A mature faith and an immature faith


I found this interesting article about the religious faith of Elizabeth Edwards. In her farewell statement, she said, "You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces -- my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope." Because she made no mention of God in that statement, people of a certain sensibility were offended. For example, blogger Donald Douglas attacked her for having the temerity of not holding Douglas's own theological views, and then went off half cocked with the ridiculous statement, "Being anti-religion is cool, so Edwards' non-theological theology gets props from the neo-communists."

How one can draw sweeping conclusions about another person's theology based on what they didn't say in a single sentence is a little odd, but based on other information in the above cited article, it is clear that what she believed about God was anything but simplistic. Any deviation from conservative orthodoxy is not, of course, a "non-theological theology", and the "neo-communists" remark by Douglas is laughable. But what particularly caught my eye in this article about Edwards was the following view that Edwards once expressed on divine intervention:

"I have, I think, somewhat of an odd version of God," Edwards explained to an audience of women bloggers when asked how her beliefs inform her politics. "I do not have an intervening God. I don't think I can pray to him -- or her -- to cure me of cancer."

Edwards, according to Stan, laughed after describing God as "her" -- hardly a heresy and certainly understandable given her audience -- and continued on:

"I appreciate other people's prayers for that [a cure for her cancer], but I believe that we are given a set of guidelines, and that we are obligated to live our lives with a view to those guidelines. And I don't believe that we should live our lives that way for some promise of eternal life, but because that's what's right. We should do those things because that's what's right."
Wise words indeed. In fact, I would argue that there is nothing odd at all about not believing that God will cure her of cancer if she prays for it. This, to me, is the hallmark of a more mature faith.


Andrew said...

Incredible... what a rotting sickness exists in the hearts of some people who claim the name of Christ.

Cynthia said...

What happened to "judge not, lest you be judged?"

Mature faith indeed, considering all that she experienced in her lifetime. Any number of people would have given up on God after one episode of suffering in Elizabeth Edwards' life.

She wouldn't have called her faith odd if she knew just how many people harbor the same faith. Funny how we feel we have to play it close to the chest for fear of ridicule.

irreverance said...

Good portrayal of how the immature faith chastises the mature faith for a lack of proper faith. Every time I run across this sort of thing, I want to bang my head on the desk.

Nice blog you have here, btw.

Mystical Seeker said...


I think this begs the question of why more people don't know that there are others who harbor the same faith.

Irreverance, I understand the desire to bang one's head against the desk when hearing this kind of thing, although I'm afraid I'd have given myself major brain damage long ago if I'd given in to that impulse every time I had it. :)