Faith and Humility

I was always the brilliant kid in school, the one whose homework was the envy of others, who answered the questions first, who was more than a little bit of a know-it-all. That’s hard to shake as we get older and supposedly wiser.

I’m not easily stymied or intimidated by any subject, right up to theoretical physics. I have self-confidence in my intellectual abilities, and sometimes that breezes on into arrogance.

And that’s the fence where faith falls.

Arrogance is misplaced pride. It takes God’s work in us and claims it as our own.

No human can truly grasp what God is, or know how God works in this world. We frustrate ourselves terribly by trying to understand, by trying to unlock “the secrets of life.”  We are inside that box, and we cannot see what we are from the outside of it.

As I grappled with the big questions – the meaning of life – I had to lose some of my arrogance. I just don’t know how the resurrection of Jesus worked; I don’t know how God puts life into organisms – why the tulip is alive and the computer isn’t . And despite my ability to undesand, others have had much more profound understanding of God and His vision than I can.

That’s the humility part. I realized that if Thomas Aquinas, Basil the Great, Teresa of Avila and Hildegard of Bingen believed in God – had faith in His goodness and mercy – then I had no excuse not to. They were wiser and full of faith. My faith was strengthened by their faith.

There is a persistent intellectual fantasy that intelligent people don’t have religious experences, that believing in God is a sign of weakness. And yet these great intellects, these great minds who grasped concepts far beyond what we even get taught in school – they believed.

So who are we to doubt?

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4 thoughts on “Faith and Humility

  1. My husband and I went to see a political comedian who went on a tangent about how religion is the crutch of the weak and feeble minded. I informed my husband that since I had four college degrees, all with honors and had graduated number 1 in my class for one of those degrees, that I was hardly weak or feeble minded.

    I think those that are so busy trying to show that they control their universe are the ones that cannot accept that there is something greater then themselves that they cannot control. I am married to one such man.

    I personally follow the idea that the Lord loves me and that he will provide for me as a parent provides for his child. When I am low on funds I seem to get a client, when I am having a bad day I get a call from someone that makes me feel better and when I am feeling over confident a wave from the ocean comes up and smacks me on the bottom to knock me down and my ACL ends up torn so that I do not forget the lesson I have been sent. God knows what we need, when we need it and if we are open to receiving it, I believe we will.

  2. I found this post interesting, it also reminded me of a conversation I had with a close friend. My friend’s oldest daughter was in university and was feeling somewhat battered by the attitudes towards religion, particularily that those who have faith in God are generally less educated, and that an intelligent educated person does not need God. Anyway, Marie really started questioning, thankfully she is blessed to have a mother who is very strong, and very grounded in her faith. Marie and her mother had many conversations, my friend gave Marie books to read, so that she could learn about the “doctors” in the history of the church. Upshot is, with open discussion and reading, Marie realized that you are never too smart for God, that many highly educated, intelligent people have been examples of faith to all of us. Marie is now in graduate school, she is at a state university, she has pictures of saints on her wall, and a large banner proclaiming that God is real, she has taken some flack for her belief, but she stands strong!

    • I’m glad to hear some one else has had the same experience. God’s blessings to thee and this bright young woman and her family!

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