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Reason or revelation?

"Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." John 20.29

Cynics dismiss religious faith as a figment of the imagination of those who cannot cope with life. Are they right?

That depends on whether religious faith is the product of human creativity, or whether it is based on evidence beyond what we can discern with our minds - ie revelation. The Bible is replete with revelation: whether that is God revealing his presence to Israel through prophesy and mighty acts, like to the parting of the Red Sea, or the teaching and miracles of Jesus. Significant parts of Scripture are designated "apocalyptic" (which means "revelatory") and the whole of the last book of the New Testament is so saturated with it that it is simply called 'Revelation'.

Interestingly Jesus cautions us against over-dependence on revelation when he admonishes Thomas for his reluctance to believe the other disciples' testimony of Jesus' resurrection: "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

A church full of believers requiring personal revelation for every article of faith would be chaotic, even neurotic! The message conveyed by the Bible is that God has revealed just enough for our awareness of the existence of a meta-physical reality beyond our ordinary reach. Just as God reaches into our everyday reality, so we are drawn towards his eternal presence, through conforming our lives to his will and purpose. This requires the exercise of our natural gifts, as well as our faith in what God has chosen to reveal of himself and of his intentions.

Rather than a coping strategy, religious faith is our response to the revelation that there is more to life than coping!



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