The Dilemma of Freedom

Faith is the evidence of that which is unseen...
It's always seemed to me that Paul makes the definition of faith more confusing than it needs to be, but on the other hand he gives me a lot of room for exegesis.
Example: "Faith is the only evidence I'll ever have for those things I cannot see." I can't remember where I heard this interpretation first, but it certainly works. Let's run with it.

Faith is an attribute of human freedom. Animals don't have faith: they understand the world based on natural, observed principles. If your relationship with an animal is reliable, the animal will come to depend on your reliability in a kind of trust. If you break that trust, however, the animal will stop depending on you.
Humans, on the other hand, have an incorrigible ability to choose trust. Even when people break our trust, we can decide to continue our relationship in an attitude of faith. Note the difference: trust is still gone, but it's been replaced by something similar.
Faith and hope are responses to the dilemmas that freedom presents. A dilemma is (in traditional western logic) a special situation in which the outcomes of possible decisions are all equally bad; the decision is impossible to make on strictly evaluative grounds. Any response to a real dilemma must be something other than a natural response; either a deferral of responsibility for the choice (eeny-meeny-miney-moe) or some kind of "illogical" reasoning. Hope and Faith are two different kinds of "illogical reasoning," and the Christian life is full of faithful and hopeful responses to dilemmas; Genuine Love is the greatest of these.

Love is the ultimate faithful, hopeful response. "I can't trust you, but I have faith in you." "This hurts me more than it hurts you."

Genuine Love is a Faithful decision. Unrequited love is a hopeful state.

1 comment:

techne said...

along these lines (the intersection of faith and love - don't forget hope!) is harold best's unceasing worship. worth a read, if you feel the desire to do so...