The Problem With Faith


As I have mentioned previously I am currently reviewing things that I have always held as fact but have never actually taken time to study for myself. In the past whenever someone would challenge my beliefs I would get angry and call that person a blasphemer. Now the roles have reversed. I am the person asking the questions and unintentionally making people angry or hurting their feelings. This is not a role I relish but the questions I am asking are only intended to provoke thought and not to discredit anyone’s personal convictions. If I sound like I know all the answers or am adamant that I am right that is not my intent, and is probably a result of the written word failing to convey the sincerity of my questions and ideas.


My studies have led me to a very interesting question; would you kill your child if God told you to? A friend asked me that question recently and of course I thought of the story of Abraham and Isaac. I’m sure everyone is familiar with the story of God instructing Abraham to sacrifice his son as an offering to God. The story has a happy ending though because God was only putting Abraham’s faith to the test and never intended for Abraham to kill Isaac.


But the question still remains, would you kill your child if God commanded it? I would wager that most people reading this would answer no and most of those who answer yes are not being honest with themselves. Picture in your mind slicing open your own child’s innocent throat and being covered in the approximately half gallon of blood that would erupt in the first sixty seconds.


Does that make you uncomfortable? It should! Most people would never do something like that to a pet (and rightfully so) let alone a human being that they loved more than life itself. Being upset or even angered by my above description is the appropriate response; the response any sane person should have.


Unfortunately, if you are not willing to sacrifice your child to God then you do not possess the unwavering faith of father Abraham. I have heard ministers rationalize this story by saying things like “Abraham knew that God had promised to raise up a nation from his loins so if he killed Isaac then another son would be given to him.” Really? So the murder of Isaac is just being accepted as God’s will without question? I am fairly certain that Abraham did not take such a flippant attitude about killing his beloved, promised son.


Abraham did not know that God was only testing him. Abraham was literally willing to kill his own child to show his loyalty to God. Is that kind of loyalty healthy? What if it wasn’t really God speaking to Abraham? What if Abraham had been a paranoid schizophrenic who heard voices and saw people who didn’t exist? Sadly there have been more than a few instances where mentally ill people have committed atrocities because “God” spoke to them.


I have never sat in a church service where anyone questioned the wisdom of Abraham’s actions. I have only ever heard Abraham’s blind faith extolled as an example of how we, as Christians, should respond when God asks us to do something. My questions are: should such unquestioning loyalty really be our goal? Is it really wrong to question God’s instructions?


I feel that the lesson learned from this story is a dangerous one. At what point do we abandon faith for logic and question whether it is even God speaking to us? I would imagine no one reading this has ever heard God speak to them in an audible voice. If He did would you automatically do what you were told or would you check out the instructions to see if they were scriptural?


Humor me for a moment and pretend that God had spoken to you in an audible voice and told you to sacrifice your child. What would you do? Would you consider it or dismiss it as something contrary to the nature of God? He’s done this before, why can’t he do it again? Why couldn’t this happen to you? Isn’t God unchanging?


Even if you did check the voice against scripture, if the voice had told you to sacrifice your child, there is a scriptural principal for that.


So proving things by the scriptures could lead you in the wrong direction depending on which passage you chose to accept. The Genesis account could lead you to believe that God was testing your faith and so you should go through with the sacrifice. If you read Deuteronomy 12:13 it says “You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.”


Well now this is getting confusing. Why would God test his faithful servant Abraham with a commandment to do something that He detests? That seems strange. If God detests the sacrifice of children then wouldn’t the right answer to the test have been a very loud “NO”?


Does God want an unquestioning drone? Wouldn’t God rather have a man or woman of integrity who would not even consider killing an innocent child for any reason?


I have had people tell me that they do not rely on logic but simply rely on faith. Faith in God is all that you need. Man cannot be trusted so you can’t put your faith in a man. The reality is that most Christians put their faith in a man every Sunday. They have faith in a minister or a prophet or even Jesus himself (Romans 5 clearly states that Christ was a man).


