John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

Faith: Good vs. Bad

There’s more to faith than content; there’s also quality. You can believe the right things well, or you can believe the right things poorly. On the other hand (how many hands is that?), you can believe the wrong things well, or you can believe the wrong things poorly. There’s right faith and wrong faith; but there’s also good faith and bad faith. Good faith is open, humble, and gentle. Bad faith is closed and arrogant.

Good faith asks questions and seeks answers. Bad faith is afraid of questions and believes it has already found all the answers it needs.

Good faith is courageous. Bad faith is just loud.

Good faith listens patiently and learns. Bad faith shouts and interrupts and refuses to consider the notion that it could learn anything new from anyone else.

Several years ago, Time Magazine interviewed George Lucas about the spiritual themes in the “Star Wars” movies. He said, “I put the Force in the movie in order to awaken a certain kind of spirituality in young people – more a belief in God than a belief in any particular religious system. I wanted to make it so that young people would begin to ask questions about the mystery. Not having enough interest in the mysteries of life to ask the question, ‘Is there a God or is there not a God?’ – this is for me the worst thing that can happen. I think you should have an opinion about that. Or you should be saying, ‘I’m looking. I’m very curious about this and am going to continue to look until I can find an answer, and if I can’t find an answer then I’ll die trying.’” (April 18, 1999)

I’ve read enough about the content of Mr. Lucas’ spiritual beliefs to say I believe he believes some wrong things. But I appreciate and applaud his efforts to inspire curiosity and desire. In that sense, Mr. Lucas may be one of those people who believe wrong things in a good way.

In the end, bad faith will produce bad fruit. People who believe poorly are often sour, harsh, judgmental, and mean. Likewise, good faith will eventually begin to produce good fruit. People who believe well are far more likely to demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Good faith ultimately leads to right faith. In fact, it is the only true path to real faith.

So, the wisdom of Ms. Dona rings true. There are Christians who have sullied the name of Christ – sometimes by believing and spreading falsehood. More often, though, it had nothing to do with the content of their faith but with its quality. They believed poorly, so they behaved poorly.

What are we to do now?

We could change our names. We could leave town. But it would be better to stay put, live well, and redeem our good name.