John C. Wright hilariously essays to write about the supposed opposition between religion and science, and the nature of science fiction. His definition of science fiction is close to the true one, which is that science fiction is the imaginative fiction of the myths of modernity.

In a comment to the same essay, Wright succintly gives what I believe is the true definition of faith:

Faith is that on which you rely when unreasonable fears tempt you to disbelieve that to which your reason has consented.

If you read the amazing conversion story in that comment, you will find that Wright’s definition of reason isn’t a narrow definition where you have to start with first principles and then proceed to axiomatic deductions, though that too of course. He means things like reasonably believing something is true because you immediately experienced the supernatural love of the Holy Ghost when you prayed to know if it was.

What happens when your belief is being challenged is that reasons for doubts are put into the foreground of your mind while the reasons for belief recede into the background. The reasons for doubt loom larger than they really are. Faith is the process by which you force yourself to remember and keep in balance those reaons for belief that are distant during the immediate experience of challenge to your faith.

Much of what the Church preaches to the Saints in the way of daily prayer and scripture study, journal writing and journal reading, conscious acts of Christian service, Sabbath day observance and church attendance, have the effect of keeping what you already know about Christ’s gospel in the foreground.

We Saints often say that those who lose their faith have lost it because of sin. In some cases we are right, though I doubt most sinners have the intestinal fortitude and the will to self-deception to consciously say “I want to sin so I’m going to stop believing now.” Something like that happens in effect but the process is mediated by a genuine failure of faith, because sin has an extreme distancing effect on one’s reasons to believe, which are usually spiritual experiences. They appear remote and superficially trivial to the sin-caught mind. The experience of sin, or at least of the desire for sin, also has an immediacy and a sort of power whose spuriousness is not always evidence when you are caught up in it–so the desire for sin itself functions as a sort of foreground reason to disbelieve.

Repent oft, lest you be deceived.

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