Tuesday 17 April 2012

Keep the Faith

It is very easy to be secular, to believe that G_D simply cannot exist, to argue that it is impossible that G_D does exist and to criticise those who happen to believe, however strongly, that G_D or a higher power of some sort exists. I'm not here to argue that G_D exists or anything like that. I don't think that is the point of having faith or believing that G_D does exist and, indeed, I don't think anyone will ever be able to prove that G_D does exist. The point, however, is that there should not be a need to argue for or against the existence of G_D. I do not reject evolution, I do not reject science but, crucially, I do not reject the idea that G_D exists, rather I would say that I have faith that G_D does exist. I am not asserting the existence of G_D - I do not know if G_D exists but that does not matter because I have faith that G_D exists.

I can't stand it when people question why I have faith, what it is I have faith in or call having faith (or a belief in G_D) irrational or something like that. I don't think I can explain the answers to either of the first two questions but I do not think I need to. Perhaps the attempt to explain something infinite (the universe) with something finite (the powers of mind) leaves a gap I chose to fill with faith, namely faith in G_D. Regardless, faith is incredibly personal, it is something for me to fall back on, to look to and live by. Something I can't stand just as much as being blasting faith for whatever reason is people trying to force faith (or religion) upon other people. It is something that should be left to individuals to discover (or not). That is why I do not see the point in arguing for or against G_D. Ignore the fact you could never convince the other side nor prove it either way (even if people argue they have removed reasonable doubt). It comes down to a personal decision of how to attempt to understand what seems unexplainable. If appealing to G_D only creates more questions than it does answers and doesn't do it for you, that is your decision to make. 

It is the last question or comment that really frustrates me, the comment: "Faith in G_D is irrational" or, "A belief in G_D is an irrational belief." I am obviously of the opinion that it is not irrational at all, in fact perfectly rational - an attempt to explain things for yourself and to help you understand things cannot be called irrational. The human desire to understand what it is that goes on around you can be overwhelming and any attempt, on a personal level, to explain those things can only be rational. To hold a belief in G_D for no other reason than because your mum told you G_D exists may be irrational, but to consider how best to explain the universe and your existence etc and to arrive at G_D as your best, personal, explanation is wholly rational. Indeed it helps me live my life, to recover from hardships and fuels my unrelenting positivity that things can only get better. I'm unsure how faith in G_D can be irrational, on a personal level, if it helps you carry on and gives you reason to hope for the future. Rather that seems perfectly and completely rational to me. 

Up until now, I'd not mentioned religion in this post at all. I am not a religious man but a man of faith. There is certainly a difference here, with a religious man going above and beyond having faith in G_D, something I do not really do. I would describe myself as culturally Jewish but certainly not religiously Jewish. When I say I have a faith in G_D, it is not, necessarily, in a Jewish G_D or necessarily in any religious concept of what a G_D is. Perhaps this article can help to explain the concept of having faith but not necessarily (or fully) buying into religion. Again, I do not really know or understand what kind of G_D I have faith in, only certain that I have faith. I do not believe the metaphysics or ontology of G_D need not come into consideration when I say that I have faith in G_D, it is not really that important. It is the having faith in G_D that matters for me, not what G_D is.   

I'm writing this in response to something I saw on Facebook (and I've been thinking of doing so for a while), not to force anyone to believe in G_D, not to argue that I am right but merely to defend my having faith in G_D. There is nothing wrong with not having faith in G_D but equally there is nothing wrong with having faith in G_D. I think having a faith in G_D (or not) should be immune to critique and not require you to justify it to anyone. I would never try and convince people that they should have faith, fully respectful of the personal nature of the belief. I only ask that you grant me the same. 


  1. Faith IS irrational (not necessarily a bad thing here). In your case you need faith in order to believe in God, presumably because it would otherwise seem unlikely. I totally agree that faith is personal, and rightly so, but when people spew blatant fabrications through any medium, including facebook, it's something that simply must be challenged. Those who react aren't attacking your faith, as it's something wholly personal, but are attacking the spreading of religious opinion as if it were fact, which as you rightly assert above it is not.

    1. There is a negative connotation to irrational that I don't feel comfortable with (I do note that you insert the bit in brackets) - I wouldn't say I was an irrational person but I certainly have faith in G_D. That is exactly correct.

      On the second point, when such fabrications are posted, the intention is (almost always) to try and convince people to have faith something which is simply wrong. As such, I would not contest the challenging of the spreading of such material at all, just to be clear :)! I do feel, however, that people often take the "Believing in G_D etc" is silly line when protesting at the spreading of religious opinion rather than pointing out it is not fact which is the correct way to go about it.

  2. Faith doesn't have to be justifiable to anyone but the person that has that faith. Faith doesn't also mean that you have the belief in G_D. The people that question your faith are merely forgetting the fact that they have faith also, just maybe not what your faith is. Those who then say it is irrational are foolish, if it makes the individual comfortable then it is with reason. Surely that's what irrational is...without reason, and if you have reason whatever it may be, then it can't possibly be irrational.

  3. Came for the baseless Iron Age theology... stayed for the fishes!

  4. "I do not reject evolution" - Err.. This is what Darwin himself thought of evolution:"I am quite conscious that my speculations run beyond the bounds of true science.It is a mere rag of an hypothesis with as many flaw[s] & holes as sound parts." Charles Darwin to Asa Gray, cited by Adrian Desmond and James Moore, Darwin, (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1991) pp. 456, 475.

    "Evolutionism is a fairy tale for grown-ups. This theory has helped nothing in the progress of science. It is useless." - Bounoure, Le Monde et la Vie (October 1983) [Director of Research at the National Center of Scientific Research in France]

    There are no atheists in foxholes...


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