Belief is a choice, and it requires an active conscious commitment to an intellectual process. But faith is a blessing and not a choice. Belief is an intellectual response to reality. Faith is an emotional one.
I will prove that faith is not a choice by soliciting the help of those who are obsessed with the absoluteness of proof; the atheists. But before we start with proofs, we must agree on definitions. Faith – A belief in the absence of evidence. Atheist- Someone who believes in the power of faith. This is not an oxymoron, it’s an assertion I make based on the objective definition of faith.
Faith and Emotions
An atheist takes an absolute stand about something that cannot be proven. He has complete faith that God does not exist. Therefore he believes in the power of faith. Maybe I am being a bit facetious. So let me try again.
Atheist- Someone who cannot prove in the existence of anything that cannot submit to a definition because definitions place limitations on the object they try to define. In other words – God is infinite, and definitions are finite. And so proof of God for a believer or an atheist becomes a function, not of evidence, but of an emotional response.
Faith in the one who believes in God is experienced as an intense emotion. And lack of faith in God is experienced as the absence of emotion. But if you do not have faith, and most of us do not have the kind of faith I am alluding to here, you can still have belief. Belief is a choice and an intellectual one.
The desire to have faith is one of the most indispensible prerequisites towards receiving its blessings. And that desire stems from the understanding that faith is the greatest achievable emotional state.
For a believer with no faith and a believer with faith, the difference is only a matter of degrees, not in kind. A believer with no faith is still a believer. But the difference between two men without faith – but one is a believer by choice, and the other a denouncer by choice – is a difference in kind and not degrees.
There is no possibility of redemption if you actively renounce God. In other words, there is no possibility that your emotions can respond to God’s presence because you have actively intellectualized them out of existence.
To an atheist, faith and its corresponding emotions are dismissed as a biological response to a psychological need. Emotions are defined as the automatic integrations of external stimuli into the subconscious. So an atheist is quick to diagnose the believer with the only tools he has – standardized testing.
But it has now become abundantly clear that just as some of the brightest minds in the atheist community are sane minds, in spite of their lack of faith, the brightest minds in the religious community are also equally brilliant and totally sane, not in spite of faith, but sometimes because of it.
So the insanity plea that atheists have been making to discredit their pious counterparts is now obsolete, because the logical and sane now exist on both sides of this spectrum. In fact, faith informs believers in ways that allow them to overcome the pitfalls of logic through the exercise of compassion; which is not always a logical response to reality.
So how does one get this blessing of faith? First, you must be humble enough to believe, not because you perceive in God, but in spite of your lack of perception.
As Huston smith, the world- renowned theologian demonstrated in his book,Cleansing the Doors of Perception,chemical adjuncts can be used to stimulate a feeling of God’s presence. But I propose that humility and the conscious act of surrender are more powerful chemical adjuncts, minus the paraphernalia, than the ones we can ingest.
When prayer is a means to an end as opposed to drugs, there is no confusion whether the effect is divine or demonic, real or induced, permanent of fleeting. For those who cannot let go but will let go just enough to admit that they can’t let go, they can try this prayer: Dear God, I pray for the miraculous resurrection of a gullible unsullied mind.
Yes, we have all equated faith with a gullibility and blindness at some point, and for me it was a blindness I had always wished for. A kind of blindness that allows you to see what you want as opposed to what is. And so how does someone with that degree of arrogance ever open the doors of perception, let alone cleanse them? He does not, and he cannot. This is where divine intervention gets in.