Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ditto Blind Faith

Isaiah 42:16 And I will bring the blind by a way [that] they knew not; I will lead them in paths [that] they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.

Isaiah 9:2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them has the light shined.

Blind faith? Just don't do it. 

There's no need.  Orthodox Christianity does not require blind faith.  Faith, yes, but faith with understanding and faith in what (or Who) the Holy Spirit continues, as ever, to reveal to His Church and to her members.  Faith is not an alternative to knowing; it's an alternative mode of knowing; as St. Paul writes (Hebrews 11:1), faith is the obviousness ("evidence" in the KJV) of things unseen.  It's a more certain knowledge than mere "head knowledge", yet it neither excludes nor conflicts with head knowledge.  (How could it?  Truth is Truth!)

Because Orthodox Christians have been given the gift of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we are encouraged to question the things of faith, to wrestle with them, because that is how, under the Spirit's tutelage, we grow in faith.  We grapple with whatever issue we have until we understand its meaning and purpose, until we are illumined by that deep-down, soul-satisfying, liberating, joyous understanding, until God reveals it to us as He has always revealed it to the Church, until it makes sense.  (It often does not make secular sense, but it makes perfect sense when premised upon Christ; that's to say, when it's the logic of limitless, unconditional, no-strings-attached, free, sacrificial Love.)  Then we know firsthand, and no longer by taking the word of anyone else.  And this firsthand knowledge, as of an eye-witness, is the chief treasure of the Church, handed down from generation to generation, for it is firsthand knowledge of Christ; it is a sharing in the same experience the Apostles had of the Risen Christ:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of Life — Life appeared, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal Life which was with the Father and was shown to us — that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have communion with us; and truly our communion is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.  And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.  (1 John 1:1-4)

It's all a matter of what we have seen and heard and touched, nothing blind about it.  Faith is not something blind, but is the Light the Holy Spirit sheds in our core being.  People who argue for blind faith lack this communion in the Holy Spirit, leaving "blind faith" their only option if they wish to be religious; do not listen to them. 
2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.