Spiritual Reflections

The Prejudice of Faith

Beliefs can be such a stubborn thing. There always comes a point where we somehow notice that our way of reasoning sounds a bit irrational, yet we hold firmly to it simply because to our own logic, it makes most sense to us.

“See,” I told myself smugly, as “I knew she was going to do that.” I knew because I’ve seen the behavior pattern. I believed in that pattern, and simply dismiss every deviation from it. “I knew she can be relied on.” Thus, faith comes and becomes— and turns into something that is difficult to unbecome.

As they say, first impression lasts. It’s not about how we first met a person, but how we first got to know someone, or something. And this perception becomes a point of comparison that often persists even when contradicted.

In psychology, we know this as confirmation bias. And such also happens with faith, though it’s not always wrong; however, I concede that such a view reflects my own bias on these beliefs.

Faith does not always come easy. Faith, for it to be truly a faith, requires a lengthy cycle of filters and tests. Filters that question the integrity of what our faith is made of; tests that validate the purity of what our faith should be. We desire to have a faith so strong and big that it can move the hands of God and cause God’s heart to tremble at our powerful prayers.

Indeed, God wants us to have a faith so bold that it could theoretically move mountains. And I believe it can. But one learns that faith isn’t about actually seeing those mountains; it’s about knowing and believing that it is possible, yet letting the mountain stay where it is— being content and trusting God why we should let it stay where it is.

Nowadays, it’s so easy to have our faith shaken. Violence runs rampant. Even those who are called to be faithful start to become hateful. Providence comes, but not to all who yearn for it. There’s an unfair distribution of justice, preferential compassion, as well as conditional mercy. In a world where harsh realities lay siege to our Christian ideals, in a generation where the moral high ground is continuously being eroded by our own religious inconsistencies and contradictions, in a society where the lines between right and wrong and what’s acceptable or tolerable has been smudged by our very own compromises, has our faith become one that is too easily swayed and deformed— just to fit in, rather than standing out?

Faith reminds me of that lengthy passage in the book of Hebrews, where the author listed people who kept persisted even when things looked bleak. Stories like Moses, who never got to see the promised land. Stories like David, who never had a chance to enjoy his kingdom’s peace. Even Jesus Christ Himself died and got resurrected — only to go back to God the Father immediately; He simply had faith that those disciples will continue what He had began. Disciples who continued to be imperfect, to make mistakes, but in the end had the job done.

I guess the prejudice of faith is best understood when our beliefs, despite being overwhelmed by indisputable facts, remain unperturbed by an immovable truth. When we learn to be resilient with what we believe, even when everything else prove otherwise— we let ourselves be biased by something greater than the explicable. For some, it may be blind faith; for us, it simply mean seeing where God’s hand is moving, even if we actually don’t. We just believe it’s there— and even if it isn’t, we are too joyfully prejudiced to believe otherwise.

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More on this series:

 

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