Sunday, May 4, 2014

Faith and Blind Faith

As part of a long discussion thread on Facebook the other day, a friend of a friend who subscribes to no religion stated that he thought "faith and blind faith were synonymous."

I was quite surprised that anyone would make that mistake, and my first reaction was "REALLY? Wow. So that's what you think of believers." Yes, it felt a little insulting.

But I thought better of it and deleted that response before posting. I realized that for some people who are unacquainted with faith, the two might actually seem like similar phenomena. Instead, I wrote:

"Faith and blind faith are indeed different things. Faith is confirmed in the believer via a spiritual experience. Blind faith is uncritical acceptance. One is validated, the other is not. To conflate them is to misunderstand spirituality at a fundamental level."

For what it's worth, he liked my comment.

But it got me thinking...while my on-the-fly definitions were, I think, a pretty decent way to explain the distinction between "faith" and "blind faith," I think "blind faith" gets a little bit of a bad rap, as if it is an illegitimate way of thinking and feeling - something only for foolish people.

In fact, I think "faith" and "blind faith" are only different because they are at opposite ends of the same spectrum - the spectrum of belief. Much of what we call faith (as I described above - a knowledge or sense of truth that is confirmed by the Holy Ghost) might actually start out as "blind faith" (that which is uncritically accepted because it has not yet been confirmed).

And really, there's nothing wrong with that.

It's quite noble that someone who is not yet mature in his faith would take that "leap" and believe without having yet had a confirmation. Isn't that how belief starts for anyone? You may only have a desire to believe. Blind faith is perhaps the act of planting that seed in your heart, and nourishing it, and patiently awaiting its growth as it blossoms into a much more confident - and thus less-blind - faith.

So, blind faith is not - in and of itself - a bad thing. However, it's best if it is nourished, and grows and develops - via confirmation of the Holy Ghost - into a faith that is solid and sure and supported by a lifetime of personal spiritual experiences that strengthen the faith and make it unshakable, because it is built on the foundation of Christ. However, if blind faith is all you can muster - if you are, for whatever reason - unable to meet the challenge of developing your faith beyond the blind variety - I am sure you will still be blessed, as long as your faith is placed correctly.

One final thought: it may be easy to mistake faith for blind faith because a faith that is strong results in not having to question and confirm every little thing. For example: if the prophet issued an official statement regarding a certain point of doctrine, I would automatically accept it. While this might appear to some to be "blind faith," it is in fact the consequence of having already decided, as an act of non-blind faith, to follow my prophet and believe that he is the mouthpiece of the Lord Jesus Christ on the earth today. Yes, we are encouraged to pray about what the prophet says and get our own confirmation of the truth, but there comes a point when such an exercise is not always necessary, because of the nature and strength of your well-developed faith. Another example: once I knew the Book of Mormon was true, there was no need to ask in prayer, after every verse, if that verse was also true. I just knew it was true in its entirety, and did not require constant confirmations every step of the way and with every turn of the page. My faith was strong, not blind.

So while I can see how a non-religious person might get it mixed up, faith and blind faith are definitely different...but blind faith can grow into faith, and faith might even sometimes look like blind faith, just because it is so well-founded.

What do you think? Did any of that make sense? What kind of faith do you have?

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