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Faith Beyond Belief

by Jojo Ruba

I have to admit that as I write this, I’m listening to Olympic coverage on TV. Whether it’s the American swimmers or the Japanese gymnasts, it’s easy to cheer on our favourite athletes as they compete for gold.

Anyone watching Canadian coverage will also be familiar with a tune that is meant to encourage us to support our team. I Believe was written for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and has become Canada’s Olympic theme song. But if you’ve ever actually read the lyrics of the song, it leaves out one essential detail: why should we believe?

A song that is supposed to help Canadians cheer on our athletes doesn’t actually give any reasons why we should “believe” in them. Consider the chorus that simply repeats:

I believe in the power that comes from a world brought together as one
I believe together we’ll find, I believe in the power of you and I

It becomes obvious as you read the lyrics that the song is not about the power of the athletes but about the power of belief:

Sometimes when I feel I’ve had enough
And I feel like giving up
You willed me to be all I can be
Now nothing can stop me

The song symbolizes what Canadians have been conditioned to believe about “belief.” Belief is seen as something irrational – no reasons have to be given to justify it. Moreover Canadians think belief is simply “willing” or “wishing” hard enough to get what you want.

Unfortunately, this is how most Canadians seem to think about religious faith. They don’t see any reason to be religious, let alone to believe in the Christian message. Rather, religious belief is seen as “irrational” without having to answer the question, why should we believe?

But anyone watching the Olympic results knows that belief simply is not enough to win a match. Athletes have to train physically and mentally to get to the podium. Some athletes have even won medals they didn’t believe they would get!

Most winning athletes probably do believe that they can win. But what they believe in is not their “belief” but their skills and their training. They have faith that their skills and hard work will be rewarded.

No wonder then, an April 2012 poll found that more than half of Canadians say religion is not an important part of their life. Why should anyone believe in something they have no idea is true? And the trend is moving away from religious belief. The Executive Director of the Association of Canadian Studies, which conducted the poll, also added that, “Younger Canadians appear far less convinced about the existence of God than does the oldest cohort” (source).

This is why we named our new organization Faith Beyond Belief (FBB). Canadians need to understand that Christianity has been tested and has proven itself trustworthy. We can have faith in the work and message of Jesus Christ because it’s true. Christian faith is not blind belief in belief but trust in someone reliable. 

FBB will share this message through its Christian worldview course, Christian apologetics videos and a Christian worldview conference in Calgary in 2013. Our goal is to help create effective Christian ambassadors that will impact our culture. And we hope you can be part of that work. This way Canadians will know what Olympic athletes already know when they train: that success is not based on our beliefs but on what or who, we believe in.

  • “…that success is not based on our beliefs but on what or who, we believe in.”

    Isn’t who or what we believe in the same thing as our beliefs???

    I have laid out a whole scenario wherein “faith” is found in a spiritual maturity that goes literally BEYOND BELIEF. That is beyond the need for Christian or other literal religious beliefs, toward a form of TRUST that transcends the need for existential certainties.

    Here individual religions are seen as merely local interpretations of a far broader spiritual reality that excludes no one.

    With a unitive (as opposed to ethnocentric and triumphalist) worldview, Faith Beyond Belief does not seek to promote Christianity over other religions, but includes Christianity as just one of the many means by which a person might grow into full use of the gifts by which they may contribute maximally to the good of all.

    Margaret Placentra Johnston

  • Margaret,

    I am curious, would you say that I am wrong because I believe that Christianity is the truth, that the only means of salvation is through Jesus Christ? Your post would imply that you believe there are many paths to salvation.