Got Faith?

Jesus is quoted in Matthew 17:20 as saying:

…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

In other words, with the tiniest amount of faith, you can move mountains. How much faith do you have? If it is even the tiniest amount, you can move a mountain! Wow! Care to give it a try?

Note that this is not testing God – certainly no one doubts that the creator of the universe would have trouble moving a mountain. This is a test for you and your faith. In 2 Corinthians 13:5-6, Paul suggests that you should indeed test your faith:

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.

If you don’t have the tiniest amount of faith (you’ll know this is the case if the mountain won’t budge), there’s a simple way you can get the faith you need. Here’s how according to Romans 10:17:

…faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

If you don’t already have one, go out and pick up a Red-letter Bible to make it easier to locate the word of Christ. Have someone read his words to you – reading them for yourself might qualify but the scripture says hearing so we want to be on the safe side. It could be that any part of the Bible could technically be considered the word of Christ but I recommend you focus on the actual red-lettered words of Christ, again just to be on the safe side. OK, let’s give the “mountain test” another whirl. Any luck this time?

One problem, according to Luke 8:12, might be that:

…the devil comes and takes away the word from [your] hearts, so that [you] may not believe and be saved.

You may have to repeat the hearing-the-red-lettered-Bible step several times to replentish the word of Christ faster than the devil can take it away from your heart.

Why does it really matter if you can or can’t move the mountain? If you don’t have enough faith to move the mountain, how do you know that you have enough faith to be saved? Recall that it only takes faith as small as a mustard seed (i.e., the smallest amount) to move the mountain. How much faith did you really have that the mountain would move? I’m sure some of you actually thought that it might move, others didn’t even try because they knew that it would not.

Exactly how much faith is required for salvation?

For the record, I tried to move ant hill… it wouldn’t budge. Did anyone else have any better luck?


10 Responses to Got Faith?

  1. JD says:

    Yeah, I moved the ant hill a couple feet, I kicked it. I had faith in my shoe! LOL

    Great Post!

  2. Demodocos says:

    Dude, are you serious? What exactly are you trying to say here? Are you trying to highlight what you honestly see as a blatant contradiction or absurdity, or are you satirizing the way in which some Christians use scripture. If it is the former, I’d love to respond by sharing the way in which Christians have and continue to read these texts. But if it is the latter, I’ll simply chuckle to myself and agree with you. Stupid Christians are a dime a dozen and no one has to look far to find them or their hermeneutics.

  3. The Atheist says:


    Dude, are you serious?

    Well yes and no.

    Are you trying to highlight what you honestly see as a blatant contradiction or absurdity, or are you satirizing the way in which some Christians use scripture

    Well, both!

    OK – let me explain. In most of my posts about contradictions or absurdities in scripture, I point out that the problem is with the fundamentalist view of the scripture; the view that it is the inerrant Word of God that is to be taken literally. I should have point that out here as well but I missed it.

    So I am indeed serious about the challenge, but the challenge is to the fundamentalist view of scripture. I also see what I said as truly highlighting contradictions and absurdities, but only if the scriptures are taken literally.

    Knowing a little about where you are coming from from earlier conversations with you, I’m expecting that you’ll chuckle and agree – but let me know if that’s not the case. But even if you do agree with my explanation (and perhaps my original post), I would still be interested in hearing your views of these texts.

  4. Francoise says:

    Huh! Moving mountains is EASY. Whenever I need to do it, I get my gang of slave labourers to hack away for a few years….If the mountain is too big even for them, I simply jump into a plane and bomb the shit out of it.

  5. The Atheist says:

    Hey, Francoise! Thanks for stopping by! :)

  6. Demodocos says:

    Just making sure. It’s good to know that a Christian and an Atheist are both working together towards the same goal of healing the blindness of fundamentalists. Let us both never tire in this task, even though it may seem that it would be easier to move mountains.

    In light of both this post and a more recent one, I leave us with the immortal words of Kansas:

    Carry on my wayward son,
    For there’ll be peace when you are done
    Lay your weary head to rest
    Now don’t you cry no more

  7. doug says:


    Read my latest post in “Why do atheists argue…”

    Best wishes & God bless yawl

  8. The Atheist says:


    It’s good to know that a Christian and an Atheist are both working together towards the same goal of healing the blindness of fundamentalists.

    It’s good to know indeed! I think fundamentalism is a manifestation of authoritarianism. We learn from history that authoritarian movements are a threat to any free society – freethought is requisite for a free society. Your comments are particularly useful in the effort – fundamentalist Christians fear that their faith depends on the unwavering acceptance of dogma – so your example as a Christian that doesn’t rely on dogma (and in fact, rejects it) can go a long way in helping them to overcome their fear.

    I find my self in Dennett’s camp on the question of whether non-fundamentalist (my distinction, not Dennett’s) religion is beneficial or detrimental to society. Dennett points out that religion has both beneficial and detrimental components and it is not clear if society is better off with or without religion. For example, the piece and joy that one’s faith may bring is clearly a benefit. My personal skepticism notwithstanding, I don’t feel particularly motivated to persuade anyone from their religious beliefs. I do however feel motivated to expose authoritarian ideals as the menace it is.

  9. ShariLee says:

    Moving Mountains!

    First of all, Jesus was referring to mountains of human obstacles–whether they are circumstances or emotional junk, and second, you grow faith by reading and then speaking the Word of God (WOG) aloud.
    You say it over and over, and you meditate on what it means, and as you do this, faith begins to grow. You can tell when you are in faith because joy begins to rise in your heart and mind, accompanied by peace.

    The next thing you know, you are believing, which if you are a Christian is what you are supposed to be doing–Believing. Believers Believe. Duh!!!

    The last thing is addresed to the atheist up above. Scripture is written in such a way as to “hide” the Truth from unbelievers. Believers have the Holy Spirit living inside of them to interpret and to give us revealed knowledge about the WOG, but unbelievers often read it and think it is just foolishness. And, to them, it is–because that is the way God wrote it.

    Accepting Christ as Savior and Lord is for everyone who will accept that they cannot do life by themselves and admit that they want and need help. Repenting of the things you have done in the past, and receiving all that Jesus died to give you, will get you straight into Heaven and into the Truth of the WOG, where you will find great Wisdom and Knowledge, and where wonderful mysteries will be revealed to you if you READ, SPEAK IT ALOUD, MEDITATE IT, and HARVEST the FAITH CROP that grows when you do this. Otherwise, you do not accept it or Him Who died to give it to you, and you will one day find y ourself in a very uncomfortable place for the rest of eternity with no way out and no opportunity to change your mind.

    It might be interesting for you to read Revelation. You will see that every single bit of it is coming true, and fast. There is not much time.

  10. The Atheist says:


    Thanks for stopping by!

    I think the phrase, “moving mountains,” might have been a figure of speech. Then again it might have been hyperbole, or it might have been literal. But I find no reason for understanding the passage to mean “human obstacles.”

    Your description of what you need to believe sounds like brainwashing! But that aside, if someone didn’t believe in the first place, why would he do all of those things in order to start believing? But even more puzzling is that if God wrote the Bible to confound unbelievers as you say, but the WOG is where faith comes from and that faith is required for salvation, then you believe in a cruel God indeed! You seem to be saying that God writes the Bible in such a way that unbelievers will think it folly, and as a result will not come to faith, and will as a result be damned for all eternity. If that’s not what you believe, could you explain what you meant by:

    Scripture is written in such a way as to “hide” the Truth from unbelievers.

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