Thursday, February 7, 2008

What is Faith? What could Faith be?

Faith is thrown around a lot, but not every one acknowledges what faith means. Sometimes faith is used as a catch-all or even scape goat "I don't have to prove my beliefs to you--I have Faith . . ." I think Faith should mean something more. I think we should grow, extend and stretch our faith. Anyone can choose not to believe in scinece on the basis of faith--the Catholic Church didn't forgive Galileo for saying the earth went around the sun, until late in the 20th century--but it takes REAL faith to say, I'll believe what science can prove to me; and yet still seek for the better part of life--the morals, the wisdom, the grace, the LOVE. I was raised in a fundamentalist, religious right tradition. I was raised to “hear from G-d”, etc. I thought it was just my lack of faith growing up, becasue even when I thought I was “hearing from G-d”–it really felt like I was just using my own common sense. This of course led to much consternation, questioning, doubt, etc. As an adult I have kind of come to believe that faith is more like a general target, and that “thinking on G-d” or praying or meditating, is a way for our conscious and sub-conscious to settle down from the distractions of the world and focus on the truths we know in our heart, and use them to make a wise decision, find peace, or gain “solid ground”. I do not mean to disparage or trivialize anyone’s faith. I have no problem with someone beleiving. However, I also think it is important that we examine for ourselves what is happening when we “use our faith”. An unexamined faith or an untested faith leads to blind fundamentalism, intolerance and ultimately the exact opposite of what Faith is supposed to stand for. I don’t see, or feel that the acceptance of logic/reason/science and the understanding of what really happens when we “pray”, “believe” or have “faith” should then negate that. I have no problem with people calling it what they want, using whatever stories, explanations, descriptions to describe the effects. But why can’t it just be that–and why does that recognition mean that faith is impossible. In short, Knowing that gravity makes the world spin and that it is the physics of the universe that started that process and keep it going, should not negate one’s “faith”. (and again, I use “faith” to not just mean religion, or theological thoughts, but to represent the core of every human’s beliefs in whatever they choose to believe in). In my opinion this truth only makes my inner faith stronger and more beautiful. Perhaps we should move our paradigm from faith aligning more with emotions to having it align in our minds more with wisdom.

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