In this post, I wish to discuss what I call “The True Foundation of Our Faith.” There are three parts of this statement worth considering so that we can start from a point of mutual understanding, no matter what our backgrounds may be. The first part is the word “our.” What I mean is that this Foundation is one shared by any believing christian, though my writings, as always, are more focused on the Latter-Day Saints’ perspective. Second, the words “True Foundation” in this case mean that I will be writing about what I believe is the ultimate basis of all other beliefs in the Mormon church as well as other Christian denominations.
“Faith,” of course, is a bit harder to define. Rather than go into detail at this time, let’s just say that for this article I when I say “faith” I mean the doctrines that we choose to believe in.
Now that that’s all out of the way, let’s get started.
The reason I wanted to address this topic is because of everything else that is debated or questioned in the world. Recently atheism has taken on a strange sort of trendiness – especially in online communities. This means that those who maintain any sort of faith are ridiculed, attacked, or seen as unintelligent. It’s easy to get caught up into debates, online, and in person, about specific beliefs and about faith in general.
For those of us who believe, it’s important to take a few steps back on occasion to look at the big picture. When the debate rages about differences in belief or doctrine, or when others try to cast doubt on what seemed so clear once, it’s time to review that foundation of faith.
People say things like “If there is a god, why does he allow bad things to happen?”
People wonder how otherwise rational human beings can believe in things that science contradicts.
To understand these believers, it’s important to understand this same foundation of their faith. When their beliefs seem so unusual to be verging on nonsensical, we should understand where these beliefs stem from.
The scriptures say “God is Love.” We believe, above everything else, that everything God does is motivated out of His divine, perfect love for each and all of his children. All gospel truths stem from that one overwhelming truth. Members of christian faiths, then, fall into two categories: those who really believe in the Love of God, and those who don’t. (as a side note: people certainly go back and forth between these two categories.)
When faced with a challenge those who believe are able to say to themselves, perhaps unconsciously, that “I don’t know the answer, but I know that God loves me,” and therefore they maintain their stance, believing that understanding will come eventually, and trusting that things will be for the best. Those who are not believers face challenges and experience and erosion or shift in beliefs. With no foundation to cling to, those who do not believe in the Love of God find themselves always in a state of doubt.
Truly, “Faith” is not knowing, but believing anyway. To the believing Mormon, the true foundation of faith is the Love of God. Even death loses it’s sting when one can say, with complete faith, that it’s a part of the plan of a loving creator.
This love of God is taught over and over again in the scriptures and in our lives. How often we hear about young couples who find a renewed faith in God as they become parents and recognize that the love they feel for their child is echoed from their heavenly father.
As we study religion and find seemingly endless flaws, it’s easy to say “How could a god allow this?” The natural response of a faithful christian is to feel that whatever the answer may be, it is for the good of his children. Thus trials and pains in this life are not evidence of the lack of a divine being, but simply an indication of our lack of understanding. For the faithful, this, of course, prompts further study. Answers come with time and careful investigation. Further insight is gained, and faith is confirmed after being tested and tried.
My nature is to be questioning and critical. I have found for myself that there is a God and all that he does is for the benefit of his children. It didn’t come to me through instant revelation or angelic visitation, but through careful study and by testing the promises of a loving father in heaven. I know that God so loved his children here in the world that He sent his only begotten son, Jesus Christ to perform His act of perfect love for us – the Atonement.
Which brings us, appropriately, to Christ. There is no better expression of our Heavenly Father’s love than Jesus Christ himself. His life, mission, teachings, and sacrifice were all driven by the perfect love shared by him and his father – our Father.