The problem with unwavering faith is it can lead to terrible acts done in the name of God. The crusades were commissioned by God, according to the church, and thousands upon thousands of innocent women and children were slaughtered in the name of God. The men who carried out these acts were fervent believers who were told that the blood of the infidels would be their ticket into heaven.


I recently read the book Prophet’s Prey, which is about Warren Jeffs, the so-called prophet of the cult, the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints. This group practices many forms of child abuse in the name of God including the banishment of boys ages ten to twelve and the “marriage” of girls around the same age. If the prophet tells them to, the parents of a young boy will abandon him by the side of the road and instruct him to never contact them again. They never question their prophet because to question means they will incur the wrath of God.


Jeffs is now serving a prison sentence in Texas for aggravated sexual assault of children. Thankfully not everyone is afraid to question his authority.


I realize I am talking about the extreme situations where religious zeal is abused and evil acts are committed, but I wanted to show the dangers of blind obedience to God and his servants. It is my opinion that a just God would never want a servant who would abuse a child or kill an innocent person. A just God would want someone with a backbone who would be willing to challenge even Him if he felt it necessary.


I have heard all of my life that to challenge God would be to incur his wrath and judgment. But does an all-powerful, all-knowing God really have such a fragile human ego that questioning His authority will cause destruction? Can an all-powerful God really get jealous? Jealousy is just a form of insecurity. Is the Creator of the universe really so insecure that He would get jealous? These questions are settled in my mind. God is much bigger than that. If humans can overcome such things as temper and insecurity, and God is so much more advanced than us, then these are not accurate descriptions of Him.


My goal is not to change your mind about God but to make you think about how far your loyalty would go. I doubt anyone I know would go to the extremes I pointed out. The question is, how blind is your faith? Where would you draw the line? What is your definition of a healthy relationship with God?


More by this Author

  • The Axe Effect
    3

    The Axe body spray ad entitled “Women-Billions” is a very clever advertisement. It is very well made with well timed music and excellent cinematography. As is the case with most Axe commercials, it pushes...


Comments 22 comments

JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 3 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

good hub.


Jnich2 profile image

Jnich2 3 years ago Author

Thank you.


Paul K Francis profile image

Paul K Francis 3 years ago from east coast,USA

People often make the mistake of of giving God human qualities like anger and jealousy. It is like you say, God is bigger than that. God had no intention of letting Abraham harm his son and I believe that he would not have been dissapointed if Abraham, at the last minute, chose to challange him by saying no, I will not commit this act. But the authors of this story chose Abraham's fear of God as the way in which God's intentions would be revealed. Enjoyed your hub. Have a nice day.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 3 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Paul: What about the story of Jepthah's daughter. God didn't spare her, and she was sacrificed in order for Jepthah to keep his promise to god after god helped him in battle. God has no problems in people killing others, so your logic is therefore flawed.

The bible says that god is an angry, jealous god - and the bible is supposed to be his word, is it not? When god chooses human words to describe himself, it seems in line with the idea that he has human qualities. Then again for a god that also admits that he creates evil, what would you expect?


Porshadoxus profile image

Porshadoxus 3 years ago from the straight and narrow way

I would say that humans have God qualities- such as anger, etc.

And God did not create evil. Instead, He allowed each created being the choice to accept or reject His authority. Rejection of God's authority results in evil.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 3 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

According to the Bible itself, god claims to create evil. Isaiah 45:7


Jnich2 profile image

Jnich2 3 years ago Author

Paul the point of my article isn't really what God wants but that Christians have used this scripture to teach unwavering obedience. I agree that God had no intention of letting Abraham kill his son but I take it one step further; I believe that God did not tell Abraham to sacrifice his son.


Porshadoxus profile image

Porshadoxus 3 years ago from the straight and narrow way

Isaiah 45:7 must be viewed with 45:5-7 in context. God is proclaiming Himself as the one true God; there are no others. In verse 7, God claims to have made both light and darkness, concepts which were worshiped as deities in ancient times. God also claims to 'make peace and create evil.' The idea here of evil is to be viewed as opposite of peace, the consequences of sin. If we choose to reject God's authority, He can and does send consequences, just as His covenant with Israel promised.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 3 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

mmhmm...sure. And you're the only one that has the correct context and god himself is wrong. Gotcha. Such a typical apologists trick. Context is everything and don't pay attention to what the book actually says. That kind of intellectual dishonesty tells me everything I need to know about your arguments.


