Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 84; 148, Job 19:1-7, 14-27, Acts 13:13-25, John 9:18-41
Author G.K. Chesterton asked why anyone would attempt to defend Christianity, since to defend a thing is to discredit it. What might he have made of the hundreds of books dedicated to apologetics which fill the shelves of almost any Christian bookstore? Of course we want to be able to talk intelligently about our faith, but is the truth of our faith ever adequately expressed in argument, no matter how well-reasoned?
When the man cured of blindness testified to the Pharisees about the impact Jesus had on his life, he didn’t construct a theological argument. He stated the simple truth: “I was blind, now I see.” Not much arguing with that statement, is there? The obvious changes faith has produced in our lives communicate the Good News more effectively than any appeal to reason or logic. Each of us has a different spin on the blind man’s truth. Maybe it’s “I was addicted, now I am recovering.” Or “I was in despair, now I am full of hope.” Or “I was angry, now I am at peace.” The reality of our story is its own defense.
A history professor once told me history shows us rationalism is not the only way of knowing about the world. In a culture demanding we reason our way to faith, this thought frees us from the need to understand everything in terms of pure intellect. This doesn’t mean science is out the window and superstition rules, but it does help us accept the untestable truth that putting our faith in God forever alters our lives.
Just as a strong faith doesn’t depend on a steady supply of supernatural signs, it also doesn’t rely on an unshakable foundation of logical proofs. They are two sides of the same coin. A lack of either should not derail our faith journey. The signposts that best help us find our way are the changes we experience in our own lives and see in the lives of others.
Perhaps another thought from Chesterton best summarizes today’s reflection: “Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.”
Comfort: Reason is compatible with faith, but faith does not depend on it.
Challenge: When you discuss the Christian faith, have confidence your own experience is a powerful testimony for the Gospel.
Prayer: God of life, thank you for the mysteries and realities of faith. Amen.
Discussion: Have you struggled to reconcile reason and faith?
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