[on being irrational]

Lately I've been reading Under the Banner of Heaven. It's a fascinating book and I highly recommend reading it.

But that's not what I want to talk about today.

When I started reading it, the author mentioned that faith is not a rational thing that can be controlled by logic or reason.

My hackles rose instantly when I read those words. It was very clear that the author meant them in a negative light; his disdain for organized religion is evident throughout the book.

Then I stopped and thought about it.

And you know what?

He's absolutely right. And that is what makes faith so beautiful and wonderful.

No, seriously.

In the past, my faith wasn't really faith. It was religion. This thing I called faith was only valid as far as was socially acceptable. At other times it was only as valid as I could convince a non-believer using logic & reason. Any further than those two bright lines and the whole thing crumbled.

But then something happened. It wasn't a conscious thing. It wasn't an active choice thing.

It just...happened.

I had been looking for God for so long but going about it all the wrong way.

You see, your head has nothing to do with faith. Absolutely, positively, nothing.

Faith is an irrational, illogical thing. It exists deep in your soul. Or your gut. Whichever you prefer.

Whatever you call that place where the things you absolutely know to be true live, that's where faith has its sole existence. Faith is that calm voice that says I know this is true. I don't know how. I don't know why. But I know.

Faith is this thing that says even though what you're saying makes perfect sense and what I believe doesn't make sense to the purely rational mind, I still believe it. I still know it's true. If that makes me crazy, then I guess I'm crazy.

Fine arguments and sound logic will never lead to faith. Never. Because faith is a gift, free to anyone who genuinely wants it. It won't show up instantly but it will come if you insist upon it. All you can do is keep your heart open and faith will find its way in. Like a seed, it will grow at the pace it grows. Just like you can't command an acorn to turn into an oak tree in an hour, you can't command faith to unfurl itself immediately. It's a far more subtle and simultaneously uncontrolled thing than that.

Fine arguments and sound logic will never destroy true faith. Never. Because true faith is rooted deeper than that.

Faith is a hard thing to pin down because it defies logic and explanation. Words fail it. So if you're confused, that's okay. That's the beauty of faith: you don't have to understand it.

We seem so ready to accept that love works this way. But when it comes to faith, we feel the need to tame it and make it comply with the rules of logic and rationality. In reality the two concepts aren't that different.

Just like a romance based on logic is doomed to fail, so is a faith based on logic: if you talked yourself into it, you can talk yourself right back out of it.

I guess what I'm saying is this: if you charge me with being irrational, then I stand guilty as charged.

And I'm totally okay with that.

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