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The meaning of faith


Margaret Brown is one of The Resident’s longest standing contributors and has lived in the Algarve for more than 20 years. As well as Point of View, she also writes Country Matters twice a month.

DURING THURSDAY’S class of what could be called Theology for Beginners, a question of the meaning of faith was raised.

In its broadest sense, faith means a strong belief in something or other that can neither be seen nor heard nor touched.

For Christians, it begins with the acceptance that Christ was born of a woman, raised from birth as a man yet remains the eternal Son of God.

Historical fact records the manner of his sacrifice and that he rose from the dead, later to be seen by many people bearing the physical marks of crucifixion.

Derided through the centuries, as G K Chesterton wrote: “The Christian faith has not been tried and found wanting: it has rather been found difficult and left untried”.

Is it so easy to deny that which has been tested and not found wanting by countless millions of people for 2,000 years.

Such a great weight of evidence exists, according to Lord Darling, former Chief Justice of England, that in a Court of Law “no intelligent jury in the World could fail to bring in a verdict that the Resurrection story is true”.

Such a statement in no way engenders faith but starting from there with a genuine wish to know more in order to weigh the evidence and make one’s own conclusion, it is possible that any effort and time spent will bring a rich reward.

To sign on the dotted line and become a “born again Christian” in search of personal salvation is just the beginning.

There is more to Christ’s teaching than this. It is not only about oneself but about the need to reach out, to serve others and to live according to His example.

Not just on Sundays or within one’s comfort zone, but outside in the big bad world.