Journey to Faith


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!