Read Clayton Christensen’s Book Review of Faith Is Not Blind

February 20, 2019

“Technological progress affects every phase of our lives; consider how digital communications have changed the way you shop for products, access  information, and keep in touch with loved ones. There are certainly benefits to how the digital revolution has allowed us to find inspiration and share our beliefs with others.  At the same time, we are seeing that ready access to an overwhelming amount of information regarding religious opinions, practices, and history can sometimes precipitate a crisis of faith.

If you (or someone you know) are troubled by religious doubts, I recommend reading Faith Is Not Blind by Bruce and Marie Hafen.  This book contends that working through doubts and uncertainties is an integral part of faith’s natural growth process. To honestly grapple with what may shake our faith initially can ultimately play a role in anchoring our faith.  The significance of the title lies in the Hafens’ thesis, that faith does not imply shallow understanding or blind obedience; it can and should be strengthened through awareness, careful thought, and painful opposition.  This book is inspiring, thoughtful, and intellectually compelling.  It speaks to anyone who has become unsettled by information or experiences seemingly at odds with the simple faith they feel they once had. 

What I particularly appreciate about Faith Is Not Blind is that it does not attempt to provide answers to the myriad questions one might have related to faith or religious history.  It is similar to the approach I use when teaching cases at Harvard Business School—I can’t pretend to give students “the answer” to a given business question, but I can teach them how to find “their answer” when faced with daunting challenges in the future.  Instead of telling students what to think, I try to teach them how to think; this allows them to come up with solutions on their own.  Likewise, the Hafens provide a simple but powerful three-stage framework that you can apply on your own as you come across unexpected challenges. They recognize that many questions require personal insights and revelation that may differ person to person.  Their framework allows you to progress from a simple outlook that might be easily unsettled, to a personal, firm, and informed faith tested by time and experience.

I agree with the Hafens’ contention, that questions, doubts, and personal struggles can reveal new perspectives and lead to a more informed understanding and an increase in faith.  We do not need to fear our doubts--we can use them as a springboard to a stronger testimony and deeper faith.  As our outlook matures, we realize that not every question has an easy answer. We learn what we can from information that is available to us, and if we turn to God—we can trust that He will help us see the meaning in the struggles that will eventually lead us back to Him.”

- Clayton Christensen

Sarah Higley