Thursday, March 15, 2012

FAITH...once more

I would like to begin this narrative with an excerpt from my journal written in 2008.

“What role does faith play in my life?  J. Cash had his faith in God,and in Christ, to sustain him through the darkest hours.  There was a time when I thought I had that faith, but everything seemed to shift for me. 

God went from something beyond me to a spirit within me, and my “faith” became “trust” - accepting that the mystery that is God is within me, as it is in everyone of us.  And it is our responsibility to discover that in ways that suit us best.

Stories of God, and Jesus, help by giving structure and concreteness to that which is numinous.  Some find this to be their way.   I am more comfortable with the mystery, with the unknowing.  Either way, faith and/or trust work by releasing the strengths we all possess within ourselves.”

from journal, 8-7-08

Faith is what takes where reason cannot.  Theologians refer to this as the epistemological leap of faith, the point at which reason and physical knowledge must be left behind.  For some, this is an easy step to take, for others it is difficult, if not impossible.  It is a major step that may have a profound effect on one’s life, and in my opinion, it is a very personal one.  Men and women have been creating Gods for as long as historians have been able to determine; the need to believe in a higher power is irresistible, both for comfort and understanding of our world. God (and Gods) has been woven into the fabric of every civilization for thousands of years, as documented in the volumes of spiritual writing.  There are many who accept these documents as the words of God, and not the work of man.  But…even that is an act of faith, and as such, cannot be taken as the ultimate truth.  (I say this with no intentions of demeaning the messages that they impart.)   What one person believes, another may not, and neither is right or wrong.

There is a lot of noise today about a war on religion, which is sometimes countered by shouts of a war on reason and free- thinking.  Neither accomplishes anything but division and misunderstanding.  Reasonable men and women of both sides of this debate should be able to co-exist and engage in meaningful dialog, without the need to convert one another.

My own journey of faith has taken me in and out of many rooms, each leaving with me a part of the whole.  I embrace my beliefs and my doubts with equal passion.  I do not expect others to share my beliefs, but do expect that they be respected.

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