Category Archives: spirituality and mental health

The Role of Faith

Some look to their faith in God in their happiest or awe-struck moments, or some lean on their faith in their lowest or darkest moments.  Some turn to their faith “just in case it’s true,” and some long for a relationship with a powerful God. Some “know or feel” that He is real, and others have found facts to undergird their faith. Often the evidence found reflects one’s personal preference.

Beyond one’s personal experience, evidence can be tied to science and history. One question that is explored from the scientific perspective is how do you get life from non-life? Just as systems do not spontaneously generate order and complexity, it would seem that systems cannot spontaneously generate information either. The genetic code is so complex it is thought to be impossible it could have arisen by chance.

Another apparent impossibility is that by natural processes life could be sustained with precarious balance the just-right surface gravity, surface temperature, atmospheric composition, atmospheric pressure, crustal iron abundance, tectonics, volcanism, rotation rate, rotation rate decline, stable rotation axis and degree of tilt (Hugh Ross).

Also, the age of the earth is debated through the study of radiometric dating, the influx of salts into the ocean, the rate of decay of the earth’s magnetic field, and the growth rate of human populations. (One’s answer depends on one’s assumptions about the uniformity of natural law, uniformity of process, uniformity of rate and uniformity of outcome). All beliefs are provided with evidence, but also reveal underlying assumptions.

Others believe that the Bible taken in its historical context cannot reflect modern science because it reflects the understanding of the time. Instead, they look for the reliability of the account, especially in regard to the existence and impact of God and Jesus. They ask questions about Jesus, who claimed to be God, to determine whether Jesus is or is not God. If Jesus is not God, the records must be wrong, or Jesus knew it was a false claim, or Jesus did not know it was a false claim. The question remains how the Christian movement developed so fast, with its founders who immediately transitioned from fear, to a willingness to die for their beliefs in Christ? Would these followers knowingly die for a lie? Once again, evidence is pursued for each option. The question is once again, which side has the most evidence?

Some question the Bible, though it is said to be the most reliable and trustworthy of any ancient document based on the manuscript evidence. It is bolstered by archeological finds and appears impossible that any or all of the Bible’s specific, detailed prophecies could have been fulfilled through chance or deceit. To discard the Bible as unreliable would require one to throw out every other document of ancient literature.

Faith, and facts undergirding faith, will continue to be a source of comfort. Loss of faith is associated with distress. If God is real, and He offers a interactive relationship, such a relationship has to be attained through faith. Evidence can be found for the existence of God, or against God.  Benefits exist for believing in God, and for not believing in God (like no accountability).  The existence of morality and suffering though, is not debated. Who is responsible for it, though, is debated.

Christian Mindfulness

By Dan Blair, a marriage counselor and family counselor.

Christian Mindfulness“More than 100 million American adults who describe themselves as Christian contend . . . they are still searching for clarity regarding their purpose in life (George Barna, Maximum Faith).” Is there a connection between awareness of God and self-awareness? As one form of awareness goes up, does the other go down? Or does awareness of God and self-awareness work together? John Calvin writes, “The knowledge of God and that of ourselves are connected. Without knowledge of self there is no knowledge of God. Without knowledge of God there is no knowledge of self.” Continue reading Christian Mindfulness