By Joe Torosian
“…Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.”
(Note: This FaithView was originally published in 2014…but I re-read it…updated it…cleaned a little…and have decided to post it again because the question keeps coming up.)
I didn’t know where else to put this, so I thought I’d do it here.
I’ve been asked why I am so certain about my faith. I really don’t feel like preaching about it Sunday morning, but I’m okay sharing about it. We know faith is the belief in things unseen, so it can come across as a bit oxymoronic to be certain about what you can’t see.
But I am certain.
I didn’t grow up with faith. Didn’t grow up in church. In modern terminology, my family life and upbringing would best be described as dysfunctional. So how did I come to faith in Christ, God, and the Bible?
I was driven to it by the world.
Haven’t had a psych analysis but…with an absent father, a mom working seven days a week, being seven years younger than my next closest sibling, living on a dead end street where people got shot, gangsters lived, and a prostitution house went into business, I experienced a few things. We had a home with two bedrooms for four people, no carpet, no key to the front door, plastic covering broken windows, and no heater.
With all that, I gravitated towards certainty and trusted what was true.
An example being I trusted my mom with absolute certainty. She never changed, never altered, never said one thing, and did another. She was as consistent as Lou Gehrig.
This played out in school as well. Math was great until letters replaced numbers. I couldn’t get my brain around it. Grammar came late to me because there’s a subjectivity at its edges that remain flexible depending on what circles you’re traveling (or writing) in. Eventually, I got a grasp on some of it (of course, that is being subjective).
History was something I loved because it never changed. When I read my brother’s high school history book at seven, I saw George Washington was born in 1732 and died in 1799. He was the first president, the president after him was John Adams, and he served from 1797 to 1801. He was followed by Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and so on.
When I turned twelve, it was the same. When I turned twenty, all the dates I had gathered were still the same. When my third daughter was born, it was all the same. Numbers and dates became part of my brain’s filing system. The dates in history never changed.
Science? Well, I got into dinosaurs when I was very young. I started by memorizing the periods, and the times, how long ago everything occurred, and how man came after the dinosaurs. It was fun, especially the meat eaters.
Then I started a new school year, and the times changed. The dinosaurs’ names changed. I imported it and went with it, but then it changed again. Thousands became millions, and in some cases, millions became billions–the numbers kept changing. There was no certainty to it, and they’re still changing.
Other things were pushed on me as well.
Overpopulation was going to destroy the world. It was preached to me in the public classroom. It was preached in the news and the media. And you know what? There’s no such thing as overpopulation.
They told me there would be another ice age, but it didn’t happen. Then it was global warming, but global warming didn’t happen, and then it became climate change–and climate disruption. These last few weeks, global warming has climbed back into the lead.
In 1989 it was explained to me that our oceans would be dead in ten years. Al Gore told us at the turn of the century–as he was raking in his millions–that the polar ice caps would be gone by 2013?
And the ozone, which was vanishing in the 70s, is still here.
Evolution was absolute, and we would see it playing out in our lifetime. They found “Lucy” …the missing link…then she wasn’t the missing link…The empirical evidence never came.
I was told when a woman had an abortion. It was just a lump of formless tissue. Ultrasounds and sonograms have changed that. And now, the argument is no longer about life but about rights and the freedom to choose.
It goes on and on and on. It’s in politics, Republicans and Democrats making declarations and then move on from them in Orwellian fashion.
The church is guilty of this as well. It did everything possible to assure us Jesus’s return was “the next event on the prophetic calendar.” I heard that in 1973, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1988, 1991, 1994, 1999, 2008, and 2016.
The church is paying a price today for all its doom, gloom, and newspaper exegesis. Part of that newspaper exegesis spawn has led to corrupt theology prospering in our pulpits, seminaries, and colleges. Because of this, many presume that Biblical authority no longer matters. “Jesus was fighting the establishment. He didn’t come to judge.”
I share these things not to persuade you to agree with me. I share them only to answer the question about how my faith was formed and consolidated.
You don’t have to agree with me on these issues. You can be pro anything you want, but if there is an advantage to my gray hair (and my ability to remember history), everything I mentioned above has been promoted, revamped, reinvented, and changed to suit the times.
I didn’t pick up the motto/creed: “Trust no one” overnight. It took a lot of observation.
So what drives my faith?
I learned in 1972 that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. In 2022 nothing has dissuaded me from that belief. John 3:16 is still John 3:16. There’s consistency in the scriptures.
And most importantly, no new revelation has come down, with any authority, laying out another way to inherit eternal life or to have a happy life.
I could spend more time talking about my faith, but the last thousand words were not supposed to be about my faith but the things I’ve seen and experienced that led me to my faith.
Here’s the point…I did not come to faith in Christ because I was indoctrinated by radical fundamentalists growing up.
No, I was driven to my faith by the fraudulent aspects of this world. And the elements of this world that have invaded the church’s theology.
They are ever-changing.
Yeah, I am certain of what I can’t see because what I do see–and am constantly told to embrace–has no certainty at all.
My Dad taught me everything I needed to know about being a father, and that is why I do the opposite. The world has demonstrated to me all the things not to believe in, so I don’t. That is how I came to my faith. That’s how I came to understand that the things I see are temporary but what is unseen is eternal.