3 Myths and Misconceptions About FaithThere are misunderstandings of the Christian faith. And wherever misunderstandings exist, myths and misconceptions inevitably creep around them. Sadly, these three myths below are pervasive at the present time.

The first myth is that faith creates a problem-free life. This has produced more agnostics and atheists than any other counterfeit faith because it’s founded on the assumption that believing in Christ causes problems to vanish. And when this doesn’t prove true, they reject Christianity. And those who accept Christianity deny hardships exist or conclude that their adversities persist because they do not believe hard enough.

Faith provides perspective, perseverance, and purpose through tough times but doesn’t invariably protect anyone from life’s complex realities. Those who’ve walked with Christ through the centuries were constantly beset by pain, poverty, tragedy, illness, beatings, and other hardships. But those adversities built their faith. Their trials drew them closer to God because their faith was healthy and authentic before the difficulties started.

The second common myth is that faith provides “instant peace,” expressed in statements like: “If I’m truly faithful, I won’t experience grief, anger, discouragement, or confusion in the face of tragedy or loss. Instead, I’ll keep my chin up, eyes dry, and lips smiling.” This myth leads to unresolved emotions and a complete divorce from reality. People losing children, spouses, fortunes, and dreams speak of “wonderful peace” moments after the tragedy. That’s the result of shock, not peace!

Those who profess instant peace will suffer more pain in the future because they refuse to acknowledge their losses. But those with healthy faith express their emotions and are challenged to be stronger, to trust more, and to find real peace. Some might think, “But doesn’t Scripture tell us to be thankful for everything?” Yes! But that doesn’t deny human emotions by demanding instantaneous gratitude. Healthy faith will produce the peace that transcends your understanding. It won’t be instant, but it will be genuine.

The third myth I’d like to discuss I call “Pollyannaism.” In this warped reality, believers tell themselves and others, “Everything that happens is good.” But should we be grateful for crisis and tragedy? No. That is people manufacturing responses. Those who embrace this myth must habitually deny how they feel and thus forego the possibility of dealing with pain and grief.

Ultimately, this type of toxic thinking creates doubt about whether God is good. Scripture nowhere insists that we call every event that occurs good. What it does promise, however, is that God will take even the horrific events of life and work them together for good. And that’s quite a different thing. This myth produces quick and superficial relief but blocks reality and spiritual maturity.

Excerpted from the book More Jesus, Less Religion by Stephen Arterburn

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