*Found this piece that I wrote in or around 2003, and it felt like the right time to publish it to the blog. *
The essayists, authors, and commentators of our secular society have finally broken me down. They have convinced me that yes, faith is a weakness. They have swayed me to think that faith creates a skewed perception of reality and clouds the decision-making ability of those that lean on it for support. They have persuaded me that those of faith aren’t tolerant and open people that embrace all and accept that society is growing in the right direction.
They have me believing that faithful people lack the understanding of our complex, global society in which values are flexible and decisions are made systematically without the crutch of a decision-making structure that accounts for God’s will. Finally, they have established for me that faith doesn’t allow us to think, be intellectual, or experience life to the fullest as it limits our time, creates commitments, and steers conversation.
How can we grow strong with these chains of faith bound to our side? In this world that requires us to absorb new ideas and information, having a lens of faith, through which all filters, is our secular worlds version of a death sentence to enlightenment. As the pressure to believe this argument piles on me, it creates unintended consequences. It mutes all discussion of faith in casual conversation.
Has anyone else recognized how hard it is to talk about faith, church-life, or God among casual friends, acquaintances, or those at work? I’m not even talking about evangelizing, but simple mentions of what fulfills your life. Is it because you believe that you will be seen as weak, out of the mainstream, or having your other opinions seen in a dimmer light? If these things are happening to you also, the secular society has pressure building against you too.
This pressure shouldn’t pigeonhole conversations about faith, values, and religion because isn’t this society at its fullest when no ideas are muted in the marketplace of ideas? As people of faith, it remains important that we examine these concepts about faith as weakness that are presented to us almost daily while still focusing on the reasons that we grow through faith.
In order to do this successfully, it is important to create meaningful moments in three areas. First, we must walk miles in others’ shoes. This means most importantly that we understand the core concerns of those resisting a society with a faithful lifestyle in the forefront. By pushing aside the ideas of the secular society without careful examination, how can we possibly ask the same from the other side when our moments to persuade occur.
Second, people of faith radiate a beauty of kindness. We need to purposefully use this glow throughout our daily lives in our actions. This means choosing to do the little things until the little things are so habitual that they flow naturally everyday. I believe that there is a true sense throughout all of society that these types of actions are the core strength of those with faith.
Finally, take time to pray for strength in remaining a faith warrior because this work can cause weariness. Pray for allies and moments to express the power of faith. God opens our eyes to opportunities, opportunities that won’t be maligned or misunderstood by the secular construct that pressures our society.
Though it is hard not to see faith as a weakness, I can clear my head, through actions and prayer, to know that we are actually weak without faith.