Faith and Feeling

Here is a useful bit of information I find very helpful to many people thinking about religion:

Faith is not some state of feeling we get ourselves into. It is much simpler than that. It is simply believing in God and therefore believing everything he has revealed – no matter how we feel. “God said it, so I believe it, and that settles it.”

Feelings are influenced by external things, like fashions and fads, wind and weather, diet and digestion. But when God gives us the gift of faith, he gives it from within, from within our own free will.

The devil can influence our feelings, but he has no control over our faith.

We are not responsible for our (unfree) feelings, but we are responsible for our (free) faith.

Yet, though faith is not a feeling, it often produces feelings: of trust, peace, gratitude, and confidence, for instance. And faith can also be aided by feelings: for instance, when we feel trustful or grateful to someone, God or man, it is much easier for us to believe him than when we feel mistrustful or ungrateful.;

But even when we do not feel trustful or peaceful, we can still believe. Faith is not dependent on feelings. It is dependent on facts: divinely revealed facts.

- Peter Kreeft, Catholic Christianity

It is easy to reject something because we do not feel it to be true. Personally I can say there are many times when I do not feel something to be true; nevertheless, I know it is true because of faith, or conscience, or experience.

So what is one to do when faced with something that is supposedly divinely revealed but contradicts one’s feelings, perhaps strong feelings? My suggestion is to try out what God says – take a leap, trust in God for a moment. Humbly submit yourself to God’s will. See what happens.

6 Responses to Faith and Feeling

  • Kyle Cupp says:

    So what is one to do when faced with something that is supposedly divinely revealed but contradicts one’s feelings, perhaps strong feelings?

    Feelings might also indicate that what is thought to be divinely inspired isn’t. If, for example, someone feels guilt and remorse after acting from what is thought to be a divine command, it may be that the command is a command to do evil originating from a human authority and not a command from God. Feelings might help reveal a false faith.

  • Dale Price says:

    That’s a tough one. We have to listen to the still small voice of conscience while recognizing that our emotions are disfigured by original sin.

    I recommend a lot of prayer. ;)

  • Zach says:

    I love Peter Kreeft.

    Very interesting Kyle – feelings might reveal a false faith. I think this is only possible if one first possesses faith to begin with, but certainly possible for those who do.

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