Tests of Faith—Then vs Now

How faith in god is tested today—the greatest test of all time.

What exactly today is the greatest test of faith? Strong faith, promoted as a self sustaining virtue of religious belief, is the cornerstone, the footing, the walls and the capstone of religion. None stand to keep the whole intact without faith. We’ve discussed how mental trickery and indoctrination is used for faith gained, but how is it tested?

There are stories of Abraham, Moses, Jesus on the high mountain, as well as the apostles that had tests of their faith. But in what way is faith tested today? What is it measured against? What is it today that is the ultimate test of devotion? —your resistance against knowledge.

Abraham had it easy. He was tested to see if he would kill his only son in a time of brutality. A violent social normalcy that was already laden with superstition. He heard voices, and followed the (accepted by the day) promptings, and at the last second had woken from his trancelike state and withheld his hand. So what? In a time where little was understood about disease, gods accounted for everything from rain to floods, lightening to drought, God was interwoven into the psyche and dreams of everyone for every thing. His command to kill his son was difficult, but acceptable to him as a means to appease a god.

Other stories of zealousy are quite easily attributed to the times and the passion of religious fervor and power. Knowledge was shunned, separated, imprisoned, suppressed, and heretical so faith could thrive, only on an uneven field in a vacuum. Very uneven!

Today the faithful are tested at every turn with facts—overwhelming explanations that replace god, so warnings resonate from the pulpits and broadcasts, poisoning the well ahead of academics, indoctrinating young and old with continuous barrages of false oppression—all to guard them against embracing knowledge—for in the face of evidence, chronic denial and mediocre scholarship is the key to maintaining faith.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

60 thoughts on “Tests of Faith—Then vs Now”

  1. What about people who find excuses to change their beliefs just enough to accommodate facts? I was one such person when I believed. The nasty stuff persisted while other things changed. It didn’t lead to any internal turmoil. Rather, it took breaking the urge to make excuses for me to finally make my stand.

    I think the urge to deny conflict of faith with facts is strongest when people ask, “What’s the harm?” It draws thinking about these things away from specific instances to general platitudes where nobody can be accountable for their beliefs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Faith gives some people a reason to behave. To not be the natural a-holes that they are. It’s their shield. I don’t mind that they practice their beliefs as long as they don’t try to convert me.
    Imagine what monsters they would be without their harness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely can speak to the core. Unless of course everyone needs their religion but them. I have had Christians comment that they’d be horrible people without faith. Maybe it’s necessary for those in it to keep from hating more than they already do.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I do think this applies more to the apologist types than the regular guy trying to live a decent life. Maybe overcompensating? The more vocal the deeper the closets tend to be.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Even when we willingly embrace the ‘ facts’ as revealed by science we still have to live our lives and deal with all the moral problems the world presents to us . We still have to decide what sort of life we wish to live , unless of course we are too busy struggling to survive.
    Most of us in the richest parts of the world have been cosseted all of our lives with all the benefits of modern civilisation and it’s a lifestyle that’s not easy to sacrifice.
    As science reveals this army of facts it also presents us with a host of toys to keep us amused and happy ; we can play with our phones , fly our drones ( not too near airports) , engage in discussions on media platforms , browse the myriad of shops , watch our favorite TV , go to a mince pie and Carol service, talk to our relations we seldom see.
    So here we are with chock a block full lives . I saw December daffodil today , all alone , shaking it’s yellow head in the breeze . The sun had not yet risen but the dawn clouds were full of white lustre . For a moment I felt like Wordsworth except he saw a host , but one is better than none and my climbing days are over.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a great little line there! Here, the deer wait under the forested canopy, like statues enduring the bitter morning frost, waiting to be fed…I throw them bread. Our daffodils lay wanting, beneath the frost and snow, waiting ’til death warms over

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Exactly! Science and history have greatly disprove many religions! And my study if both reinforces my secular beliefs 🙂 In the holiday spirit, I would like to note I celebrate Christmas as my family albeit non-practicing is Christian. For us though, it’s not about religion or Jesus so much as it is about family cherishing each other 🙂 My reason for the season 😉
    https://aladyofreason.wordpress.com/2018/12/24/baby-its-triggering-outside/

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Faith seems to be a subtle blend of the intrinsic need to believe reinforced with insidious brain washing from a very early age. Our temporal lobe wiring seems to dictate our intrinsic needs to believe if any. Often wonder if this intrinsic need aspect has any genetic component that is passed from one generation to the next. Consider myself fortunate to have a natural immunity to all religious influences.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. The brainwashing must compensate for the lack of gods actual influence. I acquired my immunity from little luck and a WP debate 5 yeas ago. Now I self administer the antidote almost daily. Thanks for stopping by Ken.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. In a related note, I have OCD, and the higher my stress levels, the more intense my if/then thinking becomes. As in if I don’t do things in very particular ways, disaster will strike (despite rationally knowing it won’t). I have the impression the same mechanism is at play in the religious mind.

      Liked by 5 people

    1. You just don’t know what your missing! I think the faithful can be extremely courageous—who else can admit to believing publicly a fantastic tale that is run by an unimaginable, incomprehensible, unknowable, unfathomable entity that makes you desire to be ruled—and be proud of it?

      Liked by 4 people

            1. I had a brother that was indoctrinated as bad as me. He never did buy it all. He wound up leaving home over the whole thing when he was 16. It caused a lot of friction in the family. We’re great friends now, but I really admire his tenacity calling bullshit at a young age.

              Liked by 3 people

            2. It got pretty ugly there for a while because he was going to hell. He is still bothered by it at times. My mom actually told him several times he’d go to hell. We were a pretty resourceful bunch. He did well on his own, although much easier in the 70’s.

              Liked by 2 people

            3. It all really bothered him a few years ago when mom died and went to heaven—the funeral was all church. At least me and bro will be in hell with the rest of you. Lol

              Liked by 2 people

      1. Incoherent ontological heathen!
        It is all to do with Relationship, dontcha know? About having the Holy Spirit come inside you so’s you can develop an other centered love for Jesus …. or something.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. I’ll take this one step further CA. Faith is not believing in things you have not seen. Faith is believing others stories of things they have not seen either. What part of unknowable, unimaginable, incomprehensible, has any one yet seen? Nobody. Solely imagination.

        Liked by 3 people

          1. Exactly. Everything ever created, built or accomplished is the fruit of imagination. As indeed is every person. As is the world we call home.

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            1. Hmm you make a leap here. Everything we do requires some thought or imagination, but that doesn’t mean we were created by someone else’s imagination. We have a good understanding of how our world was made, that doesn’t require a creator. As for how everything initiated, that’s debatable but we can’t just replace the unknown with a creator.

              Liked by 3 people

    1. Is it any wonder that you’ve made up a new definition for faith, given how many other things you make up your own definition for. It’s the only way you can’t be wrong. It’s using the evolved brain to maintain your status in society through any mean you can. Well done.

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      1. That’s an interesting observation. This week a guy from South Carolina made a very interesting analysis on a post of mine. Probably the best I’ve seen. He left religion and, after five years he finally rationalized his way back in. That’s what it took to believe. A cleverly worded bypass on reason.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Most christians would not believe god actually spoke to Abraham to kill his son, if Abraham lived in the 21st century

    Jonathan is quite right.

    Similarly if another human took away your happiness in the same way God (over a little wager with the devil no less) did to Job this is not someone we would ever faith in to restore happiness, even if we believed they had the power to do so, we would simply not want that person as part of our lives. The story of Job, if taken literally, is just a horror show. Maybe we should be happy that Christians are only tested by facts. As John Zande often argues, stories like the one of Job could only make you argue for a malevolent creator, because if such standards were to apply to any human, that person would simply be a monster. And you would be right to never to trust that person again.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Yep. I’m picturing the original voodoo doll as you relate that tale. God is love. Lover of what? Taken at face value it’s not very pretty. You just don’t know how to interpret scripture.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Take many of the stories in the Bible, things which God supposedly did, and apply them to humans. Imagine if a judge had a person thrown into a lake of fire for eternity because they lied one time, and didn’t worship said judge as their lord and savior?

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Yes the Bible is full of punitive justice over restorative justice. In many ways though Jesus Christ is pro restorative justice, but many followers of the bible don’t subscribe to that mentality.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. And this is where religion becomes scary. Society (especially modern societies with global problems) cannot function if a large portion of its population is not only detached from reality, but actively working against the common good.

    Liked by 6 people

  8. This makes me wonder how many (%-wise) who say they believe, or who actually practice any religion, do not believe (or have faith, or almost none). I understand the closet thing and maybe that is what I am thinking about. But I harbored non-belief (yet practiced religion) for a long time. I then stopped religion for years before I said that I did not believe any of it, and it was even later that I embraced the word atheist followed by the mantra, ‘there are no gods.’ The questioning seems to be the sin and ignorance the glory of god. Feels weird just to type that nonsense.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. That is addressed along the way as well. Statements to hedge the coming doubt are laid out in stories, then, “god is just testing your faith” is a mental play leading to acquiescence. “I just believe” is the end result that closes off the believer to even believe something as obvious as climate change. The ability to discount pure reason becomes hard wired with practice, then at that point there is very little that can be said to crack open a nut.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. No doubt there would be many who do the whole church thing but don’t actually believe anymore inside. I was in that position for a while. I wonder how many PASTORS don’t believe though? How much sunken costs would be involved in committing to that?

      Liked by 3 people

  9. Most christians would not believe god actually spoke to Abraham to kill his son, if Abraham lived in the 21st century

    The greatest test of faith for many religious individuals in the 21st century is the ability to turn a blind eye, close up your ears to what we know through science, history and archaeology etc

    Liked by 3 people

    1. While the ancients favored heroic stories, facing down death in the eye, those examples inspire today’s believer into thinking they have it easy. Just believing today is a willful act of ignorance, and to maintain faith, one must avoid the temptation to even look at what is being discovered.

      Liked by 4 people

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