posted on Dec, 7 2015 @ 06:47 PM
O ye of little faith?
It is a fallacy of non-believers to repudiate belief and faith in general, where they have only ever repudiated particular beliefs and faiths. “I
have no faith in such and such a doctrine, therefor I have no faith at all”. Yet, given that the future cannot be told before it is present, and no
evidence for the purposes of prediction is ever complete, a certain species of faith is required for even the most innocuous of beliefs, such as
where, when and even whether the sun will rise the next day. The problem of induction illustrates the notion that faith, at least insofar as one
trusts in his methods, the results and the evidence, is nonetheless still required for even the most empirical of inquiries.
In certain circles of thought, “faith” has almost become a bad word, conjuring imagery of the lobotomizing effect found in extirpating one’s
affiliation and relationship with the sensual and earthly experience in exchange for belief in fable and myth. Being a “person of faith” is
apparently reserved for acolytes and followers of the various religious texts. Of course, as is the tradition, it isn’t by any empirical
demonstration or reason that faith be reserved for the religious, nor belief for the credulous. Such is the standard only because it has been repeated
so many times and over so many centuries, becoming customary and habitual, but hardly true.
G.K. Chesterton famously wrote that “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of
believing in anything”. Chesterton’s mistake was that he asserted people can choose not to believe in God, when in reality, they have only ever
chosen not to believe in what they were told to. In other words, it was rather Chesterton who believed in anything all along. Following this, until
there is a God to have faith in, there is no faith in God.
Religion and spirituality does not, nor has ever had, a monopoly on faith. On the contrary, the faith of the average religious person is so
insubstantial in comparison to the otherwise non-religious requirements of it, that if we were to weigh the concrete realities of the faith on our
scales, one side would fall at terminal velocity while the other remained in the heavens. If we were to agree that faith is faith in something
rather than faith in nothing, surely this “something” can be known, at least for the sake of knowing there is indeed something rather than
nothing to have faith in. Even a seemingly forgettable faith, such as faith in the skills of the other drivers in a morning commute, is infinitely
greater in size, proportion, and importance than any faith in any doctrine. A faith in the design and engineering of the vehicle, the city-planning,
and the rules of the road, the competence of the drivers and oneself, cannot be confined to any one particular book or prayer, and involves a myriad
of real beings, objects and environments, each of which we trust to various extents. In contrast, the faiths and beliefs of the religious person could
be constrained to a few words and sentences on a single page, revealing itself to be the only “something” the religious man has ever had faith in.
They could never point to any one thing besides a series of passages, books and stories. Yet, if a man was to have faith in a single tree, that its
branches will support his weight, that it will provide fruit, that it will continue to grow, he has proven a faith in something the passages, books
and stories could never amount to—something real.
It is trendy to mock, belittle and dismiss the faithful, but we wonder who has the last laugh knowing the positive effects of faith in health and
well-being are in themselves substantial. Faith seems to offset some of the debilitating stress and worry regarding forces outside of our control,
such as death, addiction or health, that the faithful even have better chances of surviving illness or injury. Though the religious would like to
reserve this benefit for themselves, perhaps under the impression that such results are a sign of the supernatural, one with a more substantial and
greater faith could prove otherwise, while at the same time directing his faith towards things that are deserved of it. One could find comfort in
trusting his doctor, his medical institution and the tradition of medicine he finds himself being cared by if he was so inclined. One can have faith
in his friends and family, that they might provide him with support, that he doesn’t have to fight alone. Most importantly, no sacrificium
intellectus is necessary.
Maybe it's time to revisit our mistrust of faith as non-believers, and instead become faithful again. It would be gloriously ironic to remove faith
from the clutches of the cold and aged doctrines that have up until now claimed monopoly on it, and return it to the earth and earthly where it has
always belonged. It’s time to show that every so-called loss of faith is in fact not much of a loss at all, and any subsequent “dark night of the
soul” is the very same placebo-effect as before—a misapplication of faith—but in reverse. It’s time to show Mr. Chesterton that yes, one can
believe in anything, but that no matter what it is, it will be substantially greater in size, reality, and worth, than whatever it was he had faith
Thank you for reading,