To hear it from a believer the order of things is this way: facts come first, faith is founded on those facts, and fear is only an afterthought. I know that’s the way I saw things when I was a believer. I had the truth of ‘God’s Word’ and my faith was rooted deeply in it. In response to the accusation, “You only believe because you are afraid of disbelief and the consequences of it,” I would have said, “Not at all! I believe because it’s the truth!”
We could argue all day about which ‘facts’ are facts and which ‘facts’ are fiction, but that’s not what this little article is about. This article is about the order of things. I propose to you that an honest evaluation would reveal the order is really this way: Fear, then faith, and finally the facts.
This is a huge problem. What good are facts if they run contrary to faith? Is faith so ignorant that facts don’t matter? And if the fact of the matter is contrary to your faith, would you still be compelled by your fears to ignore those facts? Try saying that five times real fast…
If faith is founded on facts then it’s not so much a matter of faith, but in accepting what is true. However if faith is rooted in the fear of the consequences of not believing and facts are irrelevant, then it’s not even a matter of faith, it is purely about fear. If something you believed was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be untrue would you, could you dismiss your faith and overcome the fear that goes along with doing so? This is one of the major shortcomings of fundamentalism…the inability to accept the facts when they run contrary to the faith. The hardcore fundy would simply say, “There is no contradiction between our faith and the facts!” Which is the kind of response that makes me do a face palm… If you can not bring yourself to admit to even the slightest possibility that somewhere, in some small area, some little insignificant part of your faith there might be something that is not 100% accurate then you are not living by faith or fact but only by fear: The fear of being wrong.
The fact of the matter is, rarely is anyone 100% factual. Accepting this, accepting the very real possibility that your fact-based faith might have a few discrepancies is a first small step to breaking free from fundamentalism. Realizing and admitting to yourself your order of fear, faith, and lastly fact, and making a conscience decision to switch that around and place facts first, faith in those facts second, and the fear of not believing fallacies dead-last is a very big step.
GHF Staff Writer