The Intangible Reality

Tangibility (from Wikipedia)

In law, tangibility is the attribute of being detectable with the senses. In criminal law, one of the elements of an offense of larceny is that the stolen property must be tangible. In the context of intellectual property, expression in tangible form is one of the requirements for copyright protection

Spirituality is intangible. Religion tries to make it tangible – the expression of the intangible. They will use things like communion or baptism to make this point. Even attendance to a church and becoming a member is an expression of this intangible endeavor. Yet, one knows spirituality is intangible. Yet it still exists.

‘I have faith in you’

There’s a line I have used a lot. Yet even in the insubstance of what is being said – there is some sort of substance. The subject can be something as simple as passing a driving test or tough as interviewing for a job and I will say “I have faith in you’. Faith implies ones personal belief in that person – as unseen as this is. In this case it’s a type of support for the person…a belief in their abilties to get the job done. I can’t prove my support – it just is.  

Now one cannot truly prove ‘faith’ per se – yet it is somethings inspires people into action. Now I have tangible scriptures to read from mind you – but it’s just a book in all reality…unless put into action. The true depth of faith is how it can inspire a person to do something with their life…from reading words to proving themselves in action…and evaluating the outcomes of the ideas to become a better person (and in some cases, a worse person).

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11:1)

I think this is a fair critique of what faith ‘is’. I believe in people’s abilities, I also believe in a God I cannot see…both reveal an aspect of someone’s faith. Faith is type of trust – a type of support – for what is basically the unknown. Faith, in and of itself, is not problematic…in fact I think it is an essential to human living.

Don’t worry – if you don’t believe me – I will still support you.

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19 thoughts on “The Intangible Reality

  1. I think this is a fair critique of what faith ‘is’. I believe in people’s abilities, I also believe in a God I cannot see…both reveal an aspect of someone’s faith. Faith is type of trust – a type of support – for what is basically the unknown. Faith, in and of itself, is not problematic…in fact I think it is an essential to human living(Jason)

    I LIKE IT!

  2. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11:1)

    I like the way that this scripture is written in the KJV. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

    A person has hopes for certain things. I find it encouraging that “faith” is substance. Even though I don’t have the thing that I am hoping for, faith is the one tangible thing that I do have. Sometimes thats good enough

  3. “faith is the one tangible thing that I do have” (Just1)

    Faith is intangible – it is not an actual substance per se. It is something internal to us – it’s something we do (by nature I think). Faith is a lot of things though – the least not being hope.

    I was thinking about goal setting yesterday for some reason and realized – setting goals is a faith based endeavor in secular language. For example, someone’s goal could be to own a home one day – yet is that not based on one’s faith?

  4. Faith is intangible – it is not an actual substance per se. SVS

    Time for a little bit of weirdness. Faith could very well be a tangible thing. If faith is something that is produced in your brain, then “faith” could be a collection of cells, synapses, electricity, and enzymes that produce the feelings and thoughts that we title “faith”. In that sense faith is something tangible and worth holding on to and worth growing. Cells, synapses, electricity, and enzymes are all tangible things and somewhere in that mix, faith resides, and is made real.

  5. “Cells, synapses, electricity, and enzymes are all tangible things and somewhere in that mix, faith resides, and is made real.” (Just1)

    All those aspects of the brain are ‘real’ – as for which part of the brain produces faith and why – is that even known? Or is faith an idea that we develop and use over time as we grow? I cannot see faith – which is an idea – as something tangible…maybe that’s just me but if it is tangible – show me the tangible pieces?

  6. All those aspects of the brain are ‘real’….(SVS)

    yes, those are real. The cells or enzymes or chemical reactions that produces the thought called faith is real. Now a neuroscientist probably could not point out which particular cell, or enzyme, or electrical spark, is the one that is faith. But he/she could probably point out which region of the brain it is, that is sparking when faith is in action. Thus faith is not just an idea, but is actually a combination of cells, enyzymes, and sparks which are active in the brain. Therefore one could conclude that faith is real, or a tangible thing, that could be shown to a person.

    Not that it really matters, because it is more important to take that set of cells, synapses, and enzymes and develop it into a positive life in which great things happen and goals are reached.

  7. Faith is great…God gives it to us as a gift.

    But faith needs to touch down. The rubber needs to hit the road. Faith needs to be grasped.

    That is why (I believe) that the Lord commanded the Sacaraments. That we baptize and be baptized, and that we partake of His Supper.

    These are visable Word of God, where we can see, feel, touch, smell, and taste the forgiveness of our sins and know that God is at work in us.

  8. Just some thoughts:
    “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11:1)

    Too bad we don’t have separate words for:

    (1) faith-hopeful : (like Hebrews) where it is hope in something which has scant or no evidence — but, for which, there is no counter evidence.

    (2) faith-stubborn: hope in something for which there is lots of counter evidence

    Concerning the Sacraments:
    Rituals of this sort — be they Hindu, Muslim, Shinto, Buddhist — help a believer commit to their beliefs. They reinforce belief. They set up cognitive dissonance to fight doubt when counter evidence is strong.

    Does anyone disagree with that psychological analysis?
    Mind you, the sacrament could be true, but I think believers have to be brave and admit the common psychological use for humans.

  9. Our Lord Jesus commanded that we participate in the Sacraments.

    Therefore, unlike the religion’s of the world and their rituals, He is actually in them…creating (giving) the very things in us that He promises.

  10. great post Jay Bird! i’m right with you here. faith can be used in many ways, ex:

    I believe the person driving their car won’t swerve into my lane and hit me.

    I trust the person driving their car won’t swerve into my lane and hit me.

    I have faith that the person driving their car won’t swerve into my lane and hit me.

    I know that the person driving their car won’t swerve into my lane and hit me.

    the only difference between the last and the rest is certainity. i almost can never say “know” other than in hindsight. that’s very practical, everyday faith. you and i have faith in something a little greater than that though ;-). other’s don’t and i’m okay with that.

    theoldadam: “Our Lord Jesus commanded that we participate in the Sacraments. ”

    now are there 7 or just 2? is there a difference in sacred and secular? can sharing a cup of coffee with some one who’s hurting be a sacrament? like communion maybe? after all, when two or three are gathered….

  11. oh.. and the talk of the brain and consciousness.. that makes me think of my paper i’m doing for bio-ethics… here are some of my questions: what is alive? are our bodies just vehicles for our consciousness? we understand the mechanics yet can’t understand where personality resides, is this evidence for a soul? how genetically and biologically pre-determined are we?

    anyway.. just some thoughts as i read this… thanks for indirectly helping with my paper y’all 😀

  12. Remember, none of the NT writers were writing with the intent of their works being the complete sayings of Jesus (esp. the Gospels) nor systematic theology and a catechism (Pauls, James and other epistles).

    For this reason, the Catholic church and the Orthodox churches maintain that
    “Tradition” fills in many of the gaps as the particular parchments canonized by the Church. By those traditions, there are more sacraments.

    Protestants with their “Scriptora Sola” have an odd epistemology in light of the facts.

  13. @ adam (I don’t want to pick on your age, 😉 )
    Sure, let scripture come first, tradition second, reason third,
    But still that would allow more sacraments. Tradition is just a supplement in the views of Catholics and the Orthodox.

    Mind you, I really have no dog in this hunt, except clear reasoning (which comes higher in my epistemological heirarchy)

    So, Adam, will you allow the other traditions to value more sacraments and still break bread with them?

  14. Of course!

    Others can do what others will do.

    For us (Lutherans), the Lord’s Supper and Baptism are CLEARLY scriptural and commandments of Christ.

    The other “sacrments” for us are not so clear.

    Off to work!

    Ciao!

  15. “what is alive? are our bodies just vehicles for our consciousness? we understand the mechanics yet can’t understand where personality resides, is this evidence for a soul? how genetically and biologically pre-determined are we?” (Luke)

    Thank God, that there are some people that think about the possibilities and open the doors to different kinds of truth. Provides me the assurance that I’m on a good path.

    Can’t provide any lengthy insight into the questions, but I do appreciate that they have been asked. Since the answers a person comes up with are going to reveal something about their own self.

    Here’s my take on this question “how genetically and biologically predetermined are we?”

    Genetically and biologically, I am the product of my mom and dad. I have within me their cell structure and possibly their cell memories. Cell memories being some code imprinted within their cell structure, that they lived with, and developed to cope with life. Their cell memories are what influenced my life and my being (physical, emotional, intellect, spirit). I think like them, without knowing that I think like them, until I realize that I think like them, and then I either change or continue in it. Through the course of time I develop my cell memories which I may or may not have passed on to my children.

    The thing is my mom and dad carry the cell memories of their moms and dad. And so on and so forth until our first ancestors. In some sense we are connected to our ancestors, because we carry a piece of their genetic code within us. How deep does the rabbit hole go, that is the question.

    That answer may depend on what you think about evolution or creation. Maybe we go as far back as God, as our original ancestor and thus we carry some kind of genetic code, cell memory, or his essence in our being. Evolutionists may think we go back to our reptilian ancestors and thus some kind of reptillian brain thinking (small brain that thinks survival) is what drives us.

    Or maybe its both

  16. “In some sense we are connected to our ancestors, because we carry a piece of their genetic code within us. How deep does the rabbit hole go, that is the question” (Just1)

    2 studies in this worth looking at – the dna genes and the epigenome (surrounds the genome – or the genes). Studies in the epigenome seem very interesting in this field of ‘cell memory’. Scientists think they are finding cell memory that stretches back quite far in family lineages.

    “In biology, the term epigenetics refers to changes in phenotype (appearance) or gene expression caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence, hence the name epi- (Greek: over; above) -genetics.

    These changes may remain through cell divisions for the remainder of the cell’s life and may also last for multiple generations. However, there is no change in the underlying DNA sequence of the organism; instead, non-genetic factors cause the organism’s genes to behave (or “express themselves”) differently.” (Epigenetics – Wikipedia)

    It is in this process they are finding what makes changes in generation from generation – good (dna) and bad (disease susceptibility).

    Now that has nothing to do with ‘faith’ per se – but since we were getting all scientific and all – thought I’d something to what Just1 said concerning dna.

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