Fear is Not the Opposite of Faith

Everyone believes in something. With a limited mind and limited experience, and even with Google at my fingertips, I just can't know it all. At some point I have to make the jump from what I know to what I reasonably assume to be true.


At five years old my mother told me to wash my hands so I wouldn't get sick. I don't like to get sick. I didn't look at any data. I just trusted her because she loved me. In fact, I've never looked at any serious data on that. Washing my hands is an act of faith. Does it save me? I'm thinking there's more at work there than I can assess, but I'm still going to do what I can.


I'm washing my hands because I don't like getting sick? Isn't that an "act of fear"? Yes! My fear is warranted by the pain I experience when I get sick. It's reasonable fear.


Having to live in the tentative, it's wise to collect as much accurate information as I can to make my predictions. Who do you get your information from? I like a wide array of sources: people whose lives reflect the peace and kindness I want to live out, people who demonstrate love toward me and others, people who spend dedicated time learning and listening, including some scientists.


On the other hand, refusing to look at data is not an act of faith, it's a betrayal of our basic ability to reason. It's closing my God-given eyes and sticking my God-given head in the sand and stepping OUT of my God-given role to make rational, compassionate decisions. Sometimes the data is grim and overwhelming. Sometimes it's heartbreaking and embarrassing. But if we can face it and make a plan to deal with it, we are actually engaging in an act of faith… believing that we can make it through together.

Unsplash phot cred: trail

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