Faith, Hope and Charity: Faith Is NOT Belief!

The first of a 3-part series. Faith is NOT Belief! What faith is and what it isn’t. If you have thought that faith is belief, you may change your mind. What Sam Harris gets right. A personal example of doubt and success. Detailed evidence on defining faith and how it fits as the starting point in this attributal progression of Faith, Hope & Charity.

Faith, Hope And Charity: Faith Is NOT Belief!

 

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Raw Transcript

 

Faith is NOT a Belief

 

and he’s created this cosmos as a vast

laboratory in which to test our powers

of credulity and the test is this can

you believe in this God on bad evidence

which is to say on faith all right some

of you may recognize that voice as Sam

Harris he is one of the new atheists or

one of the more popular atheist right

now and a child of the Enlightenment

we’ll go over things about him a little

bit more in just a minute but first I

want to say this is the first in a

series of three episodes on faith hope

and charity I want to go over how each

of them begets the next in other words

faith begets hope and hope begets

charity there are numerous examples of

this in the scriptures and that

follow this model and we have of course

Paul writing about this in the New

Testament and we also have Mormon who

talks about this through his son Moroni

I believe that they probably have the

same source that they’re pulling from

somebody that perhaps is in the brass

plates that we do not have in the

current Old Testament but that is a

source that Paul uses probably when he

went to Arabia after he was converted

went from Saul to Paul he spent a couple

years in Arabia learning more about true

Christianity and about really true what

would it be then true Judaism which was

all about

and so they both I think are pulling

from the same ancient source my

claim in this episode that I’m basing

everything off of is that faith is not

belief I think this is really important

I think that if we treat faith the first

principle of the gospel as belief that

we are selling ourselves short and we’re

putting ourselves in a very difficult

position where we want to say that our

belief is what grounds us when it

doesn’t I think that belief is something

as a house built on sand and faith is

something that is built on a rock and

there’s a big difference in this time

now with the Internet where there are so

many different influences and

information that is out there if we

simply have a belief it is not going to

be enough to fight against the

misinformation that’s out there and it’s

very easy for me to say I believe in the

gospel I believe in the church and for

somebody else to simply say well I don’t

believe in the church there has to be

something that goes well beyond that

beyond just belief and if we treat

belief only or excuse me faith only as

belief then we are selling ourselves

short both in our testimonies and in the

way that we live I want to play Sam

Harris one more time I want you to

listen to this again and see what he

says because I actually like something

that he says let’s listen to this and

he’s created this cosmos as a vast

laboratory in which to test our powers

of credulity and the test is this can

you believe in this God on bad evidence

which is to say on faith okay at least

he says bad evidence at least he

understands perhaps that faith is based

on evidence and it is based on evidence

now if you don’t think that it is

I want you to rethink things and it’s my

goal in this episode to change your mind

if you think that evidence is not

required for faith because it is it is

what faith is evidence and so we’re

going to go through that through

suffering several different approaches

to get to at least what I understand to

be faith there are a lot of podcasts a

lot of YouTube videos a lot of books

that are out there about the existence

of God a lot of them focus on the

Enlightenment and they talk about

science and a new knowledge that we have

over the last few hundred years or so

that focuses more on observation

physical observation I like what I hear

from these sources of

information there there’s a lot of truth

to science there’s a lot of truth to

what we have brought out of the

Enlightenment and I believe that the

Enlightenment is a product of Western

civilization and ultimately a product of

Christianity and but most of these focus

simply on physical observation and they

turn science into the new religion and

science into the new faith and I want to

show how faith spiritual faith works

very similar to the way physical science

works it is evidence it is observation

and it is experience but not just from

viewing in fact it’s the opposite of

viewing as we do in science but it is

experiencing and as we go through

certain experiences we gain a greater

and greater faith evidence is the

bedrock of faith I will say that I’ll

tell you a little bit about my

experience with I wouldn’t call it a

full faith crisis but I will say that

there were several things that really

bothered me I was going through my later

20s into early 30s when the Internet was

just coming around I remember sitting in

my basement

waiting for a web page to download about

every 30 seconds I was on prodigy which

was an Internet service at the time and

I started you know I remember surfing

