Summary: Faith, by definition, requires us to move beyond our senses and our reason into an area that cannot be proven.
Prince Caspian: Confidence without evidence
The children are confronted with a choice. They don’t know which way to go to get across the gorge and meet Prince Caspian. Earlier in the story, Lucy sees Aslan, and points him out to the others. He is guiding them a specific but hidden route straight across the gorge. They do not see him. Most of them don’t believe Lucy saw Aslan. They think she is just indulging in wishful thinking.
They decide on a route based on the dwarf’s knowledge of the land, while Lucy’s suggestion that they follow Aslan across the gorge is argued down. Edmund is the only one who supports Lucy, and he gives in to the others too. Lucy is left with the difficult option of joining the others or being dismissed as a kid.
(Show Clip, Susan and Lucy by the fire, "Why couldn’t I see Aslan?")
So they take a longer route and see enemy soldiers. Then they backtrack. Lucy’s suggestion to go Aslan’s way reveals a way across the gorge that is both easier and beautiful.
The Pevense Children are in the middle of a question of sight versus belief. Will they trust Aslan even though one of them can see him and the others cannot?
For the most part, at first, they do not.
The result of faith will always be persecution. There is no way around it. Jesus warned us of it, Peter addresses it in his letter, and experience will prove it. The more we express faith, the more some will find it ridiculous. Why is this?
Remember Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 TNIV)
The definition of faith is belief in what cannot be demonstrated or proven. In other words, confidence without evidence. Especially in our age, reared on the scientific method, experimentation, demonstration, and technological advancement, "proof" has been canonized. It is a prerequisite for belief. It has become the religion of my generation.
That is not to say that younger generations than myself are not open to the exploration of spiritual things. They are. But my generation and the generations before mine have become calcified in their trust of science. The younger generations are open minded enough to see that Science has limitations and cannot live up to its claims and promises. However, the habits of our culture still tend to dictate responses to faith, and distrust of anything that cannot at least be adequately explained remains the rule.
Lewis was well aware of this problem and he has the Pevense Children living up to the industrialized attitudes of the post War era.
Even in Christian circles we have this problem. There are those who want a more rational religion and those who want a more mystical religion. Those who tend toward reason gravitate to understanding theology. This is good because the greatest minds in Western history were dedicated to understanding God. Those who are more mystical gravitate to experience. This is good because it leads us in the direction of personal encounters with God.
We could think of the two sides of the Christian coin as being understanding and doing. If we follow one path it is the same as a person who understands how to take two very flammable elements: Hydrogen and Oxygen, and create a compound to put out fires: water. The other person gets in a tub every day and takes a bath, keeping good hygiene. It is important to note that one need not cancel out the other. I want my chemists to have good hygiene, and I don’t want people who bath to think their responsibility ends there. Both have their place, and both are legitimate, helpful approaches to water.
Spiritual experience, is by definition, unprovable. We cannot demonstrate to another the validity and genuineness of our encounter with God. His Spirit has communed with ours and that is His personal gift to us.
Even rational spirituality cannot be proven. It is akin to philosophy which tries to account for the vast spectrum of human experience and thought. It, unfortunately, is inadequate to deal with the mind of God. His thoughts are not like our thoughts. His thoughts are above our thoughts, so our paltry reason will always be unable to cope with Him.
I can rationalize my way to God, but I cannot prove His existence
I can have a personal experience with God but I cannot prove its validity to another person.
We come back to faith
Confidence without evidence
Thus, Peter deals with faith in two waves. The first wave is the outside affect that faith will have on people, persecution. Because the Christian faith was not: