January 12-B, 2023

Beaufort Fall 05 11/16/2017 Oil Paint Rendered — Harbor River, High Tide, Beaufort, South Carolina
Having faith is having an opinion
and believing in it.

I have faith in the Cajun Queen's
(A restaurant in Charlotte, NC)
ability to deliver a plate
of crawfish etouffee to perfection.
In other words,
in my opinion the crawfish etouffee
at the Cajun Queen is perfect.

Faith is always in an opinion,
if it were in a fact,
it wouldn't be faith.
It would be recognition
of the correctness of the fact.

We don't have faith in gravity,
and we know when the tide goes out
it will come back in.
We don't have faith in the tidal charts.
We know they are valid 
and can be counted on.

And we really cannot say that we love God
when God will send us to hell
if we don't love God.
And we really cannot say that God loves us
(unconditionally, it is usually said),
if God will send us to hell if we don't love God
(That is a big condition).

Having faith is holding opinions 
that are founded on other peoples' opinions.
It is a circle that can be maintained
only by saying "If you believe it,
your experience will confirm that it is so."

Astrology, horoscopes, black magic and superstitions
are grounded on the same declaration. 
Believing makes it so.

But, the people who believe
have to believe
because they believe 
that without faith in their opinion,
there is nothing to hold them up,
provide a moral base for their life
and give them a reason for living.
They are afraid to not believe
what they believe.

I say they need to test their faith
in believing
by seeing what else they could believe
that would provide them 
with a foundation for life.

Why do they take on faith what they take on faith
and not something else instead?

For instance, in my opinion
it matters how we live.
I have faith in my opinion,
and am validated by the millions of people
who share my faith through the ages.

I believe it matters how we live
and I have a "plan of salvation,"
if you will,
for putting that into effect,
which has also been in existence
from more than 1,000 years BCE
(The Buddha lived from 563 to 483 +/- BCE,
and Taoism was going around 1,000 BCE,
and Yoga and Hinduism existed before that).

It comes down to doing the right thing
at the right time
in the right place
and in the right way,
no matter what--
with no personal gain in mind.
Just doing what needs to be done,
when, where and how it needs to be done,
for the joy of doing it
and the satisfaction of having done it,
in each situation as it arises.

That is as solid a foundation for life
as there is,
without having to have an elaborate structure
of doctrines and theology 
to hold it in place.

We all have to have some grounding,
opinion to help us along the way.

What's yours?


Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

One thought on “January 12-B, 2023

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