Putting flesh on faith
Atheism has a point, especially when church folk don’t act on their beliefs
There is good evidence to support the argument that a majority of us decide to believe what we do because we inherited that faith matrix from our parents or community.
The argument that Lutherans tend to believe what they do because they were born into Christian families has some credibility. The same can be said of Roman Catholics or Southern Baptists or Mormons or Muslims.
A British atheist, Richard Dawkins, makes this argument in his new book, The God Delusion. The Oxford University professor is convinced that beliefs about God are accidentally embraced. Since we dont know anything else, we believe what we were taught. He would espouse Socrates dictum: the unexamined life is not worth living.
Dawkins is pretty sure that, when we ask the hard questions, we are most likely to end up denying the reality of God. There is, he argues, too much evidence to the contrary.
Some of us who have followed Socrates advice have made the opposite discovery. I had a college religion professor who liked to answer the challenge, What evidence is there, really, for a god? by replying serenely, Explain the existence of the universe.
Religious faith is at its best and deepest, however, not a matter of intellectual certitude. Its more about changing lives. If what I believe does nobody any good, then its not worth much. Far more people are brought to saving faith when they experience the wholesome faith of others in the flesh — that is, alive and active in a persons life. (Some faith does not lead to wholesome outcomes. Consider, for example, the religious belief that God wants his followers to take revenge in his name, a tenet espoused by some in every age.)
I suspect the Eternal One had more in mind than casual intervention when Jesus was sent to live among us. What we received was Gods faith in us — made flesh.
What we believe makes no difference in Gods world unless and until we put flesh on it. Love one another as I have loved you is a call to put flesh on faith.
Remember that this holiday season.