable causality), they retain a childlike attitude. All too often it is because life has simply come a little too easy for these perennial pew sitters. Moreover, being smug and complacent, they lack empathy for those whose pathway in life includes a sojourn or two through hell.

    In considering the chorus of “Missing Person,” it becomes obvious that the author is on a journey of not self-discovery, but self-rediscovery. “There was a boy who had the faith to move a mountain.” However, because “like a child he would believe without a reason,” his faith was without a solid foundation. It was, as might be inferred from Matthew 7:26, a house of faith built upon sand.

    Then, as pointed out in Matthew 7:25, “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house [of faith built upon the sand], and it fell with a great crash.”

    Consequently, as the “Missing Person” lyrics author(s) note, the boy’s faith “Without a trace he disappeared into the void” like a boards scattered by a whirlwind or set adrift by the tide. Subsequently, again according to and the “Missing Person” lyrics author(s), he’s “been searchin’ for that missing person [that childlike faith]” ever since and, apparently, has been unable to find him (or her if you prefer).

    Beyond the the “Missing Person” lyrics lies a lesson for the church. There is a reason why church membership is on the wain. Too many churches were built by preachers laying foundations of sand on which members then built their houses of faith.

    Not only that, entire generations built their faith atop the first first, second, and third floors that their parent, grandparents, and great grandparents constructed. It didn’t even take a storm to topple the structure. The whole thing merely collapsed of its own weight because it was all resting on an unstable self-righteous substrata.

      1. First, let me simplify: A whole bunch of Christian need to ween themselves off right-wing pablum, grow up, get out and see the world, and acquire a decent education,.

        Second, while I’m sure which Bible you’re using, the one currently in my possession records first use of the term Christian in Acts 11:26. According to that verse, “[T]he disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” By this time, of course, Jesus was no longer numbered among humans walking this earth. The term Christian is subsequently used in Acts 26:28.

        Those adhering to Jesus’ teachings before the verses cited above may have been following Jesus, but they weren’t technically Christian since the what comes down to us through translation wasn’t used. A similar evolution occurred with the word Lutheran. While Luther preferred the term Evangelical, the appellation Lutheran stuck.

        Also, for what it’s worth, according to Acts 2:47, one could be a Jew and a follower of Christ at the same time. It was not until Gentiles became dominate within the movement that cracks in this union began to appear. This differentiation was based on understanding the personhood of Jesus and on interpretation of scripture related thereto.

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