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I read the PoD and in pondering the “History and Faith” subject I feel to expand a metaphor:

God’s plan for us, his desires for us to reach our potential, our freedom here on earth to choose and to grow, the joy of service, the communion with and companionship of the spirit flowing with enlightenment and peace – these are like a precious, pure newborn baby who is sacred and divine.

The less palatable circumstances and history of God’s interactions with his children, (ancient and recent) full of violence, inconsistencies, incredible assertions, disturbing facts and contradictions – this is like murky bathwater.

We can’t help but have our attention repeatedly drawn by the distasteful bits of flotsam as we work to see the baby that is partially hidden by them. The problem arises when we find we can’t tear our eyes from its ebb and flow nor stop ourselves endlessly examining each bit that is exposed by its constant churning.

We would do well to remember – the baby and the bathwater have both come from God and, unless we plan to create another God with a more pristine way of presenting things we would do well to focus on the baby, learn of the baby, and receive all the joy the baby has to offer. Eventually the bathwater will be left behind as this earth and its history are only details of a short, albeit pivotal time in our eternal history. We know that right now we cannot throw out one and retain the other.

Here’s a worse scenario to consider when thinking of the conundrum posed by unpleasant historical facts collide with faith:

You might find this hard to believe but there are a few people who knowingly work to subvert the faith of others. They have had experiences where they’ve participated in miraculous events and felt power beyond their own flow from them or knowledge, outside their own ability to conjure, burst upon and fill their minds.

Despite this fact, for whatever reason I could list, they delight in watching others go from believing or wanting to believe through the stages of shock, doubt, and disgust to complete disbelief – first with the church – and then with God altogether. They love dropping the bombshells of incontrovertible proof and watching the damage unfold in slow motion from the first shock of pain when it hits to the death rattle as the last breath of belief is expelled.

Speaking of “incontrovertible proof”….

Have you ever had an experience where something, either a photograph or a situation or theory based on scientific proof was iron clad in the obvious conclusion it presented – I mean IRON CLAD – and then a piece of information or an expanded view of that picture shatters that conclusion and you feel like a fool for having your belief so erroneously placed?

If you are someone that has experienced that moment where your former belief has been withered in the face of new information then it will be easy for you to imagine that happening again when yet another piece of information or an even more expanded view of the picture shatters the new conclusion that left you feeling like a fool the first time and makes you feel like the biggest fool of all.

Just a thought that the seemingly simplistic “some day you’ll be able to make sense of it.” theory might turn out to be quite profound after all.

I’m certainly not going to bet the farm on some piece of incontrovertible faith destroying "proof" or historical “fact” I’m presented with in this life on the off chance that my exhaustive research has brought to light every last bit of information there is that could refute it. I'm not that big a fool.

Not sure what you're getting at, Bird. Following your analogy, it might be that as bathwater keeps the baby clean, so does history keep the Church clean, therefore we should all read more history. I'll agree with that idea.

Wow- was I that obtuse? If you got that we should all read more history from that then I'm sorry to say my ineloquence and inadequacies in presenting my thoughts in written form is in a sadder state then I feared.

I feel to retreat as today was my first foray into the bloggernacle and I'm obviously not up to the challenge.

No! Do not retreat! Obviously I was tweaking your comment a bit to match my own perspective on history. Please take the invitation to restate your own perspective in a little more direct fashion.

I’ll try to be more direct.

I understand the value of history- in fact I think of King Josiah when the repairs to the temple uncovered the written law that had been lost and his reaction when he “rent his clothes” and wept before the Lord for joy. He certainly preferred to read, study and depend on history as a source of vital information no matter what unpleasant facts cropped up.

I feel the same way I just feel that it’s dangerous to rely on our reasoning and each other as we examine the cold hard facts of history. Otherwise when I read about people such as Abraham,a slave owner who had sex with one of his slaves and then later turned her out, along with his own son by her, into the desert alone with only a skin of water and some bread and no real chance of survival and then later claimed his wife was his sister giving her to a man who he knew was planning to sleep with her just to save his own life (a wife we should note who was his own half sister), I would turn away in disgust and wonder at the childish naiveté and mental weakness of Bible believing people.

It just so happens instead that I’ve not relied on history (the bathwater if you will) to define the baby because the whole truth cannot be known without the enlightenment of the spirit. When I’ve added prayer to the mix and relied on God for all the bits of information I will never have about Abraham I’ve found myself able to feel so much more than the words could possibly convey with their on-the-face disgusting appearance and I’ve felt for him as he’s encountered danger, felt to doubt, and struggled to live up to his covenants.

I just have to also say that I’ve also felt the same enlightenment as I’ve read all other scriptures and studied all other prophets.

CS Lewis once intimated that if a deck of cards is all it will take to keep us from God then that’s what will be employed. The method isn’t important, distraction, though a humble tool, is sufficiently effective.

Dare I say it- too much studying of history can be detrimental if an equal time is not devoted to knowing God personally.

Not only do we have and value both faith AND history - but Faith cannot exist without history.

However history can exist without faith and frankly history WITHOUT faith is a stark place to be and it will eat you alive if you’re not careful.

I was more direct. I don’t know- what do you think of my second attempt, should I retreat or advance?

You're always welcome to visit and comment, Bird. Check out my right sidebar for a list of other fine Bloggernacle sites.

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