Greetings and good morning brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series
where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years,
the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them
with you. This morning we seek to understand the difference between superstition, belief, and faith.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Superstition, Belief, and Faith
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrew,
Chapter 11, Verse 1.
Today we shall examine superstition, belief, and faith as they are related to eternal and spiritual
reality. Is there really a difference between superstition, belief, and faith? If so, what is that
difference and how do we validate it? Apparently superstition, belief, and faith are real to the mind
that perceives them. Superstition and faith are on the opposite spectrum of reality in as much as both
of these attitudes change the conduct of its devotees. Belief on the other hand does not significantly
alter the conduct of its devotees unless it has to some degree become infused with superstition or
faith. All of these attitudes have as its object the desire to alter reality and is motivated by something
deep inside that seeks help.
Because we are self conscious, we are actually aware of our mortal vulnerability. Early in our
experiences, we seek to alleviate our intolerable anxiety over our mortality and the subsequent fear
of being a transient reality in the universe. Much anxiety and many sleepless nights are consumed
as we try to wrestle with and solve some complicated problem that we recognize the solution to
which is essential to our sense of well being, whether they are concerns over health matters, our
children's welfare, our jobs, relationships, or just generalized anxiety and fear over what might be
In the absence of critical knowledge and the associated emotional need for relief from the crippling
fear and anxiety, we associate certain relationships with ill luck. We make no distinction between
cause and effect. We assume that if something happens and there is something that is related to it,
then it must be the cause. The degree of superstition held in the mind is directly proportional to the
degree of ignorance about natural causes or phenomenon. We dislike swimming in the sea of chance
and being subject to being snared in the net of evil. As ecclesiastics states: "For man knoweth not
his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so
are the sons of men snared in an evil time." This gives rise to superstition. Some examples of
superstition follow. Astrology attempts to forecast the fate of an individual undertaken by the
relationship that celestial objects have with one another. The practitioner of this false science tries
to guarantee a favorable outcome to his endeavors by abiding by the rules of astrology. Critical
observation reveals that the movements of celestial bodies have no influence whatsoever on the
success of any undertaking. But concerning the level of ignorance in modern society, there are still
many who believe and have faith in this error. They actually make decisions based upon the
juxtaposition of the whirling planets and stars.
A broken mirror is supposed to bring seven years of bad luck. Again, critical observation shows no
relationship exists between a broken mirror and events that occur in a person's life unless perchance
the person gets cut by a piece of the broken glass. A black cat crossing an individual's path is another
example of superstition. A person may truly believe (faith) this will change his direction if a black
cat crosses his path. As before, critical observation discloses no relationship at all between a black
cat crossing the path of an individual and subsequent ill fated events. In a world where so many
events occur simultaneously, it is inevitable that some event will occur that will be associated with
the predictions forecast by superstition.
Therefore, it requires critical observation to establish or disestablish a relationship between two
events. The hallmark of whether something is true or false is the consistency and reproducibility of
cause and effect. Chance events--though they be factual--do not necessarily disclose any true
relationship. And there are other examples of superstition, such as the protective value of carrying
a rabbit's foot, hanging a horse shoe above your door, wearing amulets for health benefits, reading
tea leaves and tarot cards, avoiding unlucky numbers, and being born with a veil over one's face. All
of these examples lack the all important factors: consistency and reproducibility. They all fail the test
of critical observation.
Next in our analysis comes belief. Belief is nothing more than an intellectual assessment by the self
that is devoid of total commitment. That is, the believer is not prepared to alter his life in any
significant way for the object that he purports to believe in. Thus it can be seen that a person can
believe in superstition or he can believe in the concept of faith. He can in short believe in anything
that his mind can conceive. Belief is a difficult road to travel down. The urge to believe is real, but
since the believer is not willing to act on what he believes, he can never know the truth of what he
believes. He is like a straw in the wind, blown hither and thither. The only consolation that he has
is when there is a chance association. For example, he may believe that he will receive some money
during a difficult time. Someone hearing of his difficulty--operating by an entirely different motive--
may give him the money. This chance association becomes the proof of the belief. And though he
may experience 99 other occasions where no money is forthcoming, these he will ignore while he
continues to believe in the one chance association where he did receive the money. The believer has
not yet arrived at the portals of truth, the actual relationship between cause and effect.
Finally we consider spiritual faith. Spiritual faith refers to spiritual relationships. This is an important
and necessary distinction, for applying spiritual faith to intellectual and material relationships can
have disappointing outcomes. Faith in the material and intellectual is appropriate and yields
consistent results, but trying to apply spiritual faith to an arena other than spiritual can be disastrous.
We want to consider spiritual faith and its validation. Let us look at the primary assertion of spiritual
faith: we are sons and daughters of God. At first scrutiny, this statement may appear false, but close
inspection and analysis shows that it is true. We are not only mortal but there is a part of us that is
immortal. And this part of us that is immortal is our soul, created by the heavenly Father. The soul
early manifests itself by seeking superhuman realities, even spiritual and divine realities. It seeks for
divine truth, beauty, and goodness and responds to divine qualities by increasingly living a life that
is true, beautiful and good. It increasingly responds to divine love by sincerely loving his brothers
and sisters unselfishly. But the real manifestation of the soul is the character manifestation of the
fruits of the spirit. Our moral personalities become increasingly qualitatively real as they divinely
interact with other personalities. Our personalities become dominated by divine love.
Faith is the instrument by which we become aware of these transactions and are nourished by the
spiritual realities of truth, beauty, and goodness. Faith when embraced causes us to behave in
character reactions like the heavenly Father, as revealed in his Son, Jesus. When we have faith in the
truth that we are sons and daughters of the Father, we live on a plane that is different from those who
have not embraced their spiritual birthright. Critical observation reveals that these character
manifestation are consistent and reproducible. The faith-saturated soul is a growing soul and is
increasingly aware of its spiritual brothers and sisters, both earthly and celestial. Finally faith is valid
because it transforms a selfish and fearful individual into a spiritual and unselfishly, divinely loving
This concludes today's message on understanding the difference between superstition, belief, and
faith. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your
day. Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.