Archive for the ‘Superstition and Faith’ Category

BREAKING THE CHAINS OF SUPERSTITION – Part 2

Superstition

When one little girl was asked what FAITH is, she said, “Well, faith is believing what you know ain’t true” (Vernon Magee). That’s a great definition of SUPERSTITION but not of faith. If the only way to come to God is by faith (Hebrews 11:6), then how would you describe faith? Is it a leap in the dark, an uncertain gamble? If that is what it means to you, then you do not have the faith that the Bible speaks of.

What is the difference between FAITH AND SUPERSTITION? Is one mans faith another mans superstition? Surely that’s ridiculous. Hebrews 11:1 (AMP) distinguishes between faith and superstition – “FAITH is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen.” This means that it rests on something TRUE AND CERTAIN, not on an uncertain leap into the unknown.

The New Testament was originally written in Koine Greek and the word for “SUBSTANCE” is “hupostasis”. It is a scientific word but it doesn’t mean hypothesis or theory. It has the opposite meaning. It rests upon FACTS. It is the essential nature of something or the UNDERLYING REALITY of something, the HEART AND SOUL. If your faith does not rest upon the truth of what God has revealed then it is not faith.

“The EVIDENCE of things not seen.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV) says “We live by faith, not by sight.” Although unseen, the evidence spoken of here is the kind of evidence which is accepted in a court of law. Faith is not a leap in the dark. Faith is not a wish. Faith is SUBSTANCE AND EVIDENCE. There is no reason why you can’t believe. God wants your faith to rest upon the truth of the Word of God. What evidence do I have that the Word of God is true? It’s truth evidenced by a CHANGED LIFE.

1. Gwen, blind and unable to walk, has a confident assurance that leads her to pursue truth. That’s FAITH. John, old and troubled, believes in a religious SUPERSTITION that manipulates and cripples him by it’s lies. That’s FEAR. Superstition has it’s basis in FEAR. If I touch wood or wear a good luck charm it’s because I fear that if I don’t I will have something bad happen.

Faith is not based on fear of what MIGHT HAPPEN. Faith expects the best and enables me to endure the worst. It builds it’s perceptions confidently on revealed truth, not on false hope.

2. Superstition with it’s negativity distorts the truth. Faith seeks the truth, like the Bereans in Acts 17:11 (NLT) who “listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.” 

3. Superstition amplifies the voice of fear. Faith silences the voice of fear with PURPOSE and destiny, a love for God and others. 1 John 4:18 (NLT) says “such love has no fear, because PERFECT LOVE EXPELS ALL FEAR. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love.” 

4. Superstition is fearful of initiating action. Faith dreams big, clarifies your dreams and inspires you to run the race (1 Corinthians 9:24). Whereas superstition stops me from moving forward, faith knows the value of stepping out with confident assurance and trust in God. Superstition refuses to take risks. Faith positions us for opportunities despite the risks. Abraham stepped out in faith when he left the land of Ur without knowing where God would lead him (Genesis 12:1-4).

5. Superstition bullies us and destroys our potential. Faith steadfastly refuses to be intimidated by dream killers. It enables David to fight against Goliath (1 Samuel 17).

6. Superstition limits us to imaginary problems. Faith lives a life that points to the real solutions . 1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV) says “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.”

7. Superstition is limiting because it is based upon me. Faith believes that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). It is based on relationship with God, not religious rituals and traditions.

Although it cannot adequately be tested by my senses, my faith is based on a relationship with Christ over many years. My confidence in Him grows rather than diminishes. It takes me deeper into His revealed truth. My changed life is perhaps the only evidence of faith in Him that I can produce and even that is not adequate. My faith is no less real.

Romans 10:17 (NLT) says “…faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” 

John 16:13 (NLT) speaks about God the Holy Spirit as “THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH” who “will guide you into all truth” John 16:8 (NLT) says “… He will convict the world of its sin …” of unbelief. God’s Word invites me to consider looking beyond myself for the answers I need in life?

