I usually eat lunch parked in front of the TV watching the Game Show Network. At noon, the old “Deal Or No Deal” program comes on. I constantly marvel at the “faith” of the contestants. Hardly without exception, each contestant believes they have chosen the case that contains the million dollars, even when the initial probability of choosing it is only 1 out of 26. Some might say that those contestants exhibit great faith, but I submit they have not exercised faith at all, but mere hopefulness (which is why I have the word faith in quotes above). Faith, by definition, is the absolute assurance that some proposition is true. It requires that the person making the proposition has the ability to guarantee the truthfulness of the proposition. No promise is given by anyone on “Deal Or No Deal” that the contestant has chosen the million-dollar case, only that they have a possibility of having chosen it. The only faith that the contestant has is the belief that they innately have the ability to choose correctly the winning case. Ultimately, their faith is in themselves, but their faith is founded upon a false premise.
In many activities of life, we walk seemingly by the means of faith, but in reality we choose activities based upon probabilities. For example, we have a need to go by car to a certain destination. We “believe” that if we go, a number of things will hold true. We “believe” that the car will not mechanically malfunction and cause an accident. We “believe” that we will not malfunction and cause an accident. We “believe” that drivers in the other cars will not malfunction and cause an accident, or that a deer will not bolt out in front of us and cause an accident. But there are no guarantees that any of these things will always be true. We travel because the probability of any of these things occurring is relatively small. Consequently, we deem it safe to travel. There is an old joke about a man who heard that most accidents occur within 5 miles from home. So to be safe, he moved 6 miles away. I guess he thought the probability of having an accident disappeared with his moving, but obviously it still existed.
The question becomes, what is a reasonable probability that any choice I make in life is the right choice. When the probability of failure is fractional, such as driving a short distance for a necessary purpose, it becomes a “no-brainer” that to do so is the right decision. But how do you decide when complicating factors such as bad weather, mechanical problems with the car, sleepiness and the like enter the equation? There is no way of knowing whether you made the correct decision until you have either accomplished your goal or failed. And failure may have severe consequences.
The only certain propositions that are worthy of man’s faith are the declarations of One who is omnipotent, One who is omniscient and One who is perfectly loving. If one is not omniscient, it is possible, in fact even probable, that he may not know what is the right thing to do. If one is not omnipotent, he may know what the right thing to do is, but may not be able to accomplish it. And, if one is not perfectly loving, he may know what to do and be able to do it, but may not care if the one who trusts him benefits from his wisdom and power. Fortunately, there is a God who is all three and He has given to us exceedingly great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4) which are in His Word, the Bible.
Faith, therefore, in what God has declared is of utmost importance. Not to believe any and all that God has spoken is a declaration that God is not who He says He is. Faithlessness is, in essence, calling God a liar. I don’t know about you, but I get angry when someone calls me a liar. I am not omniscient, and so I might not always know the right thing, but I never purposely intend to deceive. If I am angered then by an accusation of being a liar, how much more does God have the right to be angry with an unbeliever? I think it is 100% probable.