the Internet very very very slowly and I

remember eventually finding certain

sites and information about the church

and things that bothered me a

little bit there are things that I was not

taught in church there are things I didn’t

learn through the books that I read

while I was on my mission and afterward

and I had made a definite effort after

my mission to continue studying the

gospel on a regular basis and have

followed through on that ever since then

but this was new information and it and

it hurt me it bothered me it pulled at

me and at times it really caused a

tumult in me spiritually and I

would wonder about it and these were

facts right this was information that

either I didn’t quite understand yet or

that flew in the face

in some cases of things that I

believed were true and I you may have

possibly gone through something like

this yourself or maybe are going through

something like this yourself and you

have been online especially or you’ve

talked to others or you go into reddit

or you listen to certain podcasts or you

see certain YouTube videos and all it

takes is a little seed of doubt you’ve

probably noticed that that just a little

seed of doubt can cause real real

problem and I saw several of my friends

and others around me that went through

this process also and did end up in a

full faith crisis and several of them

did leave the church I remember being in

Elders’ quorum and having somebody

that I knew very well it was a little

bit older than me just bringing up point

after point after point in elders quorum

of things that he had read online and

and was in chat rooms on and that

the elders quorum president and the

teacher and anybody else in that room

probably couldn’t answer at that point

very few could have answered it at those

questions at that point and he left the

church and several others have done that

I didn’t end up doing that and I think

that there were a couple of reasons for

that I think each of us by the way has

to go through some kind of trial some

kind of spiritual trial of testimony of

our faith because that’s the only way it

grows and we have to really look very

deep inside eventually and press

ourselves as to what we really are going

to rely on and how we are going to live

each day in what type of faith system

we’re going to live and this of course

happened with me and I remember as I

would look at these facts that were

online whether it was about the Book of

Mormon or the Book of Abraham or of

course the never-ceasing

stones that are hurled at Joseph Smith I

finally came to a couple of conclusions

number one I did a lot more studying and

I said to myself I’m just going to keep

studying I’m going to keep looking into

these sayings I’m going to keep pondering

them and trying to understand some of

these things and number two what I

realized what that was that there were

two different types of knowledge one was

a knowledge of facts things that or

non facts things that I could read

online or somewhere else in a chat room

somewhere and number two there was my

personal experience and what I realized

over time was that the personal

experience was much stronger than

anything I could read or learn

whether it was good or bad and the

personal experience is what brought me

through that faith crisis or those

difficult times

I knew based on my experience that as I

tried certain principles out in the

Gospel as I as I leaned on the Lord as I

focused more and more on prayer as I

studied the scriptures more on a regular

basis as I focused on my family and

relationships that were around me that

this worked and it worked in a way that

it cleaned up my life more it made my

life better it made my relationships

better it strengthened my testimony and

it strengthened my faith and I had gone

through a mission and I had seen

people’s lives change for the better and

I had seen them rely on principles that

were brought forth through the restored

gospel and not just in Christianity in

general and not just in an existence of

God though that was part of it of course

but through the restored gospel through

Joseph Smith and I can’t deny those

things and I don’t I can’t deny what I

felt I can’t deny what I saw I can’t

deny the what I know those individuals

went through and what I went through as

I as I passed through those experiences

and any amount of fact or fiction that

is thrown at me has got to go up against

that and I can then take that fact or

fiction and I can work through it and I

can spend some time and eventually try

and fit it into a puzzle and see if it

fits or if it doesn’t fit now if I don’t

have that experience if I don’t have the

personal day-to-day spiritual experience

where I have learned to lean on the Lord

and lean on gospel principles then my

belief is not going to carry me through

it’s not going to be enough I have to

have experience with success I have to

have experience with success in gospel

principles and then I can start looking

at things a little

differently and little by little grow

that puzzle or that tree if you will if

we’re talking about Alma and his

experiment little by little that can

grow more and more and as these pieces

of the puzzle come in I can fit them in

somewhere or you know what they don’t

fit or I put them on the shelf and wait

and try and study a little bit more and

see if I can fit them into things there

