Faith is interesting. So often it stands in contrast with knowledge. Faith demands that we look at all we see and then take a step beyond pure knowledge – a step into the unknown of doubt.
That is not to say that faith is without experience. We have faith that the world will continue in the future much as it has in the past. We have faith that gravity will continue to hold us down, that the sun will come up tomorrow, and that the laws that govern the universe will hold relatively constant, at least within our ability to measure them. We cannot know any of these things for certain – the future is truly the undiscovered country, and objective knowledge about it cannot be obtained. Yet this does not stop us from believing that a future exists, and furthermore believing it will have certain properties – namely properties that resemble our present. While we cannot objectively prove these things to be true, we believe them with a fierce passion, and we have yet to be disappointed. Our experience suggests certain things about how the world works, and causes us to believe them and trust them, even though we have no real emperical basis for doing so.
In the same way, our experience leads us to believe that certain things are true about the human condition: that service is greater than selfishness, that sacrifice is greater than greed, that love is greater than hate. Logically these things make little sense. They seem to go against everything our society teaches us. But in the hearts of those who have seen charity and experienced love, faith suggests to us that there is something more to life than the endless race to get ahead – that our lives are not measured by how much we get, but by how much we give away.
Even still, true faith cannot exist without doubt. Doubt is not the cancer of faith, it is the tester of faith. It is that moment where we examine ourselves and make the choice of whether or not to believe. Were there no doubt, faith would not be a real choice. If faith were certain, it would cease to be faith, its beauty robbed. The veracity of our faith is continually proven in our struggle with the realization that the seemingly illogical sometimes turns out to make more sense than what we have been taught.
Even though we look to the unknown future through the lens of our personal experience, it is sometimes difficult to believe what we experience – love, joy, hope – is something that will last.
But in faith, we continue to believe.