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“..heart of all our faith and belief there lie value judgements”

Reading a document I came across this line. It follows on from a debate that suggests that nothing in our faith(as opposed to religion) can be proved empirically, and that this leads us all to make value-judgements based on our understanding of our faith. There is often a core of belief that we have chosen to be of the utmost importance, and that there are things on the edges of our own personal faith that we are, in a sense, agnostic about. We accept them, but our faith does not live and die by them.

The statement speaks aloud the fear of believing in an unprovable God. While we can rely on our own subjectiveness, that only gets us so far. There are times when we will doubt our own experiences, when we will look at life and wonder where God has gone in the mess we see around us.

The worrying thing about the statement is that it lays bare the things that we hold dear as being those things that we choose to hold dear. To echo Bishop Gregory Llanelwy, are we simply people looking for a theology that suits us?

While the original phrasing of Bishop Gregory’s saying was speaking abut predjudice, do we ever consider that our own stance comes not from without, but within. It comes from strongly held belief in certain views on morality, belief, science, and so on, rather than informed from the Bible.

It is this acknowledgement of the value-judgements that I think will make us stronger. Which ever mini-Idol we choose as the heart of our faith (be it the unequaled love of God, the inerrancy of scripture, the continuing truth of the living tradition, etc) we must be aware that not a one of us holds the full measure of the faith, and that our value judgments must be open to being changed, no matter how painful that might be.

The obvious problem with living with a faith that does seek to encounter, to change people is that it can call into question even our most deeply-held beliefs. It means that nothing is truly certain, not our personal understanding of God, not our personal view of Christ, nothing.

The only thing, then, that we can be certain about is the uncertainty. We can cling to the wreckage of our faith, while we seek to be made anew constantly by God. It is only in the transformation of our faith can we have any certainty.

~BX