A while back, some of us had an interesting discussion on my blog called “The Faith Gene.” We were examining the possibility that certain people were born with such a gene, while others weren’t.Personally, I find it hard to believe that faith is genetic. But at the same time, it certainly appears that some of us, whether it’s genetic or not, are somehow predisposed to believe.
Certain scriptures seem to support the idea that God gifted some of us with the ability to believe:
“And again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many; and they come from the same God. And there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all; and they are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them… And to another, exceedingly great faith; and to another, the gifts of healing by the same Spirit… (Moroni 10: 8, 11)”
(see also 1 Cor. 12: 9)
“Wherefore, you have received the same power, and the same faith, and the same gift like unto him…” (D&C 17: 7)”
“To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful” (D&C 46:13-14).
Some of finest people I’ve ever known, in terms of ethical and moral uprightness, generosity and compassion, are non-believers. It’s always been a mystery to me as to why some people can be such strong, firm believers, while others just can’t. It’s been my observation that those of us in the Church tend to attribute unbelief to pride. In other words, those who claim to not believe (I say “claim” because there are many believers — not including myself — who contend that non-believers really do believe deep within themselves) just haven’t humbled themselves enough or tried hard enough. I’m just not sure that it’s that simple.
Questions for discussion:
1. Is faith innate or an acquired trait?
2. If faith is such an essential component of eternal salvation, do those who have been given the “gift of faith” have an unfair advantage in the Plan of Salvation?
3. A commenter in one of the discussions I took part in suggested that non-believers are a needed component of God’s plan, in that there must be “opposition in all things;” that they are there to challenge and try our faith. If that is so, were they “foreordained” to that role by not being endowed with “the gift of faith,” or have they made a conscious decision to not believe?