What Do We Mean When We Say We Believe?

The Power of Beliefalaska-eagle-caufgt-fish

Author: Michael Dewar
Executive Director/Dwelling Place Cleansing

The word “believe” could be a very tricky word; lately, it is creating a lot of confusion for some in the public square, government, and the media. So, I decided to take a look at it with the following three use of the word believe:

Hi John, are you going to the concert this Saturday? John gives his answer, “I believe so.” Regardless of his facial expression, this colloquial use of the word expresses uncertainty. John is not quite sure that he will attend the Saturday concert. If he had a strong sense of certainty, he would have used others words like, most definitely! Or, without question!

I believe in Jesus and He forgave me of my sins. Here believe presupposes three things: Knowledge about Jesus, accent or agreement that He is able to forgive, and appropriation (that is personally accepting Him as Savior, so He could do the forgiving). To do all this a person must accept the historical fact of His Virgin Birth, His death, and His resurrection. Upon these foundational truths rooted in factual, historical evidence, people say–you are a believer.

I believe five million undocumented persons voted illegally in the recent election. In this context believe is a notion in my head that has to be substantiated by quantifiable, factual evidence outside of my head. Let me illustrate with the following experience:

I did one year internship (Social Work) in a major psychiatric hospital in Queens, New York. On the first day, I was told to present my credentials to the resident psychiatrist; he supposed to be somewhere on the ward. The first man I saw with a white coat and a stethoscope around his neck I presumed to be the doctor. As I was getting ready to talk to him, a nurse came out and said, “Not him! He is a patient.” He just believes he is a doctor. Later, another patient told we with much conviction that she was the Virgin Mary. She believed that she was. The fact is, the man was not a doctor and the woman was neither Mary or a virgin (she had children). Even faith requires evidence (Heb. 11:1).

We cannot take what is in a person’s head as truth unless we have factual, historical data that is quantifiable. It does not matter whose head the belief finds residence in. I am beginning to think that a psychiatric evaluation should be part of the requirement to run for public office.

Published by The Dwelling Place

I am, Michael Dewar, author and director of Dwelling Place and the chief writer. Professionally, I am pastor, Bible teacher, mentor in the spiritual life, a specialist and consultant in church and family conflicts. I also have a background in Social Work (LMSW) and mental healtn.

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