Archive | March, 2013

Faith As A Child

21 Mar

I am frequently amazed at how little people seem to really understand what faith is.  They talk a great game, claiming faith, but very little in their words demonstrate any such reality.  This is true of people of all religions, but I will speak to those who are out there preaching on the evils of the LDS.  These people have explained faith in many different ways.

One man told me that faith is a gift from God and if I don’t have it than God has chosen not to give it to me, which seems to be what Martin Luther taught.  One has to wonder why he was wasting his time when God wass’t even bothering with us.

Another person told me that Faith is not to be without evidence; if you can’t verify the facts outside your faith you shouldn’t believe.  Thus, faith became a term for the acceptance of hard evidence, and thus not really faith.

However, it is not these definitions that I really want to discuss, but the nature of faith and the evidence of that faith in the lives of men.

I am a simple minded man in my faith.  I believe that if God commands then I must obey, regardless of my personal feelings or thoughts.  If, like King Saul, I am commanded to wipe out an entire nation of people, then I must do so, despite my complete abhorrence of violence.  If, like Abraham, I am commanded to offer my child as a sacrifice, I must do as Abraham did and, without question, obey that command, despite the fact that God has said that child sacrifice is an abomination.

You see, God is perfectly righteous and just, and thus no matter what He commands there can be no sin in obeying Him.  However, to disobey Him would be a sin, regardless of the command.

Let us go back to Abraham for a moment, for his is a story that demonstrates this perfect faith most clearly.  His story is used by all Christians to teach faith to others, and so is a fitting example.  It is in Genesis 22.

“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempted Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.  And he said, take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

¶And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.  Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.  And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.  And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.  And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?  And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.  And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the alter upon the wood.  And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.”

This story has always been powerful.  Not only does Abraham not question the command, but Isaac humbly submits himself to his own Father’s will, believing his father to be a man of God.  Now, we all know that an angel of the Lord stopped Abraham at the last minute, sparing the life of Isaac.  But that ending was not known to either Abraham or Isaac.  As far as they both knew Isaac was going to die then and there as a sacrifice to God.  Can we imagine the thoughts of Abraham at this time?  Isaac was the promised son; the son of Sarah, Abraham’s first wife whom he loved dearly.  Isaac was to be the one to carry the covenant in the next generation, that through him the covenant made to Abraham might continue.  Abraham loved Isaac dearly.  Yet, God commanded Abraham to offer him up as a sacrifice.  Abraham could have questioned this command on so man levels.  He could have wondered how God was going to make Isaac a great nation, as promised, if Isaac was dead.  He could have questioned the covenant that Isaac was to continue in if Isaac was dead.  Then of course, there is the fact that murder had always been evil and commanded against, and yet God was commanding Abraham to perform such an act.  All of these things are legitimate concerns that any reasonable man would have.

But Abraham was not a man of reason, but a man of faith.  God had made the promises, and God would keep them.  Abraham likely did not understand how, given this command, but he knew God couldn’t lie.  Trusting that God was able to keep those promises, even after commanding the death of Isaac, Abraham obeyed, and what do the scripture say about his obedience.  “Abraham was commanded to offer his son Isaac; nevertheless, it was written: Thou shalt not kill.  Abraham, however, did not refuse, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness.”  D&C 132: 36

And yet, in the modern day, faith like unto Abraham seems to be non-existent.  People are questioning too many things.  Just asking a Hypothetical, I asked on a blog what people would do if God himself appeared to them and commanded them to join the LDS church.  Some of them tried to explain the question away with “If he commanded that than he wasn’t God.”  Yet, could not Abraham have made the same claim, that God would never have given such a commandment, and thus it came from the wrong source?  But he didn’t.  He knew the source to be God, and made no attempt to explain it away.  However, as I pointed out to them, the question did not involve anyone but God.  The question was if it was God commanding, and thus this assumes that they know it is God giving the command.  Without exception the answer was no, they wouldn’t, because they didn’t believe the church to be true.  Without exception people declared, either directly or indirectly, that they would rather disobey God himself than join the LDS church, because they did not believe it to be true.  What does this say about the faith of the people today?

As for myself, I honestly cannot answer the question.  Turn it around and say that God commanded me to become Catholic.  What would I do?  I don’t know.  I know God has once again revealed his gospel and it is had only in the LDS church.  But, as I said before, if God commands one must obey.  Would I obey such a command?  I would like to think that I would, but until such time as I am so tested I honestly cannot say.