Journey to Faith (Teachings of the Orthodox Church) Christianity. Orthodoxy. Catholicism. Sense of life. Articles for Christians.
You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery;'                but I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.                If your right eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna.                If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off, and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna.                'It was also said, 'Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce,'                but I tell you that whoever puts away his wife, except for the cause of sexual immorality, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries her when she is put away commits adultery.                'Again you have heard that it was said to them of old time, 'You shall not make false vows, but shall perform to the Lord your vows,'                but I tell you, don't swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God;                nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.                Neither shall you swear by your head, for you can't make one hair white or black.                But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No' be 'No.' Whatever is more than these is of the evil one.                'You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.'*                But I tell you, don't resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.                If anyone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your cloak also.                Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.                Give to him who asks you, and don't turn away him who desires to borrow from you.                'You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor,* and hate your enemy.*'                But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you,                that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven.               
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Journey to Faith (Teachings of the Orthodox Church)


I was reading your very enjoyable website, and had a question about your statements regarding faith:

" There are basically two aspects to faith; one might even say two meanings of faith. The first is faith "in" someone or something, faith as the recognition of these persons or things as real, true, genuine, and valuable; for example, faith in God, in Christ, in the Holy Trinity, in the Church. The second is faith in the sense of trust or reliance. ... For Christians both types of faith are necessary."
I'm not Orthodox, and not even a Christian, precisely because I don't have the first kind of faith, at least according to most people's definition. I consider myself to be in the position of a man who wants to find the road home, even though he is standing at an intersection with many, many roads. Although any individual road is probably not the right way, some roads are more likely than others to lead home. I would like to choose a road, rather than simply say, "Well, I can't believe that any individual road is the right one, so therefore I can't choose any of them." By choosing a road, I'm exercising the second kind of faith: trust. To the minds of the Orthodox, is that enough? Or do I need to be intellectually convinced that Orthodoxy is probably the right way, and not just the most likely way?


Concerning faith -­ Orthodoxy would not limit faith to an intellectual pursuit. In fact, Scripture defines faith as being assured of things that have not yet been seen. One can intellectually understand all there is to understand about this or that, but intellectual understanding can not guarantee that one will put his or her faith in someone or something. Put another way, I can know all about God, but until I know God -­ that is, until I accept His revelation, until I experience Him in my life and in the lives of others and in the life of the faith community -­ I do not enter into the realm of faith.

One of the Church Fathers once wrote that, if we could intellectually comprehend everything that humans can comprehend about God, our knowledge would be like a grain of sand on an entire beach. Faith enables us to know God, to discern His will, to see Him in the least of those around us, even though we may not fully comprehend His essence and being intellectually.

Concerning "choosing a road," as you note -- Orthodox would say that one should do his or her best to discern which is the right road before embarking on the journey. The further one goes down the wrong road, the harder it becomes to turn back, to reconsider, to rationalize why the wrong road is right or just as good or, even worse, the better way!

Published in January 2011.

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