Inspired by Hebrews 11:1-3, 13-19
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 (NRSV)
It’s not uncommon for nonbelievers to demand proof of God’s existence if they’re to consider religion a valid pursuit. Logically speaking, it’s much easier to prove a positive than a negative—therefore it’s up to Christians to prove there is a God, rather than for atheists to prove there isn’t.
It’s an unwinnable argument for Christians, because faith is by definition something that cannot be proven. But a life lived solely according to proven facts is an empty one indeed.
Can two adults who believe that they love each other acquire the necessary proof that their marriage will survive all hardships and remain intact? There’s so much evidence to the contrary. Can a couple prove that a child they conceive will be born healthy and grow to adulthood? So many children do not. Can anyone prove that living according to a set formula will ensure good health, happiness, and prosperity? There are so many factors working against those ambitions. For a person to live a life without faith, he or she must forgo all relationships, all risks, all attempts at fulfillment or engagement with the world, because too much cannot be proven and can only be taken on faith.
Yet for someone who has the assurance of things only hoped for and is convinced of the truth of things not yet seen or experienced, the world is a much less frightening place. There’s reason to believe that the unknown can become known, that the odds can be beaten, that love can and will prevail in the face of apathy and hate. For such was the life of Christ, who made the unknowable God known, saved humanity from the depths of its sin, and did so through a love of the highest order. Trying to live a fulfilling life in the absence of that guiding principle is too much of a stretch for me; I’d rather have faith.
Let us pray. Lord of all, you defy easy definitions and simple explanations. Grant us the faith to trust in your love, that we may fully engage in your creation and live the enriched lives you have called us to lead. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.