Our new monthly feature excerpted from Dave Hunt's book of the same title.
"A Leap in the Dark"
Question: I have always understood that there is a difference between belief and faith--that belief is based upon fact and that faith, since it is related to religion, must be divorced from evidence and reason. That seems reasonable, but lately I've been wondering whether, and why, this should be true. Can you help me?
Response: You are struggling with a serious misunderstanding that has brought multitudes throughout his-tory into religious bondage. The Bible puts belief and faith on an equal footing, with no difference between them. Common sense itself and a little reflection will tell you that faith must have as sure a factual foundation as belief. Faith is not a leap in the dark. Furthermore, faith in God and His Word, because it involves eternal matters, is far more important than belief about things of this life.
Faith, therefore, ought to have an even more solid basis than mere belief. One may be willing to allow some uncertainty in earthly matters, but only a fool would be comfortable with even the smallest degree of doubt in things that affect him eternally. No wonder the great Apostle Paul wrote, "Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good" (1 Thessalonians:5:21).
Luke tells us that during the 40 days Jesus spent with His disciples after His resurrection, He "showed himself alive . . . by many infallible proofs" (Acts:1:3). Clearly, Christ did not consider it enough merely to show Him-self to His disciples without providing irrefutable evidence of His resurrection. He considered it both legitimate and essential to prove that He was the very same One who had been crucified and that He had risen from the dead in the same body (but now in a new and glorious form) that had been placed lifeless in the grave.
"Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself," Christ told the shocked disciples the first time He came to them after His resurrection. "Handle me and see, for a spirit [ghost] hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" (Luke:24:39). They had thought they were seeing a ghost, but He proved otherwise to them. To doubting Thomas, who had not been present on this first occasion, Christ declared later: "Reach hither thy finger and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand and thrust it into my side . . ." (John:20:27). Here was irrefutable, tangible evidence.
It is only common sense that strict proof should be demanded before making a commitment or an investment in this life. How much more important, then, to be absolutely certain, based upon solid proof, before accepting by faith those things which affect one's eternal destiny. True "faith," as we shall see, can only be founded upon fact--not upon feelings, intuition, or emotion. Much less does faith arise out of blind submission to some religious authority.