A pile is more than a heap of something; in construction terminology, a “pile” is a foundation element. Generally, it is a sturdy wood or concrete pier bored and poured deep into the ground upon which the rest of a building or bridge is constructed. In doing some morning reading, I encountered a book excerpt by James C. Turner (Cavanaugh Professor of Humanities at the University of Notre Dame). The excerpt observed:
“...intellectual problems of belief provide the clearest entryway into agnosticism...people seldom defined explicitly the basic rationale for their faith...So one cannot be sure which intellectual prop bore most of the weight of belief.”
Turner goes on to speak of the three most commonly given reasons for faith in the nineteenth century. This particular quote however stuck out to me. A pile or pier foundation is only as good as its depth and material allow. A deep wooden pier is fine, but it may eventually succumb to termites or rot; a concrete pier is great, but if it is dug too shallow, then the entire building will drift out of square.
What are the piles of faith made of? They are surely composed differently from individual to individual, but have we ever taken a look at them? If one never bothers to inspect their spiritual foundation, it should come as no surprise when it develops problems that call to question the usefulness of faith itself. Many posit that faith is ultimately a matter of the heart, and that if you wait for it all to make sense in your head, you will never arrive at it. While this is true to some degree, one can hedge their bets by looking to the witness of those believers gone on before us, and by periodically gazing into our own convictions.
We must all make a leap of faith in order to accept Christ, but do not be too hasty to cast away the wings of logic and rationale, or you may not make the jump.