You have to believe before you can believe you believe.
One day God was walking down a path on Earth. He came to a man and asked him, “What do you believe?”
The man scratched his head and said, “I believe the earth is round.”
God said, “Yes, I know; I created the earth and even your thinking that it is round.”
God then came to another man, and He said, “What do you believe?”
The man said, “I believe we are what we believe we are.”
God replied, “Yes, I know; I created your mind, but belief is not what you believe.”
God then came to a man with a big smile and said, “What do you believe?”
The man grinned and said, “I believe everything!”
God said, “Yes, I created everything, but everything to you is not everything.
God went on and met a stern-looking man on the path and said to him, “What do you believe?”
The man frowned and immediately said, “I believe nothing.”
God said to him, “Yes, I also created nothing, but nothing is something.”
God wondered as He wandered and He came to another man and said to him, “What do you believe?”
The man thought for a minute and said, “I believe practically everything and virtually nothing.”
“Welcome into the Kingdom of Heaven.” said God, surprised and satisfied.
The foundation of belief is "faithing" that God is! There actually is no other word to explain it. We might use perceiving but that is too emotional or we might use understanding but that is too mental. I think we are hardwired toward spiritual faithing. Although some say they don’t believe, they continue to have faith in their next breath; they still continue to have faith that the food they put in their mouth is going to go to the right place in their bodies and keep them alive; they still continue to have faith that the earth is in a planetary system with natural laws that will let the sun come up tomorrow. There is an inborn tendency to have Godly faith that is violated when we say we have no faith.
Placing the next layer on our God is! foundation then becomes a simpler proposition. However, I’ve found that many find this a more difficult labor. Until we believe that God created!, we will find it hard to really believe and be faithfully anxious because we don’t believe. Often, we don’t admit it to ourselves and that psychological deviation throws our whole belief system in disarray. Think about how most Christians believe—they say they believe “God created the heavens and Earth.” They have heard the words from Genesis. They might say, “Of course I believe the words of Genesis; it is in the Bible!” And, this might be stated with some finality. Saying you believe because of words may be enough for some but not for many.
Even so, believing that God created! introduces a great, as I call it, at-odds-with-rationality problem. We are asked to believe that God created us just as we are with all our virtues and intrinsic worth, and since God created!, it follows that He created us with all our faults and blemishes too? If God created our faults, does this mean that He created what we are going to do and be forever? There belief hits a snag. We can’t believe that God created bad things we do or that happen to us because that is too close to God also controls everything about us including what we do. And, if this is so, where does free will fit into the picture? So, we just ignore this aspect of belief.
Scientists have a way of “believing” that is foreign to non-scientists—they believe nothing is a fact, at least on a mass basis. There are facts, but we can only “believe” in what works. Individual scientists have their own set of facts, but they never let these facts interfere with how they search for what really works because the next experiment might “change the facts.” They understand that personal facts are not always what really works. I have even seen extremely competent scientists run an experiment several times because they just know from their personal set of facts that the results can’t be right. In the end, they change their set of facts to mesh with the tested results. Christians could take a lesson from this type of thinking; unfortunately, it generally only comes from years of scientific thinking. And yes, scientific thinking colors all of my belief.
The following summarizes my understanding of the four levels of belief:
- The physical level. This involves the things we do as believers. To start with, we might need to make our self do these things such as read the Bible, go to church services, pray to God, etc. Christians might call such actions worship, but technically, it is not the physical action that is the worship; worship is the interaction of the physical self with the individual spirit coalescing these four levels.
- The emotional level. A second level would be the things we feel as we are doing belief things. Surprisingly, these emotions are elicited easily, at least by most persons, and they are extremely enjoyable. For some, this is the level where faith actually begins and most worship lies.
- The mental level. If we were to be technical about it, we would say that everything happens in our brain so all is controlled in the mental. For our purposes here, we can say that the mental level is where we learn how to look into the spirit, where we figure out our belief, and where we inquestion spiritual contemplation.
- The spiritual level. Our spiritual level is a vacuum that can be filled only by God’s infilling. I believe that the perfection that is God is always there, but we don’t always give Him complete access to the rest of our lives. If things could be completely pure in our spirit, God (Holy Spirit) through our spirit, would control our mental thinking, which controls our emotions, which controls our physical actions. We would be perfect. However, since have our lives to live in this world and not in the spirit, no one can do this. No matter who we are, we only allow God access to a portion of our self.