When it comes to things of the spirit you can either see, understand and accept or you cannot. No amount of arguing will convince. It has to do with insight; not with physical perception nor with reason. It is a matter of experience. You may find others who have had a similar experience, and you may feel a bond with them, however people outside of that group cannot see what you see. They just don’t get it. Our field of vision in these things is limited by cultural training, education, background and expectations as it was with the religious leaders who asked Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus did not try to answer their question. If they could not give a clear-cut answer to the question about John the Baptist and the crowds who had gone out to be baptised in the Jordan River it was useless Jesus trying to tell them where his authority came from. They were caught between their own preconceived opinions and the popular opinion of the time. There is what some people call a theological circle. Inside the circle formed by faith the discussion can take place. But for those outside that circle all they can do is argue and speculate about God, and examine religion from the outside. In the Scriptures, this faith/insight is seen as a gift, a gift from God. We might say that God is constantly seeking to impart this gift but because of preconceived attitudes many are unable to receive it. We might explain our faith position, point out that it is not illogical, nor unreasonable, and justify ourselves and our beliefs, but in the end whether the other person can see what we see depends on faith not on reason. That’s why it is said that religion is caught, not taught. Our task is to live the faith, bear witness in word and deed. It is the Holy Spirit that opens others up to that insight that says, “My Lord and my God.”
- What is it like trying to communicate something to people who have not had your experience?
- How is faith kept alive in Christian people who are constantly surrounded by others who cannot see what they see in Jesus?
- Tell us about situations you have been in where you have been so out of step with the thinking and talking going on that you felt it useless to put your own Christian point of view.
- If faith is caught, not taught, what part does argument and explanation play in sharing the Gospel?