Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Childlike Faith or No You Can't Believe Anything You Want!

Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them and went away. (Mt. 19:13-15)

When I was a child I did what I was told. I had two loving parents who taught me right from wrong. They took an interest in my development especially when it came to my education.  I was expected to learn from my teachers. And I did learn from my teachers. I learned that 2+2=4. I learned many other equations and as I advance in my grades these equations became more complex. But nonetheless, 2+2=4. It does not equal 22 or 35 or 59. There can only be one right equation.

Now that I am an adult I find that I should still be a student. I look for articles and read them with the hopes of advancing my understanding of theology, the discipline of my chosen profession. After all, the word, 'disciple', means student. Now a funny thing has happened to us grown ups. We forget there is only one right answer. So we begin to argue among ourselves. And our arguments never succeed because each one of us thinks we are right forgetting that each one of sees through a glass dimly. It's as if we somehow believe 2+2 can somehow be 4 or 9 or 36 or maybe 128,649. It's all just an opinion, right? Try telling that to your third grade teacher. Or the teller at your bank when arguing that the reason you are overdrawn is because when you added up the numbers in your checkbook they came out to show there was plenty of money in the bank. Who's going to be right? Theology is no different. It is the Queen of the Sciences according to Thomas Aquinas. Yet we differ on essential doctrine.

In logic there is something called The Law of Non-Contradiction. What this means is that two mutually exclusive statement cannot be true at the same time. For instance, A is B and A is not B both cannot be true. One or the other is true. But often when we stake a position regarding God, each person argues without acknowledging that contradictions need to be addressed. Both contradictory statements need to be examined to see which is true. So how is this done?

The first case in human history where the law of non-contradiction was ignored was in the Garden of Eden. God said, "If you eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, you will die." Then the serpent says, "No you won't die!" (Gn. 3:4) Eve did not say, "Let me check with the creator on that." She did not go to the source of truth, God, and seek an answer. Probably because the fruit was a delight to her eyes. (Gn. 3:6) In other words she trusted herself too much. And then things got worse after that. The point is, when it comes to being a disciple of Jesus, we need to be humble in our learning not trusting ourselves but God alone and his word. We need to understand that none of us have all the answers but the Bible does. Like children, we must understand that there is a right answer and the teacher, Jesus Himself, has it. If there are differing opinions, well, they all can't be true! and so, with the humility of a student, let us seek the truth because we cannot believe anything we want. Even Jesus lovingly called his disciples children! (Mk. 10:24, Lk. 10:21)