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 “just know or feel” that He is real, and others have found “facts” which undergird their faith. Benefits exist for believing in God, and for not believing in God. Others would never go back to their belief in God.

Beyond one’s personal experience, spirituality can also be tied to science and history. One question that is explored from the scientific perspective is how do you get life from non-life? Even if the universe contains as many as 100 billion trillion planets, probabilities would argue against the existence of even one that by natural processes alone would end up with 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 to sustain life (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, the growth rate of human populations, and other examples. (One’s answer depends on one’s assumptions about the uniformity of natural law, uniformity of process, uniformity of rate and uniformity of outcome). Some scientists defend a global flood that produced fossil-bearing sedimentary rock on every continent. Some assume there is a God and explain science and history from that assumption, and some assume that the existence of God cannot be determined.

Others look to the Bible for information on both the origins of our world, and their faith.  The Biblical account can be construed as an allegory or history. Hebrew expert Dr. Steven Boyd concludes it is history.  He writes, “For Genesis 1:1-2:3, this probability is between 0.999942 at a 95% confidence level. Thus, we conclude with statistical certainty that this text is narrative, not poetry. It is therefore statistically indefensible to argue that it is poetry. The hermeneutical implication of this finding is that this text should be read as other historical narratives . . . ” (Dr. Steven Boyd, Associate Professor of Bible, The Master’s College, Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth, Volume II, editors Larry Vardiman, Andrew Snelling, and Eugene Chaffin).

Some Bible-believers believe that the beginning of Genesis is an allegory or that a “day” in Genesis is actually a longer period of time.  A complicating factor is that in the fossil remains of rock layers, there is evidence of death, violence, suffering, and disease before man entered the picture. This competes with  the Bible’s assertion that God’s creation was “very good,” translated as “it was the very best that it could possibly be” (Gen. 1:31), and perfect (Duet. 32:4). Afterwards, death is said to come to man because of sin (1 Corinthians 15:21; Romans 8:20-22; Romans 5:12).

Others take a historical and a legal approach to look for the preponderance of the evidence in determining the existence and impact of Christ. They ask questions about Christ, who claimed to be God. Is Jesus crazy, a master manipulator, or stable? How did the Christian movement develop quickly, with its founders who quickly transitioned from fear to a willingness to die for their beliefs in Christ? Are the records trustworthy?

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 is attained through faith. Evidence can be found for the existence of God, or against Biblical claims about God. (Evidence cannot be found against a god, but perhaps against a particular definition of God). Often the evidence found reflects one’s personal preference. The existence of suffering though, is not debated. Where the responsibility lies for the suffering though, continues to be 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