- Eldon Peterson
Where is Your Trust?
A Ponzi scheme is a scam that entices people with the promise of making high returns in a very short time. Like a pyramid scheme, the payoff is made from the cash investments of new 'investors' with the whole structure collapsing as cash outflow exceeds cash inflow. Putting our trust into something that is not trustworthy will always lead to disaster.
Trust is central to all relationships. An anonymous quote says, “Without communication there is no relationship. Without respect there is no love. Without trust there is no reason to continue.” A lack of trust is what concerns most Americans about the November elections with neither presidential candidate instilling trust in people. This summer in a CBS News poll, 56% of voters said Donald Trump is not honest and trustworthy; Hilary Clinton was even worse with 67%, finding her not trustworthy. Such numbers leave the populace conflicted.
“What makes someone trustworthy?” It is the ability to be relied on as honest and truthful. Truth is important to us all; none of us want to be duped by a charlatan! As this is true in investments and politics, it should be even truer in matters of faith. Just as we desire statements made by politicians to be “fact checked”, we would be wise to honestly examine the claims of our beliefs to see if they are true.
Some boastfully suggest that they are an atheist or agnostic agreeing with the infamous Karl Marx quote, “Religion is the opium of the masses.” However, the prideful arrogance with which these statements are made sound more like a Ponzi scheme than an argument rooted and established in truth. As Shakespeare suggests in Hamlet "The lady doth protest too much." Faith is not belief in the absence of truth; true faith is established in truth.
Socrates was to have counseled, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” The theological parallel is just as valid: The unexamined faith is not worth believing. Sadly, this advice is often ignored. Why are we afraid to examine the teachings that we claim to be true? Is there any comfort in believing a lie? What would you tell the supporter of Clinton or Trump who is unwilling to consider the errors of their candidate’s claims?
When what I believe is true, it can withstand any and every question that I ask of it. I am not fearful of looking for answers even when those questions make me uncomfortable. When I refuse to be a critical thinker about the claims of my faith, possibly I am brainwashed by blind faith. I realize that these are strong words, but how else would you describe someone who says, “it doesn’t matter if it is true, it’s what I believe!”
While on the surface they look the same, there is a vast difference between believing something and having blind faith. Both hold their views tenaciously and use similar terminology to state their beliefs. But the one who believes does so because of the evidence not hopeful desire. Someone who is brainwashed does so in spite of the evidence, and even shuts down (or should I say “shouts down”) anybody who raises questions that might challenge their convictions.
This is easier to see in someone else than ourselves. While obvious in the political arena, can we not see it in matters of faith too? To rest in the hopes of our belief we need to not only know what we believe, but why we believe it. If the “why” is because “So-and-so said it”, our position is tenuous, dependent on their trustworthiness.
The importance of truth in what we believe cannot be overstated. Paul illustrates the importance of truth in what we believe by testifying that the Christian faith either stands or falls in the truthfulness of the resurrection. Therefore, “if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless… And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.” (1Corinthians 15:13-14, 19) Paul goes onto offer evidence for the resurrection.
Have you considered the truthfulness of what you believe or do you simply believe because it tells you what you want to hear? We are wise to examine our beliefs with the same tenacity that we do the presidential candidates, for we would be a fool to believe a lie and find ourselves dead in our sins!