Pastor Ross

BREAKING THE CHAINS OF SUPERSTITION – Part 1

Superstition – Photo Creation by Ross Cochrane using Paint.net and MorgueFile.com

The 2nd Friday in January was Friday the thirteenth, 2012. For those who believe in SUPERSTITION an unlucky day – a bad day for a journey, to marry, to make any investment. One woman I spoke with yesterday reads the stars each morning in the paper and prays that God will allow it to happen. Lets add to that walking under a ladder, a black cat, crossing your fingers, touching wood, reading the stars, petals plucked to discover if she loves me, she loves me not.

RELIGION especially can be the hive of superstitious nonsense. One man wears a cross as a kind of rabbits foot against bad luck, while another wears it as a symbol of what Christ did for us on the Cross in dying for our sins. One person prays as a meaningless ritual while another uses prayer as an expression of relationship with Christ.

SUPERSTITION is evident when I have a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of cause and effect. Many people would add that a belief in the supernatural, in miracles, in God, in the resurrection and ascension of Christ is also SUPERSTITION.

I’ve been reading a lecture (blog) by Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899), an Atheist. I love his ability to express himself but I am amazed by the arrogance of his assertions and how he intentionally associates SUPERSTITION WITH FAITH. He is particularly scathing about regarding the Bible as the inspired Word of God and proclaims SCIENCE AS OUR SAVIOUR, which will “destroy bigotry in all its forms… It will abolish poverty and crime, and greater, grander, nobler than all else, it will make the whole world free.” (Ingersoll lecture on Superstition)

And years after his death in the scientific age in which we live we are still mesmerised by the superstition of believing that science is the saviour of the world. Yet far from freeing the world, the evidence suggests we are destroying it by the very discoveries we have made. Science hasn’t lived up to the arrogant claims and promises Ingersoll makes because it keeps limiting us by ignoring the very things that truly set us free.

If I was not willing to accept Christ for who He is I guess I would be forced to come up with some fanciful explanation that allowed my atheism or superstition some credence and would not obligate me to come under God’s authority – scientific or religious – it wouldn’t matter much which.

In delivering a series of messages based on The Truth Between Us, Erwin McManus, founder of Mosaic, recently said that true atheists and followers of Christ both want to rid themselves of SUPERSTITION. Thankfully, both atheists and followers of Christ ask us “Is that really the truth?” and if we were honest sometimes the answer is “No, it’s more connected with superstition and rituals and our own biased desires.” It may even be based on our self imposed limits.

Arnold (not his real name) has worked so long as a scientist that he has allowed his empirical rationalism to limit his ability to discern truth by relying only on his SENSES. Allowing for a multiplicity of ways to discern truth and not simply restricting discernment to the five senses allows me to exercise FAITH as a valid system of perception. When Arnold, shackled and restricted to the evidence of the senses as he must be for his scientific research to be meaningful, refuses to acknowledge any OTHER pathways to truth but it’s own self imposed world of choices, then far from practicing science he is involved in “SCIENTISM” (as my geologist friend Bob calls it). Closing itself up to other possibilities outside the field of it’s own restricted measures of obtaining truth, scientism arrogantly seeks to cut us off from the possibilities of discovering a more holistic range of truth for our lives and from the divergent thinking that leads us to new discoveries. Should I restrict myself to my senses as the ONLY means to living life I could never be accountable to anyone but myself, limited by my “INGROWN THINKING”.

Erwin McManus speaks about the impossibility of trying to see something with the sense of smell or hear something with the sense of sight. It’s not that faith and science are diametrically opposed. They are not. It’s that we sometimes apply the wrong apparatus of perception when seeking truth.

It isn’t Jesus who is responsible for leading me to believe in superstition. No-one should be more committed to pursuing truth than a follower of Christ, who says He is the way, TRUTH, and life and that the TRUTH will set us free (John 14:6, John 8:32). He will never take me anywhere where truth is not.

Pastor Ross