Faith

Faith

We live in an age of faith — what? This is a nonsensical statement! But wait, we do live in an age of faith — faith in technology, a belief that all will be fine in the future. But conversely, many have lost trust in society and espouse nihilism (1) and despair. The concept of faith, of course, historically has been associated with God or gods — something bigger than myself. This kind of faith was invigorating, and enlightening because it was evocative of an exciting and fulfilling reward after my earthly demise.

Now whether that belief was illogical, to a very large extent, was unimportant because it made human beings kinder, more thoughtful, and devoted to each other. (2)

Presently, civilization’s technological advancements, coupled with a general collapse of our moral foundations, have made us less curious about our inner needs. The average human being is just too busy competing with the external demons of money, power, and time to deal with existential concerns.

However, an exponential rise in depression, mental illness, and addictions — of every stripe and hue (3) — shows our decline in religious faithfulness is having a perilous effect on society as a whole. Why? Simply put — there is, intrinsically, no value to life — my life or the lives of others — unless I see it as a path forward, a path that ultimately leads to sanctification and glory, in whatever way I interpret this statement.

If I am just given life to earn, consume, and die, it is difficult to believe that it has any innate value.

Pascal’s Wager (4) offers us an interesting middle ground. His position is supported by numerous psychological studies. Simply put: Why not believe in God and his workings in the world? If you are wrong, you have lost nothing, the assumption has warmed your psyche on its journey.

For the most part, when you see a newborn child or walk on a beach after a storm, it is difficult to maintain that there are no supernatural forces at work in the universe. Faith and hope guide many a person forward in a confusing and, at first blush, meaningless life.

C.S. Lewis (5) leaves us with a thought: The Lord gives enough evidence of His existence so that those who want to believe will have their beliefs justified, but not so much evidence that those who don’t want to believe will be forced to feign loyalty.   

A closing thought: We live in complex and curious times. To live an integrated and contented life we need to answer three questions: Why am I here? What is my mission? What happens when I die? My private answer will provide an edifying and fulfilling life. And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. (6)

To sum up:  This week, we spoke about faith and how it adds hope to life.

To be noted:   From Alan Watts (7) — To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead, you relax and float.

Just for fun: 

For reflection: 

This week, on your thoughtful walk, please ponder what faith means to you.

Every day look for something magical and beautiful.

Don’t be a wage slave – critical thinking is great!

Quote:   Faith opens the door to true peace.

Footnotes:

1) Sisyphus syndrome in an age of despair

2)Religion’s Relationship to Happiness, Civic Engagement and Health Around the World

3) Religiosity and Mental Health: A Contribution to Understanding the Heterogeneity of Research Findings

4) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_wager

5) The Hope Bringer: The life story of C.S. Lewis

6) 1 Corinthians 13:13

7) Just Flow – Alan Watts