EXPERIENCE THE BASIS OF FAITH

The discoveries of physical science are readily accepted because they find corroboration in experience, and the tendency of the times is to demand like confirmation for every theory offered for the acceptance and guidance of mankind. When the question of religious faith arises, the intelligent man of the world is likely to say: "I cannot accept the record of the life of Jesus as historically truthful, because it presents as facts a series of events which find no corroboration in my experience and observation, but which are wholly discredited thereby. This test also informs me that to follow the teachings of Jesus as to the conduct of life and affairs would be to invite disaster. The idea of an overruling 'Father' who is both good and all powerful, I regretfully reject because it is not consistent with such knowledge of creation as enters my experience."

From the materialistic view-point these statements seem so reasonable that one may wonder they have ever been challenged at all. Yet, in spite of their insistency, the gospel record has been a living power in each succeeding century. Men in whom the heart leads the intellect have said. "These things are what should be, and therefore, though experience disowns them, they must be true." Others, likewise unable to reconcile the facts of the gospel to human experience, have in spite of this perceived that, though apparently consistent with nothing else within their knowledge, the life of Jesus was throughout consistent with itself. The thinker knows that such consistency does not arise accidentally or by human invention, and he therefore recognizes the overawing presence of a fact for which his theories must account or be found wanting. In all ages, by such paths as these, the heart and the intellect separately have sought their Lord. Sometimes they have met in the darkness, and from their contact has sprung experience consistent with the gospel story; and sometimes, too, the heart alone has ripened the fruits of faith. But such experiences have been sporadic; their authenticity has been accepted by only the few, and by even these they have too often been regarded as representative of the suspension of law rather than of its fulfilment.

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THE FAN
January 27, 1912
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