is no question that we don’t know

everything that the Brethren don’t know

everything and that the books that are

written by General Authorities and

Mormon scholars don’t have all of the

answers but the more you study these

things and especially the scriptures the

more you delve into them the more you

start seeing certain patterns and you

start seeing a puzzle that forms and you

start understanding what is fact and

what is fiction and you start saying to

yourself well I already know that this

is true now I have leaned on all of this

I know this intellectually and you can

say something that doesn’t make any

sense and it’s going to bounce off because

too much of it is already true too much

of the puzzle is already in place

I can see enough of the puzzle that is

sound and true that if you try and put

something in that says the puzzle is a

different image I already know you’re

wrong

and I know that from personal experience

I know that from being told by the

spirit I know that intellectually from

studying and so that to me is how faith

is built so let’s go over a few of these

things and look at really in a little

more technical sense what faith is to me

as I say in the subtitle

my podcast it’s practical theology it is

practical it is not a nebulous thing out

in the air somewhere like I believe

belief is in a sense belief is a great

starting point but it’s not enough it’s

the first step toward having faith it is

not the following I had I I read this

online and I was really disappointed

when I saw this but this is one pastor

I’m sure a good guy but this is

something where it is so misleading to

people and it’s going to weaken your

testimony and weaken your faith in God

if you follow this but I’m going to read

this to you so you know what it’s not he

says faith and trust this is all about

trust faith and Trust are two entirely

different things

one may even argue convincingly faith

and trust are contradictory faith has

been called the substance of hope faith

requires no evidence for belief nor

practice no this is the exact wrong

thing this is the exact opposite of

faith faith requires evidence that’s

what faith is it is the result of

evidence is the substance of evidence

otherwise it’s just what we would call

blind faith which is just a belief it’s

just saying I believe in this I believe

in that it’s not faith it’s nothing

concrete it is only a start and if you

believe that faith and trust are

contradictory then you don’t know what

faith is faith is not belief faith is

trust and if you think of it in those

terms

faith is trust then you’ll have a better

understanding of what faith is how do

you build trust

it’s the same answer is how do you build

faith because they’re one in the same

thing if we believe that faith and

belief are the same thing we’re going to

be very weak in what we believe it’s not

it’s not anything that’s concrete it

just doesn’t work you’re going to have

doubts because facts and fiction are

encroaching in on your belief but when

facts and fiction encroach in on faith

on trust that is already built then that

changes everything you have to have a

knowledge first before you can have

faith and a lot of people think it’s the

other way around it’s not you have got

to have knowledge before you have faith

and you have to have those two types of

knowledge right you have to have factual

knowledge and you have to have

experiential knowledge in Spanish for

example and in Latin you have those two

distinguish as far as knowledge goes

there’s savvy Judea or severe to know to

know something or to know of something

and then there is Co know said to know

something intimately or to know

something by experience by familiarity

and that one the latter is the most

important of the two but both are

required McConkie goes over this and he

says this very specifically in his new

witness to the Articles of Faith his

last book and he specifically says you

have to know about the character of God

and know who he is to some degree before

you can start exercising faith in Him

how do you have faith in something you

don’t know anything about because it’s

not belief you can’t trust in something

that’s not perfect or that isn’t true so

you have to have that knowledge of

something first secondly you’ve got to

have an experience an experiential

knowledge of something before you can

really exercise faith let’s look at an

example say with your spouse or any

member of your family the more you know

them the more you know you can trust

them or you know areas at least of where

you can trust them

and Trust is a very interesting thing

it’s very common for philosophers to

talk about suffering being the greatest

reality we know there is reality because

there is suffering and when people are

closest to suffering they are closest to

reality and I think that’s true but I

think it’s limited I think that you also

need to look at faith faith is one of

those principles that you cannot fake

think about it think about somebody you

know well think about people you trust

and people you don’t trust and think

about why and think about what it’s

taken for you to get to that point in

that relationship where you have that

trust you have faith in them faith is

something you rely on and why do you

rely on it because you’ve had experience

with it or with that person or with that

principle and you know it works you know

that it works so you can trust in it and

you can rely on it let’s go back to

Hebrews 1:1 R 11:1 and this is where the

author of Hebrews gives us a very

specific definition of faith and it’s

probably the best definition in the

scriptures of faith let’s look at this

thing and parse it out here now faith is

the substance of things hoped for it’s

not hope it’s the substance of things

hoped for it’s in other words it is what

is already there in place for you to

hope and it’s the evidence the evidence

of things not seen

think again of trust the evidence of

things that are not seen it is evidence

the New Living Translation gives us

another word

that defines faith very well it says

faith is the confidence that what we

hope for will actually happen the

confidence right that what we hope for

will actually happen two things to look

at here one is that caught that we get

the new word confidence think about what

it takes to have confidence in something

you can’t just believe in it you have to

you have to have experience to have

confidence in something and we hope for

it’s what we will hope for which will

actually happen so we’re looking toward

the future it’s a way of living when we

have greater faith we can live for a

brighter future right you because you

can be relying you can live in a state

of mind and of heart and of spirit where

you can rely on things in the future and

the more you can rely on spiritual

eternal principles for your future the

more sound you are spiritually and the

greater your testimony is it gives us

going back to the new translation it

gives us assurance about things that we

cannot see faith is one of those things

that you cannot see like love is love

real is you know how do we define love

it’s something that you can’t see it’s a

state of mind it’s a state of being it’s

what we do it’s how we act faith is

something that is not seen an assurance

going all the way to verse 3 then in

Hebrews 11 it also says through faith we

understand that the worlds were framed

by the Word of God

so even God to create he creates through

faith it’s not just belief I’m sure he

believes it but it’s not enough he

doesn’t create through belief he creates

a future he creates through time by

faith by trusting purely on eternal

principles so that things which

scene it continues were not made of

things which do appear so again it’s

talking about that thing that is not

seen it is a spiritual principle the

most powerful spiritual principle of

faith that governs the future and that

creates the future and fact and fiction

that might be thrown at you should be

very weak and measurable compared to

your faith I find it interesting that

love is the opposite of fear we hear

that in the New Testament as well and

going along with my theory of a tribunal

progression that is going from faith

which begets Hope which then begets

charity or love then faith is where love

begins fear is an expectation of the

future as well just as faith is as our

faith grows then our expectation of a

certain future grows as fear grows the

opposite of charity because charity

begins with faith as fear grows then we

also have a certain expectation of

our future and I believe that’s why

we’re told that fear is the opposite of

love give you another example of

faith in in a practical sense I’ve got a

friend that I used to see at the gym

quite a bit and he would always be on

the bike and he’d be cycling away and

sweating up a storm in and sometimes

he’d see me over on the other side of

the gym which is where the weights were

and we’d talk oftentimes and he’d come

over and toward where we were but he

wouldn’t go all the way into the weight

area because yeah you know the weights

are in an area where it’s carpeted and

then everywhere else in the gym has just

got solid floor

and so he would stop at the carpet and

he would and I would say hey you ought

to come over here and start lifting

some weights and you would say no I

don’t I don’t go over there

I don’t go past that line he doesn’t go

into the carpenter he never has in his

life he’s never literally lifted weights

in his life and so there’s a certain

maybe expectation he doesn’t know what

to expect and yet if he were to actually

step over that line and start lifting

and little by little he would start

seeing some gains and he would start

seeing progress and he would see that he

is able to lift more and more weight he

would feel better he would be stronger

and all of the natural consequences that

come along with lifting weights would be

there for him

because his and his faith would grow

more and more in that thing because he

would lift more and he would get me

greater and greater gains as he as he

moved forward and so that’s a practical

example of how faith would work we do

the same thing spiritually when we take

a principle such as prayer and we

actually learn to really not just not

just have gratitude in our prayers not

just ask for the things that we need but

we actually lean on it and start to

trust it and internalize it and use it

as a principle in our lives and see how

our life changes automatically as a

result of daily prayer or keeping a

prayer in your heart then we know that

it’s true and that is the greatest

knowledge that you can have and think

about that that’s a challenge I would

give you because I’ve experienced this

so I have a testimony of it I have faith

in prayer I know it works that doesn’t

mean that I go out and I say I use a

typical sacrament meeting or primary

example of you know hey I was looking

for my lost keys

and I said a prayer I found them I don’t

discount that but what I’m saying is is

that when I pray on a regular basis

I find that my hierarchy of values are

straightened out I find that I am more

humble and I find that because I come

before the Lord on a daily basis and

that I am accountable and that changes

my life so I have faith in that thing

because I can trust it as a principle

let’s go to dictionary.com

I love going to take scenery calm the

reason is is because I love looking not

at the definition of words but at the

word origin or the etymology of words

it’s like the DNA of a word and it gives

me so much depth to a word you really

understand the words when you go to the

word origin instead of just the I

actually rarely go to the definition of

a certain word I go right down to the

word origin that’s where I learn

about the word a lot more but I am going

to talk about the definition here on

dictionary.com this is this is actually

what is written at dictionary.com

about faith it sits well done the number

one definition is confidence or trust in

a person or thing faith in another’s

ability of course to have faith in

another’s ability you would have to see

that they’ve done it right you’d have to

have some kind of experience knowledge

at least that would give you some type

of faith in someone’s ability

number two is not what faith is number

two is the following it’s the same as

that that pastor had said belief that is

not based on proof now again when I say

proof I’m not talking about a sign

I’m not saying show me a sign first and

then I’ll believe that’s not what

evidence is and that is not what the

Scriptures teach

but the Scriptures teach is evidence

through experience by trying it out

let’s look at the etymology on the word

faith itself and get a better idea this

gives us a much better idea of what the

the actual word faith means it’s from

the Latin Fodor a right federa

which means to trust right it’s from the

root for dari we can think of different

words such as fidelity right to be and

Trust comes from the word true it’s a

fidelity or to be true to someone or

have fidelity with someone confidence is

with trust right it’s with trust the

etymology of trust the word trust which

is an old English word comes from

proudness or trowel which means trueness

you know or truth which is translated as

loyalty or honest or trustworthy as in

being true to Christ or trusting in

Christ so when the first English

translators of the Latin Vulgate which

was translated by Jerome used the

Vulgate to make translations into the

English they chose in the New Testament

to use the word federa and to end up

with the word faith right they use the

word faith and unfortunately faith has

grown to a an understanding the term

faith has grown to into an understanding

of belief much more than it is trust the

word the Greek word pistis in the New

Testament should almost always be

translated as trust and not faith and I

think that we would learn a little bit

different our lessons on faith would be

different if we if we had that word in

the new

estimate moraz trust now in the old

testament it’s very different they use

from the word usually though usually the

Hebrew is a moon it is trust and so

I ran a word search in the

old and the New Testaments and here’s

what happened when I were to ran their

term faith when I ran the word faith in

the Old Testament the word faith comes

up twice that’s it two times now you ask

yourself well was faith a part of the

gospel for the Jews for the Israelites

for Abraham Isaac and Jacob for Adam and

Enoch and Noah and all the others of

course it was and yet the word faith is

only used twice in the entire Old

Testament in the New Testament two

hundred and twenty nine times and then I

ran a word search on trust in the Old

Testament a hundred and twenty nine

times and in the New Testament only

thirty four and so you can see the

switch here that was made in the Old

Testament the word trust is used such as

in proverbs 3:5 I believe it is trust in

the Lord with all thy heart and lean not

unto thine own understanding or have

faith in the Lord but in the New

Testament it’s not used as much and

faith rarely ever used in the Old

Testament another scripture that we

oftentimes use for faith is Alma 32:21

and that’s an interesting scripture let

me read it here it says and now as I

said concerning faith faith is not to

have a perfect knowledge of things

because they haven’t come to pass yet

therefore if you have faith ye hope for

things which are not seen which are true

there’s a couple things that I want to

go into here Joseph Spencer the Mormon

scholar I think he’s a BYU professor

made a couple of important points I

think on this scripture number one he

says this is not really a description of

what faith is it’s more of a description

of what faith isn’t no of course to

define anything

you have to say what it’s not you’re

putting a boundary around what it is and

excluding everything else outside of

that boundary and that’s what Alma’s

doing here he says and now as I said

concerning faith faith is not to have a

