what to do when your faith is shaken

On a television show like “Bones,”  faith and reason, science and religion, seem to be inevitably at odds.  That is part of the beauty of the chemistry between Booth and Brennan – this dynamic interplay reminds me that just because something appears to be contrary doesn’t mean it has nothing in common.

While there could be many places to start with an episode called, The Devil in the Details,  an episode about a body found lit on fire in the middle of a Roman Catholic sanctuary, it was the last few minutes that caught my eye.
Brennan asks Booth a simple question – how is your faith not shaken after a case like this one?  And his simple answer is, it is.  He’s going to lie awake tonight and toss and turn and question and doubt. But he trusts that his faith will come back as much as he trusts the sun will rise the next morning.

My mind immediately went to the philosopher Hume, who took empiricism to its farthest limits when he posited that just because the sun has come up every other morning is no guarantee that it will come up on the next morning.  Cause and effect is not something that we can see or touch or taste.

Brennan’s response lies somewhere between Hume and faith.  She is concerned with causes and effects and when she sees an effect, like a dead person, and cannot determine the cause – her ability to trust in the basics of science and reason is tested.  But throughout it all – even when she can’t see what she is looking for, she can trust that 2+2 = 4.  “There are mysteries that I will never understand, but everywhere I look I see proof that for every effect there is a corresponding cause… even if I can’t see it.  I find that reassuring.”

I was once told that our faith needs to be strong enough so that if one of the pillars of that faith is shaken, the whole thing won’t come tumbling down.  The question always seemed to me – what are the pillars that are okay to be shaken?  And what are the immovable and unshakable tenants of our faith?

For Booth and Brennan – it was the simple things that provided the grounding.  The sun coming up.  A simple mathematical equation.  Something that we can see with our eyes, something that will never possibly be untrue. We may not know why… but we simply know.

Despite all of the questions of theodicy and good and evil and causes and effects… what are the things that we KNOW?  what are the things that never go away – no matter how much our faith is shaken and how we are tossed about?  what is your grounding, your anchor in the midst of a storm?

Whether it is rational or not – or biblical or not – I always go back to the simple premise that God is love.  No matter the tragedies in the world, I trust that God is love and that God is present with those who are hurting.  I trust that whatever evil has befallen us, that God is love and that love will conquer all.  It is as true for me as the sun rising in the morning or a mathematical equation.  Throw in all of the clouds and variables that you want… the earth will keep spinning and God will still be love.

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