On Having Faith–or Not by Christina Knowles

IMG_0770I freely admit I am the person people are talking about when they say, “Oh ye of little faith.” I believe in God, a personal god, who created the earth, who created people, and has some divine plan. Beyond that, things get a little blurry for me. I am not sure I believe the Genesis account of creation; I’m pretty sure I don’t. I know I don’t believe prayer changes the outcome of anything. Well, I think it may change people, but not their circumstances.

I’m pretty sure, mostly sure, sometimes completely sure, I believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, yes, I am sure I believe Jesus is the Son of God, who came to save us. From sin, yes. From hell, I don’t know. I have a hard time accepting the idea of hell. And yes, I know that Jesus in the Bible talks about hell more than heaven. But I don’t really believe everything in the Bible. How do I know Jesus really said that? You may be wondering how I believe in Jesus without believing the Bible. This is based on supernatural or mystical experiences that I know are absolutely no evidence to anyone other than me, but I believe they were real. At least at this moment.

Where things break down for me is when I try to accept the Bible as literal truth, or any kind of truth beyond that of any ancient piece of literature. I truly want to believe. Sometimes I do believe, but it just doesn’t last. But more than I want to believe, I want to believe truth. Not that anyone wants to believe in deceptions, but it is important to me not to be fooled, deceived, brainwashed, even by myself. Strong spiritual experiences fade from being reality into being vague memories that can easily be interpreted as psychological delusions. I constantly reevaluate what I previously believed absolutely. A verse that describes me is James 1:6: “For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (KJV). I am mentioned throughout the Bible; never in a positive context, it seems.  Incidentally, I have tried everything that I can think of to increase my faith. I have asked God for it, spent time in worship and prayer, immersed myself in private Bible study, participated in group Bible studies, read dozens of books, attended doctrinal and apologetic lectures, met with pastors, called in to Christian radio talk shows, talked to friends, and searched the internet (I have gotquestions.org on speed dial in my browser). It appears that the only thing I have going for me is the desire to know. I am seeking after God, even if I am not very successful at it. This must mean something, right? It must mean that deep-down, I really believe it all, maybe?

According to Romans 12:3, “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (NKJV). So maybe I have some faith? Why do some people have so much unwavering faith and other people are like me? Of course, my first impulse is to call foul, no fair, but God is supposed to show no partiality. But there it is again, my lack of faith. Questioning God. Who do I think I am? But God made me like this, right? You see my problem? I just can’t stop. It really is true, rebellious from birth; however, I’m still debating whether or not I accept that it is Adam’s generational sinful nature at fault.

The only beliefs that I can seem to hold on to from one moment to the next are things that have been absolutely, logically/philosophically, or scientifically proven to my satisfaction. Yes, I am aware of how ridiculously arrogant this sounds. I can’t help it. This past summer I read a book called The Recovery of Belief by CEM Joad, a book arguing the existence of God from both a philosophical and scientific viewpoint. I thoroughly digested this book and sank myself into its philosophical core and absorbed it, accepted it, and internalized it. Ever since reading this book, I have had no wavering in “faith” about the existence of God–progress. One must wonder if that means I have grown in faith or if needing this kind of dissertation proves unequivocally that I have absolutely no faith. And although I believe in God, I still question God’s goodness, His motives, and the Bible all the time. If I believe in God’s goodness, I question the Bible. If I believe in the Bible, I question God’s goodness. After hours of reading apologetics, I still cannot reconcile these issues in my mind.

Matthew 12:38-41 says:

38 “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ 39 But He [Jesus] answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. . .’” (NKJV).

Apparently, I am one of “an evil and adulterous generation” because I just want a sign, proof, a strong sense of truth, something. I’ve had this before, but I seem to need a regular dose of it, repeated periodically every few months or so. Maybe I am being too honest. I mean, if I really believe, then I wouldn’t want to damage the faith by being so openly wishy-washy, right? I would want to be a better witness. I do want to be. I can’t. I am who I am. I am real. I am honest. I am flawed. And I have little to no faith.

Yet, just at the very moment I write this, I feel a stirring in my soul, struggling to the surface, that tells me I do believe; I do.–Christina Knowles


5 thoughts on “On Having Faith–or Not by Christina Knowles

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  1. I’m am right where you are in that struggle Christina. Actually, no. You have a lot more faith than I do I think. But I do see your main point. There are so many things that in the Bible that don’t seem to make sense and apply to us in our day. We’ve been told that we need to learn the art and science of biblical interpretation and if we go about it properly, we’ll have most if not all the answers. It’s still a struggle however. It’s a long hard road. But we all have one another, the body of Christ to lift one another up and encourage each other to keep the faith. And I don’t think God looks down on us for asking questions. I believe a personal and rational God would want us to seek him honestly and use our minds in the process. He gave us that grey matter for a purpose. He didn’t beat up Thomas for doubting either.


  2. My dear one…please stop beating yourself up. We all have good days and bad days on our journey. What you lack is not faith, but knowledge. By this I do not mean more bible verses, I mean the true knowledge of Christ that can satisfy the soul. Your search for truth appears to be an honest one. When Jesus said to ask, seek and knock he had an ongoing process in mind. We don’t rest as having known it all. I highly recommend a book to you that has been such a deep,joy to digest as you say. “Knowing Christ Today” by Dallas Willard has helped me tremendously in my pursuit of what is true and real. He is a very deep read so it is crucial that you read and reread parts to absorb his great wisdom. Remember, it is not a sin to ask questions and doubt the validity of shallow answers. We as followers of Jesus need to learn to love God with all of our minds as well as our hearts as Jesus teaches. Bless you as you pursue Him. Rick


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