Without Doubt, There Is No Faith

There’s a story about a missionary who got mugged in the Big City.

It was late at night, or so the story goes. The missionary wasn’t one of the hard-sell variety; just there to hand out flyers quietly and talk to anyone who was interested. They were about to pack up for the night; the late-night crowd had finally finished trickling home.

I don’t know what the mugger said, exactly. The story has gone through twists and turns, details added, fragments fading away.

I do know this: there was a gun, and a panicked, desperate person holding it. A person that threatening to kill the missionary.

A person who was very, very confused at the gentle smile on the missionary’s face.

"I’ll give you my money," they said. "And I forgive you."

The mugger took the missionary’s money. Of course they did.

But the mugger stopped, and turned back to their victim. "Aren’t you scared of dying?"

"No," the missionary replied. "I have faith."

Touching story, isn’t it?

It also completely misses the point of faith. That kind of "example" of faith is unrealistic, irrational, and definitely not based in the Bible. [1]

Throughout the Bible, pretty much nobody wants to be a prophet. [2] It is not that they were without faith, but they still had doubts. Concerns. Problems. Other things in their life getting in the way.

We know that courage isn’t simply the absence of fear.

"Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway." [3]

Faith is like courage, that way.

It isn’t about knowing the answer.

It isn’t about surety.

It is about doubt.

And anyone who tells you differently is selling you something.

Happy Spring.

Featured Photo by Stacey Franco on Unsplash

[1] If you know of similar tales in other faith traditions, I’m interested in learning them!
[2] Some of them God even bullies into being prophets. Jonah or St. Paul, for examples.
[3] John Wayne