How do you know what a stranger’s toothache feels like or their migraine? Or their stomachache? Or their joy?
What could be debilitating or overwhelming to one person may be inconsequential to another. But how do we tell someone their condition or state of being is less valid than our own?
We have no choice but to believe people when they talk about what or how they feel. We must take them at their word when discussing such subjective, extremely personal subjects.
Faith is an emotion felt so strongly that it’s real. Because you don’t share that emotion or have never felt that emotion, doesn’t make it any less real.
The same emotions can be felt by different people but in different ways, with different intensities and with different results. But again no less real. Just like the feeling of hunger or a headache.
Faith is as authentic as the tears and sadness and feelings of loss at a funeral. The pain is as real as the coffin. The pain can’t be seen or touched by others, but it is there.
Faith is subjective. Faith can’t be measured. But someone’s relationship with their Creator is as real as temperature, hunger pain, pleasure, happiness or sadness.
Christianity is the love of the wedding. We see people profess their love, share their love, declare their love. For those of us who have loved intently, we empathize with that feeling. But for those who have never felt deep love, weddings and everything they represent can be seen as hollow and empty.
It takes an arrogance too strong and empathy too weak to compel someone to dismiss the condition of another. Perhaps it’s simply ignorance that empowers people to scorn the needs or feelings or beliefs of others.
This is why it’s so dangerous to claim to measure someone else’s faith. How do we judge how strong or weak their faith may be? Or question its existence at all?
Despite the impossibility of adequately quantifying faith, sadness, hunger, or fatigue, people still try. They pass judgments based on their own experiences while ignoring the experiences of others. When they ignore others, they expect their own views to be accepted. And ironically, the only way their views can be accepted, is by faith.