perfect knowledge of things and then he

says something else here and this is

important going into the next attribute

of Hope says therefore if you have faith

ye hope for things which are not seen

now you can read that in a way that says

well faith is hope if you have faith and

you have hope but the way it should be

read I believe is that therefore if you

have faith in other words if you already

have faith then you will have hope then

you have hope because faith produces

hope and it produces hope for things

that aren’t seen yet things that you can

look forward to which are true one

scripture I like to use with that

scripture is one that also talks about a

perfect knowledge and that is ether 3:19

and that is where the brother of Jared

is up on the mountain and he’s speaking

with the lord and he sees the lord and

I’m paraphrasing here but he ends up

seeing the finger of the lord and the

reason he sees the finger the lord the

the lord says is because his knowledge

was so great and then it says once

he saw that one because his faith had

produced this that he then had a perfect

knowledge because he had seen the lord

at that point so we have a knowledge

first as is stated by Bruce R McConkie

we have to have some type of a knowledge

first a mental intellectual knowledge

and or preferentially an experiential

knowledge and then we exercise faith in

that and then we build up a trust in

that and then that knowledge grows until

one day we end up with a perfect

knowledge of it because we’ve helped

bring that to pass through our faith

because we trust in the principle we end

up having the future manifest unto us so

Alma 321 and ether 319 are two

verses that go really well together

another example of this is back in 2014

then elder Nelson gave a talk about him

being on and a flight and he was going

through some turbulence and there was a

woman on the flight and the woman on the

flight was very disturbed over the

turbulence and very very concerned she

was likely not used to flying or going

through any type of turbulence mm-hmm so

elder Nelson was saying how he felt

bad for her and what she was going

through but he didn’t feel the same way

and why wouldn’t he feel the same way

because he has had experience with that

he’s gone through it he has been through

the turbulence

he knows what typically happens and the

people around him I would guess that

most people though there might be a

little bit of concern no as well because

they’ve flown several times through

turbulence they know that they’ll get

through this and everything will be okay

and that’s very similar I think to

people that have some doubts or that

maybe having some type of a faith crisis

once you have more experience and you

rely on true principles of the gospel

and you gain that experience all

evidence then those types of experiences

where there is turbulent spiritual

turbulence in your life are not as

important and they’re not experiences

that are going to affect you quite as

much that doesn’t mean you might not

have a little concern or a question mark

and all of that is fine that’s good but

it does mean that you’re likely going to

land fine and that things are going to work

out if you lean on your experience and

you lean on the principles that you have

leaned on in the past but if you’ve only

had a belief based on what you’ve been

told or you’ve gone through the motions

only of reading your scriptures or other

things and not try

to really build a trust something that

cannot be faked but a trust in the

principles of the gospel and a trust in

the sacrifice of the Lord the atonement

and the abilities for you to move

forward based on that and understood not

just understood experienced the

consequences of that faith faith is

practical theology that’s what I believe

faith is it is something that is much

more concrete so I appreciate what Sam

Harris says he’s right it is evidence

faith is evidence but unlike what he

says it’s bad evidence it’s not bad

evidence he’s looking at it

scientifically not spiritually it is the

best evidence in the world and that is

me soul-searching internally and

understanding through trial and error

through experiment and experience that

these principles work and that I have

faith because I have tested it out so I

would challenge you that whenever you

hear the word faith or you read the word

faith in the scriptures that you replace

it with trust and see how that changes

your mind and see how that changes your

approach to your spirituality and your

own understanding of your testimony next

time we’re going to talk about hope and

it’s kind of one of those things that’s

very rarely talked about actually

because we talk a lot about faith and a

lot of people think that hope somehow is

the same thing as faith and it’s not it

is a product it is the fruit of faith

and it kind of sits between these two

bookends of faith and charity or love

we’re going to go through some examples

in the scriptures of how this formula

really plays out we’ll talk to you next

2 Comments

  1. I absolutely love this podcast!!!! I am anxiously waiting for part two on hope! Hurry!!!!

    • Working on it. I have one of those darn things called a job. Haha. But my thoughts are well established on HOPE and I will get that episode out soon. Thank you for listening.

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