The Inclination Towards “Filling In The Blanks”

Gestalt psychologists have pointed out the interesting tendency of human brain to fill in the blanks in order to achieve an understanding of the world or sense data. Humans are incessant interpreters. They are all the time trying to figure out what something means.

Gestalt Closure

One sees a CIRCLE and a BOX. However, these are just lines that could possibly not even be related. But, the brain makes a figure out of them.

This quest and inclination has a helpful hand in enabling man to make a sense of things he cannot understand. He inputs data from his own previous experiences into otherwise seemingly meaningless data. Man is a puzzle solver and his attempt through hypothesizing and associating data with other data has given rise to a plethora of philosophies and ideologies. Especially, when the conjectures appear to be pragmatic and working well, the interpretations usually become sealed for posterity until someone is able to find a loophole in it.
400px-Burr_Puzzles

The negative aspect of this inclination could be false suspicion and negative doubt. This process has been illustrated in many a novel and play of tragedy in literature. It also follows from a desire to make a sense of things happening; however, bad data and a wrong process of reckoning lead to false conclusions.

This is even more important in the context of spiritual faith. The spiritual man compares spiritual matters with spiritual matters. The natural man is not able to make any sense out of spiritual things. The Bible does not encourage blind faith; however, without faith one cannot even know God at all.

Skeptical Fideism

The Enlightenment thinkers felt that reason had come to age and elevated it above faith. But, mathematics is not the book of life. It is impossible to expel faith. As the wise sage Pascal observed, reason has to be find support on something, and that something can’t be reason itself, to avoid circular reasoning. Reason is also based upon faith. Again, he showed that reason cannot irrefutably prove God, but it can neither disprove His existence. It proves nothing.

Spiritual skepticism is the willingness to concede that our minds cannot have certainty alone by themselves. This is not to deny certain certainties that are axiomatic and undeniable. For instance, one can’t contradict the law of non-contradiction. However, it certainly means that one has no confidence in his own reasoning and wisdom. Only this form of skepticism regarding self can truly set us free to find our fullness and certainty only in Him.

Hindrances and Helps to Faith

Jude 1:20 – Building up in your most holy faith….

HINDRANCES TO FAITH
1. Not hearing God’s Word (Luk 8:12; Rom. 10:17; Matt.13:15)
2. Forgetting the Word (James 1:23; Psa.119:16)
3. Doubting God’s Word (Matt.14:31; Matt.21:21)
4. Worldly and Carnal Distractions (Matt. 13:22)
5. Not Seeking Pure Conscience (1Tim.1:5,19; 3:9; Tit.1:15; Heb.10:22)
6. Not Fighting the Good Fight of Faith – Being Slothful (1Tim.6:12; 2Tim.4:7; Heb.6:12)
7. Lack of Prayer (Jude 1:20)

HELPS TO FAITH
1. Listening to God’s Word (Rom.10:17; Acts 4:4)
2. Speaking to each other Words of Faith (2Cor. 4:13; Eph.4:15; 5:19; Mark 11:23)
3. Acting according to Faith. Matching faith with actions (James 2:17-20)
4. Trusting God with all our heart and not relying on our own understanding (Pro.3:5,6)
5. Having constant communion with God (Ps.42:8; 130:5-6; 1Jn.1:3-9)
6. Having regular fellowship with saints (Heb.10:23,24; Matt.18:20; 1Thess.5:11; 1Cor.12:20-26)
7. Loving God above all (Eph.3:17; Gal.5:6; Philem 1:5; James 2:5)

Justified True Belief?

flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. (Matt.16:17)

People usually do have reasons for their beliefs, though not all may be able to instantly enumerate all their reasons when asked for. The believer in Chi power might even demonstrate his grounds of belief. So will the homeopath, the allopath, the evolutionist, the Yogi, the Advaitin, and the astrologer. But, it is also possible that one cannot demonstrate proofs and yet decide to go on with what one is convinced about, in whatever sense whatever. The Jews knew that there were no witnesses to incriminate the Christ; however, when He announced who He was, they decided that His statement was proof enough of blasphemy. But, on what grounds?

The work of a preacher is certainly to persuade by means of reasoning. For some it may mean persuasion through exposition of scriptures; to others, through spiritual encounter and signs and wonders; to others, through contextually relevant reasoning (as in the case of Paul in Athens). However, no preaching, no matter how profoundly apologetical and persuasive it is, can ever convince any man no matter how wise and persuasive words may seem.

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (1Cor.2:1-2)
For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you. (2Cor.1:12)

Now, this doesn’t mean that a man’s will is not involved. The very idea of responsibility and accountability involves the irrefutable fact that a man is responsible for his beliefs and his actions. Sloth and indulgence make an inexcusable fool by his own choice. And, yet, the slothful are not without reasons.

The lazy man will not plow because of winter; he will beg during harvest and have nothing. (Prov.20:4)

Certainly, flesh and blood cannot reveal Christ to man. Yet, divine revelation must be met by faith; or else, it is ineffective.

the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. (Heb.4:2)

It is possible for one to be arduous, diligent, and passionate in the path that he considers to be true. In other words, one may be misled and yet not because of sloth. However, it is certain that if there is true sincerity in a quest, then obedience to faith will not be a problem when revelation comes.

And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood (Gal.1:14-16)

although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. (1Tim.1:13)

I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision (Acts 26:19)

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. (Jn.4:23)

LITTLE FAITH VS GREAT FAITH

If I believe that God created the entire universe, but fail to believe that He controls everything, am I not a man of little faith?
If I believe that Christ forgave all my sins, but I still feel bad and guilty, am I not a man of little faith?
If I believe that God cares for the flowers and the sparrows, but I still worry about food and clothing, am I not a man of little faith?
If I believe that Jesus became a man, yet I feel life is meaningless sometimes, am I not a man of little faith?
If I believe that Jesus healed all the sick, but wonder if He would heal me, am I not a man of little faith?
If I can believe what God did in the past and what He will do in the future, but fail to believe Him to do something now, am I not a man of little faith?
If I believe He rides over the waves and the storms, but am terrified by the sound of the wind, am I not a man of little faith?
If I believe that He loves the world and cares for even the sparrow, but I feel unloved sometimes, am I not a man of little faith?
If I believe that Christ rose for my justification, but still am afraid of some guilt or curse that may be over my life, am I not a man of little faith?

The difference between little faith and great faith is not in quantity; it is in quality. Little faith is self-contradicting and wavering. Great faith is absolute, complete, unrelenting, and unconditional to the end. Only believe!