The more I read the gospels, the more I realize how Peter’s reaction to Jesus asking if he also wanted to go away echoes what many of us Christians believe in.
If we wouldn’t follow Jesus, to whom would we go?
Even from a logical standpoint based purely on worldly ideas, there is no one else that is worth following in this world. And things here ain’t getting any better!
I don’t know about you, but I consider myself extremely blessed for believing. Because believing and having faith are not my merit, but the fruit of God’s grace in me.
What have I (and you) done to deserve such a blessing that allows us to transcend the limits and struggles of this lifetime? Nothing!
We are looking at eternal life without any merit whatsoever coming from a world where merit determines who you are, what you can do and how far you can go.
So let’s celebrate the way, the truth and the light everyday through love.
Because God is love.
There are a lot of people out there who are seeking the truth about the meaning of life – and the existence of God.
As a former atheist who experienced a conversion, I feel for them because they are searching with their intellect. And that will lead them nowhere.
Our intellect, being strictly limited by the rules of this world, cannot grasp God.
Faced with this impotence, some of us have been touched by God to believe. And that’s really the only way to believe, because:
“The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
As my experiences in life widen, there are more and more passages from the bible that touch me deeply. In the past days, this passage from Acts really resonates with me, because our times are very peculiar about the intellectual obsession about ‘truth’.
Truth can only be attained through faith. And there is only one truth that really matters:
8 “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being examined today about a kind service to a man who was lame, to determine how he was healed, 10 then let this be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 He is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone. 12 Salvation exists in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
This is probably one of the most controversial topics out there, but for anyone who follows Jesus there should be no doubt that if telling the truth to someone is going to do more damage than good, then repentance should take precedence – and the ‘truth’ should be dealt with between you and God only.
What this means in practical terms is that, for instance if you cheat on your significant other, and then repent – there is absolutely no reason to be telling the truth as a way to remediate the situation. By telling the truth you will be causing more damage to the person who was cheated on than if you simply change your ways and don’t do it again.
We certainly have a tendency to seek morality in association with telling the truth, but ultimately morality is not the path to becoming a good person: it is the genuine desire and willingness to act as a good person.
‘Reporting’ your mistakes doesn’t make you a good person. On the other hand, changing your ways so you don’t repeat those same mistakes again is a big step towards becoming a good person.
The reasoning behind this is very simple: God knows what you’ve done. He doesn’t need you tell anyone else what you’ve done. What he wants from you is that you change your ways. Your confession to others will cause them hurt – God doesn’t want us to hurt one another. If you become a faithful person from that moment onwards, that in itself is the ‘truth’ of your conversion – not the so-called ‘truth’ of your confession.
A lecture on Plato’s work, particularly his account of the Socratic dialogues, frequently attracts and inspires some university students to bring about a myriad of subjects that relate to morality. As is often the case, these students formulate questions in a way that points out to a commonly desired response: that what is considered “wrong” is backed by societal norms and not “truth.” The next step is then to argue that “truth” is fundamentally a mode of perception of reality. And the conclusion is to assert that each of us has a “truth” of our own, and that it does not require validation by others who do not accept or share it.
However, the relentless search for wisdom carried on by Socrates, which generated the form of inquiry known as the Socratic method, is not a search for answers that vary according with the context, but rather for answers that always apply. Hence why Socrates was not convinced that there were wise men in Athens: every inquired person resorted to relativism to define moral concepts. For instance, Euthyphro’s attempt at defining “pious” ultimately demonstrated that it was relative to circumstance and, therefore, lacked a referent. Conversely, the problem was not that a universal definition of the concept did not exist, but that it had not yet been found.
Socrates also looked up to the Gods for wisdom and there were truths to abide to as established by this higher power. Such truths were not relative to circumstance either. Although he has argued in the Apology that even the Gods disagree among themselves, he reiterated in his inquiry that such disagreement happens sometimes and not consistently. His unwillingness to escape from prison after being sentenced to death set an example as to where he stood when it came to morality: he preferred to die than to transgress the laws of the city, under which all citizens lived in collective agreement and with the respect (blessing) of the Gods.
For Socrates, one does something wrong out of ignorance. As such, his inquiries did not aim to point out the impossibility of universal truths in face of individual perceptions. Instead, he engaged in a truly scientific method hoping to unveil the rules in motion that regulate life. He sought to find them, not question their existence. And he believed that wisdom was intrinsically related to both knowledge and application of these rules.
Essentially faith is about a deep and complete confidence in what you don’t know – yet. And obviously none of us is really fully capable of that. We need our safety nets, our docks and ports. I also suspect faith is very particular to our universe due to that small little detail called spacetime that we’ve chosen to regulate our lifestyle in society.
In my life “post-conversion” and “post-Quantum Mechanics” I have experienced extraordinary moments of change thanks to having faith more than “knowing” guiding my decisions.
It is liberating to have the conscience that I am free to make these decisions and that no matter how much I try to rationalize or calculate what I do next, ultimately there is no way to really “know” whether that is right or wrong, good or bad. Only God knows that and I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and contributes to our spiritual growth.
This also leads back to Jesus – and is where it originates. I was an atheist for 15 years after 18 years as an ignorant, spiritually confused and disconnected Catholic. And it was only after my conversion that I got to a point where I was ready to take that step into the “abyss” of not “knowing” and allow myself to walk that “invisible” path that leads to God even though I didn’t physically see it. The wonderous thing to it is that once you take that step, suddenly you just know the path is there, deep inside of you.
Impossible to put it into words though. You’d have to walk it to really understand and, most importantly, know it.
John 20:29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”