1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
2.belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
6.Logic. a premise of an argument.
a.the faculty or power of acquiring intellectual knowledge, either by direct understanding of first principles or by argument.
b.the power of intelligent and dispassionate thought, or of conduct influenced by such thought.
XGH, in his ongoing crusade to justify his feelings of insecurity at his lack of faith has devoted his latest blog (his third, and so far more successful than the 2nd), has decided that all Torah-observant Jews are living a lie, and as a result, all liars. His underlying assumptions are quite clear: Nothing the Torah says regarding the origins of the world, the Revelation at Sinai, or the Divine authorship of the book is true. Why? Well, because modern scholarship and archeology have decided that this is so. As a result, since the Torah cannot be true any Jew who has faith in it realy believes in a lie and is therefore a liar, yet the contradiction only deepens because Judaism abhors lying so how can a Torah observant Jew truly exist?
Aesop's fable about the fox and the sour grapes seems particularly apt here. In truth, faith is clearly an elusive thing. What makes one person have faith in something or someone, while another person lacks faith in that same object or person? Why does someone "just know" that the Revelation at Sinai happened despite the secular evidence against it while another equally educated person will decide that since reason demands that there was no revelation, then therefore there was no revelation?
I don't know.
In my practice, I deal with smokers all the time. Some smokers, after being educated in all the risks of the practice, make a motivated decision to quit. Others says they're interested but on further questioning, they're really not. Needing vs wanting is what it boils down to. A person can know they need to quit smoking but not want to. How does one convert a needer into a wanter?
I don't know. I've witnessed people have spontaneous epiphanies and come in desperate for a prescription of Champix while others do so only after the onset of angina or the diagnosis of cancer, and still others never become wanters, even after getting fitted for their oxygen tank. I can only conclude that such desires are internal, based on the inner psychological nature of the person and the graceful intervention of God Himself.
But it also seems to me that this is the case with faith. Only a complete idiot believes that the physical world, all that we can see and touch, is all there is to existence. But that idiot may, when faced with the need to confront the vastness of the unknown and all its frightening possibilities, may conclude that he does not want to engage in such a confrontation. It may change his essential beliefs, it may challenge his foregone conclusions and it may impinge on the self-centred life he has created for himself in which he is the centre of the universe and the pinnacle result of history. The thought that he is part of a greater plan, that he has a role to play in which he might not personally, physically benefit, is frightening to him. So he shuts it out. He denies it. He invents empirical testing that, by its very nature, cannot detect that which he wishes to ignore and then, after the tests comes back negative, shouts out: Hooray! I was right all along!
Such is the person of reason. The spiritual, by its nature, cannot be apprehended or examined by the physical. So the person of reason, beholden to the physical and having rejected all else, tests for the spiritual, fails to find it and concludes, incorrectly, that it's not there.
The person of faith, on the other hand, accepts that the human mind cannot know or detect all things. Even in the physical world, our senses are woefully inadequate. We cannot see vast parts of the spectrum of light. We cannot hear sounds within a large range of frequences. We cannot feel bacteria on our skin. Are they therefore not there?
The person of reason laughs at these examples. Yes, the human eye or ear cannot detect them but we can develop tools that can. And the reply to that is: Is it possible there are physical manifestations in this universe for which no detecting tools have been invented? Again, only a complete idiot would say no. There is always more to discover, more to be learned.
But push the person of reason a little bit further and this "more" has its limits. It is limited strictly to the physical. The spiritual, being non-physical, does not exist for them. And without spirituality, you cannot have faith in God and Torah. You cannot truly believe.
Yet as Rav Soloveitchik points us, the soul of the Jew is designed to want to believe. A state of lack of faith is antagonistic to the Jewish neshamah, it creates a state of discordance that leaves the bearer of the such a soul in a state of discomfort.
There are two ways to deal with such discomfort. One can do a real chesbon hanefesh and come to the proper conclusion - faith is not precluded by reason and it is possible to believe even if reason suggests otherwise. Or one can be stubborn (something Jews are too good at) and continue to insist: No, there is only reason. The spiritual does not exist. I'm right because I says I am and you're wrong because I says you are. They are miserable inside, even as they shout about how happy they are to be free of the "shackles of religion". And because misery loves company they shout out on their blogs and elsewhere over and over again about how right they are, never realizing that their whole argument is a non-starter.
Well I don't believe in people of reason. I believe in God.