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Jesus makes it pretty clear that because of our unbelief we will not see miracles in our life (see below).

However, psychological experts warn against the dangers of unrealistic expectations.

See Psychology Today: The Danger Of Having Unrealistic Expectations

In summary, unrealistic expectations can lead to very negative consequences, if the outcome is not met.

However, the New Testament instructs us to believe - in the super natural, in the impossible or in psychology terms: the unrealistic.

i.e. -

Jesus Gives Life to a Dead Girl:
Matthew: 35 While Jesus was still there speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. They said, “Your daughter is dead. There is no need to bother the Teacher.”

36 But Jesus did not care what the men said. He said to the synagogue leader, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

and

Matthew 13:58
And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.

Should our life be filled by consistently believing in the impossible - will that end up damaging our faith or just create a denial fantasy world apart from reality?

Should we be thinking about unrealistic vs. realistic belief?

Since Jesus is no longer here in human form, is OK to have unbelief?

Are there any good studies or articles on this concept?

Thank You.

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closed as not constructive by Yuletide Geek, warren, David Stratton, Caleb Sep 18 '12 at 15:28

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Funny part is, Judiasm isn't so supernatural and the story that are, are taken allegorically. Really, it's Christianity (as some Islam) that has the truly supernatural stories. –  user1054 Aug 27 '12 at 20:48
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...difficult to move mountains that way. –  Peter Turner Aug 27 '12 at 21:29

4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

According to Hebrews 11:1,

Faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the conviction (one could use the word rebuke here) of things not seen.

It is not that one is called to believe a lie, but rather that a Christian is called to see "through and not with the eye". There is far more to this world than what can be seen. Faith is merely having the trust in God that says, "no eye has seen see or ear heard what God has prepared for those who love him." (1 Cor 2:9). Just because we do not see what is truly going on, does not negate the fact that God is still orchestrating a reality unperceieved by our senses.

Furthermore, as verse 6 says,

Without faith, it is impossible to please God.

As such, I would argue that yes, indeed, Christians are thus compelled to believe what may not be perceived with the senses, but is nonetheless true.

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I think we need to be careful with our terms here.

  • It is good to believe the truth, including a belief in God, and a belief in His ability to miraculously impact the physical realm.

  • It is not good to believe lies. You were not made for the purpose of believing lies, and it can actually be destructive to you physically (mentally). I think what Psychologists are observing is the destructive effects of believing what is not true, whether that be "I am a gorilla", or "I am going to be a gorilla tomorrow" (an "unrealistic expectation").

So in that sense, it is not good to believe in the "unrealistic." But it is not fair to equate the "supernatural" with the "unrealistic" or "impossible", as if all that which were possible must exist in the natural (physical) realm.

To the extent that the supernatural realm is "real", it would be best to believe in it. To reject the God who really exists would be extremely unhealthy!

Bottom line: Christianity is about truth, not blind faith in unrealistic fantasies.

“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” -Jesus (John 8:31-32)

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If someone has been paralyzed for over 15 years (from a car crash) and still believes God will heal him to walk soon, is this a lie, fantasy, or truth? –  Greg McNulty Aug 28 '12 at 0:08
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@GregMcNulty Many people think the Christian term "faith" means an arbitrary belief in something, but this is not the case. A better definition of the Christian term faith is: believing what God has revealed. But of course, God must first reveal it. If God said "if anyone asks Me to heal them, I will immediately do so, no exceptions", then "faith" would be believing that, and asking. But He never said that. However, if God truly has revealed to you that you will be healed physically (in time), you can bet on that happening! That's faith. –  Jas 3.1 Aug 28 '12 at 0:23
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@Jas Matthew 7:7 makes it clear that promise is given. Yet, at least in this life, there is no real evidence of it being met. –  Marc Gravell Aug 28 '12 at 7:38
    
@Jas3.1: so then what is the relevance of the New Testament and people believing in each of their unique request and being healed? I thought that was the whole point? what about 1 John 5:14-15 –  Greg McNulty Aug 29 '12 at 0:21
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@GregMcNulty I would suggest opening a new question, but briefly, when you read things like "according to His will", "in My name", "if you have faith", etc. be careful not to gloss over those terms. Clearly not everything a person asks for is granted by God - even if they "believe" it will be. He is not a genie. The doctrine of asking and receiving needs to include all passages, such as James 4:3, Isaiah 59:1-2. Also, Luke 11:9 should be read in the context of 11:5-8, which teaches perseverence in prayer. (There are others which also teach this.) –  Jas 3.1 Aug 29 '12 at 18:12

Daniel 3:17-18

17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

1 John 5:14-15

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

====

Thus, I think the question really is: "Is our 'unrealistic' expectation according to God's will or our own sinful desires?"

In the latter case, the unrealistic expectation is pure stupidity. In the former case, I think it's faith.

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what if it is not considered sinful in anyway, should we have faith if we do not know God's will? –  Greg McNulty Aug 29 '12 at 0:25

Surely the question here is what is "realistic".

Few people would say that you should believe things that are false. The question is, What is the truth?

If you start with the assumption that miracles are impossible, then of course the rational conclusion is that you should not believe in miracles. But that's the question, isn't it? Are miracles possible or not?

It is obviously true that miracles are not common. Not dramatic, obvious miracles like seas parting or water turning into wine, at least. Whether they could be common if only we had more faith, or were better in tune with God's will; or if God's plan does not include more-frequent miracles under any circumstances is a big question that I don't claim to know the answer to.

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