Tag Archives: action

Conviction of Faith : Believing Without Proof


 

As you now know, I recently read Day 289 from The Message//Remix:Solo which was entitled “Getting Our Way”.  This was a reflection on Galatians 5, more specifically 5:16-17, 19-23.  Following the Bible text are suggested ideas to think about, pray about, and ideas for living out the message.

“LIVE

Hold one of the following words in front of you today; exuberance, serenity, willingness,compassion, conviction.  Let the word permeate what you do.”

Conviction.  If you do a search on the internet for conviction and hit the news filter you will get 82,500 hits.  If you narrow the filter to “conviction of beliefs” there are 5,040. If you change the filter to “conviction of faith” there are 29.  In a society where our TV channels seem filled primarily with crime solving and detective stories, it is little wonder that our first thought with this word has to do with the legal term and not faith.

“Word Origin & History

conviction

late 15c., “the proving of guilt,” from L. convictionem, noun of action from convincere (see convince). Meaning “mental state of being convinced” is from 1690s; that of “firm belief, a belief held as proven” is from 1841.”

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

“A firm belief held as proven.”  Note that it does not say, “proven” but rather, “held as proven.”  In an ever more secular society we seem to be all about proof!  One of my kids’ favourite shows is Myth Busters and they have been heard to state, partly in jest, that if something isn’t proven on the show, it is not true.  As a corollary to that, of course, they believe that if something is proven on Myth Busters then it must really be true. 

My point is not to judge this television show, but to reflect the pervasive disbelief in society.  If you compliment someone they are likely to correct you, or try to figure out what your motivation was.  We are suspicious of motives, actions, and people themselves.  With all the people showing us all the good reasons why God doesn’t exist, they are missing the point completely!

If God was something you could prove, like the theory of gravity, then it wouldn’t be God.  Sometimes I think to myself that I must be losing it intellectually to believe in creation, the crucifixion, the resurrection, etc.  But I will stick with my conviction.  I hold the existence and goodness of God as proven even though I have seen no empirical proof. After all, I believe that all humans are equal and there is certainly little in our world at the moment that would prove that!

We all have to set our own benchmark for belief.  Many people, like C.S. Lewis were, at one point in their lives, confirmed atheists until they came to faith.  Some event, series of events, or influences allowed them to take God as proven even though they all knew the good reasons why he couldn’t exist.  If we live out our conviction, then we may just be a part of one of these events or influences who may help another come to faith. 

 

Note : If the word conviction was not in use until the fifteenth century and not used to refer to a firm belief until the nineteenth, obviously some other term was used in the Bible which Peterson interpreted to  refer to conviction.  Of course the Bible was not written in English at all so that all are translations.  In the King James Bible the word is faith.  The NIV uses self-control and The Message says, “…a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people.”

Willing Faith : “If Ye Know These Things, Happy Are Ye If Ye Do Them”


Getting Active For The Climate

As you now know, I recently read Day 289 from The Message//Remix:Solo which was entitled “Getting Our Way”.  This was a reflection on Galatians 5, more specifically 5:16-17, 19-23.  Following the Bible text are suggested ideas to think about, pray about, and ideas for living out the message.

“LIVE

Hold one of the following words in front of you today; exuberance, serenity, willingness,compassion, conviction.  Let the word permeate what you do.” Willingness seems to be an easier focus to handle than either exuberance or serenity.  It brings to mind years and years of hearing my father quote, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them!” John 13:17  It was basically his way of telling us to get off our butts and get into action. It isn’t enough to know what the right thing to do is if you don’t then go ahead and do it!  If we know that smoking will kill us then clearly we should not do it.  If the traffic light says to stop then you had better stop.

Most of us watch, listen to, or read the news.  We know about a great many things going on in our world.  We know there is great famine in the horn of Africa, we know that there is discrimination, we know that there are people in our own towns who do not have adequate shelter.  We take great pride in educating our children.  We learn about history so that we see the paths to avoid based on the results of prior civilizations.  And yet…how do you get from knowing the right thing to actually doing something about it?

One of the ways is to find a group of people who are on the same page as you are.  It is much easier to stand up and say no to something like hydro-fracking with a group of people than to be a lone voice.  Social pressure on a single person to sit down and shut up can be immense and too much for most of us.  Luckily there are organizations whose purpose is to help people to go from outraged to willing. To mention a few:

  • KAIROS Canada

  • Green Peace

  • PWS&D Presbyterian World Service and Development

  • 350.org

  • One Campaign

  • Amnesty International

 For every international or national organization there are usually two or three local groups, either branches of the larger cause or working for more specific local issues.   “Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  Margaret Mead  Be willing, be one of the few!