Porshadoxus profile image

Porshadoxus 3 years ago from the straight and narrow way

How can you ignore the context? The history, culture, language, people groups, religion, mythology, surrounding verses, etc. all lead to the author's meaning. Ignoring context leads to ascribing whatever meaning we want to the text. 'What the book actually says' is impossible to determine outside of context.

This concept applies to all writing. There are those in America that ignore the context in which the Constitution was written, instead preferring to take meaning based on more modern situations. Bad idea.

And I never said I was the only person to have the correct context. You have assumed such an attitude on my part. Your lack of understanding of hermeneutic principles is evident.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 3 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

As a graduate from one of the top bible colleges in the country, I am hardly ignorant of hermeneutic principles or nuances - but hermeneutics is the go-to excuse that apologists turn to when the bible says something that they don't want it to say. The hebrew word is not dark. It's evil. God himself, if you believe that he inspired the bible, is proud to say that he created evil, and no matter how you choose to spin it, the fact that it's there is undeniable and unavoidable. Context is important, yes - but it's not the only factor to be considered. Since I read the bible in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, you have to also go to the source and understand the historical and cultural references as well. You come across as someone who knows just enough to think they can hold their own, but not enough to actually make a valid point for consideration. Your lack of understanding of what the Hebrew word actually is and what it means culturally is unfortunately evident as well.


Porshadoxus profile image

Porshadoxus 3 years ago from the straight and narrow way

I also am a Bible college graduate.

Your previous comment implies that you are willing to ignore the context and look at the surface value of the words as you understand them in English. That will not lead you to what the writer's true meaning. Your last comment has you agreeing with me by taking into account culture, history, etc. All those factors are the context.

Your last two comments are in conflict, arguing for both sides. Pointless to continue since you can't decide where you stand.

Unfollowed.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 3 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

lol - all I was saying is that context is a go-to response for everything unpleasant in biblical literature and your assumptions about my knowledge on the subject as well as linguistic considerations followed by your subsequent refusal to continue the conversation proves beyond doubt your intellectual dishonesty and your inability to see both sides of the coin. I'd prefer to discuss these manners with someone who is at least willing to admit that intellectual dishonesty does not lead to continued conversations on the subject matter as a whole.


Jnich2 profile image

Jnich2 3 years ago Author

J can I ask what school you graduated from? Have you heard of Bart Ehrman? I love his work.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 3 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

I graduated from Biola - and I've actually had the privileged of hearing Ehrman speak.


Jnich2 profile image

Jnich2 3 years ago Author

I am currently working on a hub about the history of the gospels that was inspired by Ehrman's lectures.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 3 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

I have to state that I am not in agreement with Ehrman's latest book. I don't think it's accurate to assume that a person named jesus christ actually ever existed, and I think there is significant evidence that points to the fact that he may not have. I don't think it will ever be possible to claim for certain either way, but it's certainly in question. You might want to check out a book by David Fitzgerald called Nailed: 10 christian myths that prove that Jesus never existed at all


Jnich2 profile image

Jnich2 3 years ago Author

I'll add it to my list. Right now I'm working on The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 3 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

While I don't agree with everything David lays out, it's relatively convincing to at least cast a doubt on the historical figure of jesus. I highly recommend it. I'm currently reading Drunk with Blood - God's killing in the bible


Jnich2 profile image

Jnich2 3 years ago Author

Just read the review for that one. Sounds good.


sweetie1 profile image

sweetie1 3 years ago from India

Jnich, I m not a christian so do not understand the back ground of your blog but sure it did make an interesting reading.


Jnich2 profile image

Jnich2 3 years ago Author

Thanks... Yes this is a very American article. I am very interested by other religions though.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working