How does one value one’s Faith. In this case, I am using “faith” to mean the religious belief system one adheres to in some way. I saw something interesting in the book THE SKILLED HELPER, by Gerald Egan (I am quoting from the 1975 version).
“A value, according to Raths and Simon (1966) is something that a particular person prizes and cherishes, even in public when appropriate — something that someone chooses freely from alternatives, after considering the consequences of these alternatives, and that causes a person to act (or to refrain from acting) in a repeated, consistent way. As such, values differ from opinions, interests, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes especially in that these, unlike always find their way into action. Values, then, are related to lifestyle. Another way of putting it is that my values constitute the ways in which I commit myself to myself, to others, and to the world about me. My values are extremely important, for my commitments constitute a significant part of my identity — the person I see myself to be. ” (pages 219-220)
So, what are the qualities of a value?
- It is prized and cherished (including in public when appropriate)
- Freely chosen despite the availability of other alternatives
- Leads to action (or refraining from actions) in a repeated, consistent way. It is tied to lifestyle
- Leads to my internal and external commitments
- Effects my self identity
One’s faith can be
- The religious system that one has expressed adherence too due to socialization or lack of alternatives.
- A set of beliefs that have no relevance to one’s actions or identity.
The question is where such a faith is a Biblical faith. Many people throw around “Easy Believism” the tendency to identify faith in Christ in terms of a mental assent and a prayer. This sort of faith comes out of two things:
- A desire to quantify results. An evangelizer cannot identify whether another truly has been regenerated in their interaction, and cannot see the future to see whether the individual makes a real change of direction, so faith is minimized to a tiny action and a cognitive assent. (I remember the “Hand illustration” for evangelism where the final ‘finger’ is the little finger representing the prayer of salvation. It is the little finger because “it is such a little thing.” Of course, committing oneself fully to another is NEVER tiny.
- Tendency of having this view born and developed in regions of cultural Christianity, where there is little pressure to adjust one’s lifestyle, and there are few alternative belief systems that appear to be valid for consideration.
However, I think we must consider whether that is what faith in the Bible actually is. Is that faith?
Faith is not just a belief, it is a value.