December 2017
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how does one have faith? my further reflections


I think I may have been a bit confusing in my recent post on faith because I was responding to a certain attitude rather than simply addressing faith. There is a certain attitude among some religious people that it is destructive to faith to seek concrete evidence or to use one's mind in conjunction with one's spirit, and I have a profound disagreement with that. I believe that if you have faith in something, you can make it even stronger by adding more knowledge /understanding /wisdom. ((or maybe you'll discover that your doubt was because you were mistaken, and then you can transition from a false belief to one based on truth! which of course would be a stronger faith. But it is this very possibility that keeps some people from seeking, and causes them to discourage others from seeking. To seek truth is to risk being wrong -- which is especially scary if being wrong means eternal torment, as some believe.))

I definitely value believing without concrete evidence -- I wasn't speaking against that, at all. I certainly don't have proof for everything I believe, but I have experienced the strengthening of my faith with the increase of knowledge. Maybe some people don't ever need it, but if a person ever feels doubt about what they believe, I think that a very good way to strengthen faith is to find concrete evidence -- whether that comes in the form of 'coincidence' or scientific studies or whatever. I can't see it as being harmful, and I CAN see it as being helpful. I don't think it is ever helpful to tell a person who is struggling to have faith to 'just believe.'

For years and years I had believed that plants, trees especially, have spirits and can feel. I believed this deeply, 'blindly,' and did not feel I was deceiving myself; I never really doubted it. But it wasn't until I read "The Secret Life of Plants" and learned that the feeling/sensing abilities of plants are proven facts that I was able to bring this belief from my spirit to my mind, where I can understand and express it in words! Because my mind now has a framework in which to place information from my spirit, I can understand mentally what I could previously only feel. I haven't yet written in-depth about the affect this has had on my spirituality but to put it simply, my spiritual faith has exploded with growth since absorbing all those physical facts. This is definitely not the first time that new knowledge has lead to stronger faith for me, but it is the most intense time (so far), and has left me with no doubt (haha!) that seeking knowledge on areas of faith is a positive choice.

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Comments
aetheric ══╣╠══
rapidrabbit ══╣oh really?╠══
I have such a hard time knowing if I'd call intuition proof on a general scale. Like you, I trust my intuition to the point that for me, it is often all I need. However, if I intune that someone is...muddied, I suppose you could say, in terms of being so far disconnected from the spiritual, them telling me their intuition was proof would definately draw skepticism from me, because I'd be less likely to believe it was truly pure spiritual intuition. But then, I don't expect others to accept my own intuition as proof for them, so at least I'm not being unfair in practice. :-P
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
maybe evidence is a better word for it? If intuition is evidence, it is evidence that some people consider sufficient, when others don't.
flyingshaman ══╣╠══
I agree with this. I agree that intuition for me -is- a form of proof. I wouldn't take on another's believe though, unless it resonated with me and seemed the right thing for me too, but I would definitely concur that intuition is a strong form of proof.
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
*nods!* The reason I put 'proof' in quotes was because I meant concrete (physical) evidence, but couldn't think of the right term. I definitely classify intuition as evidence! ;-) And it is sufficient for those who have the faith to hold it. ♥
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
mmm, yes. The reason I put 'proof' in quotes was because I meant concrete evidence (evidence that fits within the current 'reality' of most people), but couldn't think of the right term (I've since edited the post). I definitely classify intuition as evidence! ;-)

I had to go back and find that post you made asking super-awesome questions about faith/knowledge, and crafted up a post from it ;-) thanks for initially inspiring me to put those ideas into words!
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.