I belong to a faith tradition that highly values action. Drawing on the broad witness of Scripture, Quakers are convinced that the sign of true faith is that it is lived out in daily life. Reciting a creed, affirming a statement of faith, or even reading the Bible, is no guarantee of faithfulness. We can say, “Lord, Lord,” all we want – but if our lives do not demonstrate the content of our faith, our words ring hollow.
For many of us, this begs the question: What is the point of having shared beliefs at all? If the whole point of the gospel is right action, could it be that intellectual beliefs are superfluous at best – and, at worst, even harmful? In a world with numerous competing belief systems, holding firmly to a particular set of beliefs – for example, about who Jesus is – might seem exclusive or narrow-minded. In this environment, why not just focus on loving others as best we can, without all the barriers that belief often seems to present?