A Christian Science perspective.
A recent Monitor feature reported that the percentage of Americans claiming no religious affiliation has nearly doubled since 1990. How do those nonaffiliated parents help their children when asked the big questions – questions about the value of faith, the meaning of life, the problem of evil, our place in the cosmos, and so on?
If faith had a material origin and relied on a material God, it would be difficult to sustain faith in an entity that is so limited and inherently finite. How would a finite God remain relevant through changing times? A void between Creator and creation might open. However, what if faith at its purest didn’t start with a person? What if it starts with divine Spirit, and if creation is actually spiritual and infinite?
The Bible defines divinity as “a God of truth and without iniquity” (Deut. 32:4). Mary Baker Eddy, a devoted student of the Bible, who discovered Christian Science, understood God as Truth. She once wrote, “A saving faith comes not of a person, but of Truth’s presence and power” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 118).
If faith “comes not of a person,” it also comes not of a religious institution of persons. It doesn’t even come from all religious institutions collectively. What does that imply? Faith comes from the timeless presence and power of indestructible Truth. That’s why faith is a present possibility here in the high-tech world, just as it was for biblical figures. Real faith is within reach to help both the religious and the nonreligious. Real faith is at hand to help one discover meaningful, even healing, answers to life’s deepest questions.
Along with creating His universe, God created each one of us. We’re designed to embody faith in the power of good, of God. For people with no “religious” training, this inclination to have faith may be a latent, untapped resource within thought. Still, it is there. So, it makes sense for those moved to pray to do so. This prayer can be on behalf of humanity as a whole. Prayer can also support institutions that minister to people in the practice of faith.
Can these prayers touch that incipient faith that has already been placed in each heart? Absolutely. Then faith puts down roots, grows, and develops into a transforming power, a healing force. It does this one heart at a time.
Even if society comes up short in terms of the rising generation’s religious training, the shortfall is not unbridgeable. It is not too gaping a canyon for God to reach across. Realize this in prayer, and you make a difference. You bless others and yourself. You help those who don’t yet feel there is a God, and don’t yet know how to utilize the faith in Him that is also the faith from Him. With more than enough faith on the scene, thought tends Spiritward. Faith happens.
I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord.