The Weight of Glory: Part 3, The Objectivity of Faith

The obvious rebuttal to the argument from desire is the Freudian one, that our romantic longings for God and heaven are defense mechanisms that assuage existential terror and despair. In short, when we use a hermeneutics of suspicion, can these feelings be trusted?

Lewis offers a response in "The Weight of Glory" to this line of objection. Describing the revelatory authority of the Bible, Lewis writes:
The natural appeal of this authority is to me, at first, very small. At first sight it chills, rather than awakes, my desire. If Christianity could tell me no more of the far-off land than my own temperament led me to surmise already, then Christianity would be no higher than myself. If it has more to give me, I expect it to be less immediately attractive than "my own stuff"... If our religion is something objective, then we must never avert our eyes from those elements in it which seem puzzling or repellent which conceals what we do not yet know and need to know.
Basically, anyone who criticizes faith on the grounds that faith is a warm, cozy blanket or an existential narcotic in the face of a cold, indifferent cosmos, doesn't know jack about what faith actually feels like.

True, there are believers who seem to always exist is a state of bliss, hope, peace, and consolation. For these people, everything is "blessed." But the norm for faith is far different.

The name "Israel" is apt for the people of God. We aren't consoled by God as much as we wrestle with God. Faith is a struggle. As Lewis points out, faith isn't narcissistic, a mirror reflecting back my desires and dreams. Faith is, rather, a smack upside the head and a douse of cold water. Faith is hard, it's unsettling and upsetting. And during dark nights of the soul, faith is pain and suffering. There are many days when faith feels like a curse.

And as Lewis notes, this is where we encounter the objectivity of faith. Not objective like a rock or tree is objective, but objective in the sense that faith is an encounter with a reality separate and external to my own subjective longings. I am bumping into something beyond myself, something that is simply given that I cannot modify and can only discover and explore. Faith is objective in that I'm decidedly not making God into my own image. Rather, my image is being challenged, criticized, undermined, and being remade. And little of that experience is very fun or consoling.

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