November 2017
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what does 'having faith' mean to me? knowing&believing / the way I have faith


Faith, to me, is simply choosing to believe something. I don't think anyone can have faith in something without evidence, but the evidence is merely the key to the door -- faith is walking through it. Some people might throw away the key as useless or not even notice it because it is so ethereal, others spend their lives looking for more keys to more doors to walk through. And this 'evidence-key' is different for different people, of course. Some have to be absolutely sure it will fit in the door before attempting to use it, others try it out and keep looking if it doesn't work. Some people only accept evidence which can be measured or understood in a concrete way (science), others accept evidence which is expressed in abstract (intuition).

It takes faith to believe in even the most evidence-substantiated things. One can have knowledge of something and not have faith, and vice versa. I have known people who have experienced the supernatural yet refused to believe it. I have known others who have believed without experiencing. Anything which one has not experienced, one is taking on faith. I do not have 'knowledge' that people speak Hungarian, because I have never heard it -- but I have faith. Knowledge is simply strong evidence; it still takes faith to accept. If a chair has always supported you when you sat on it, you can call it knowledge that the chair will support you, but it is still an act of faith to flop on it. It takes only a little faith because of the amount of evidence you have, but really every action anyone ever takes is an act of faith.

Most people make a distinction between something one believes and something one knows. I see them as exactly the same thing. I believe there is no such thing as a single, objective reality, but rather that we are all continuously creating our own overlapping realities. (the reason for the similarities is that we cannot easily break away from the overlapping of others and usually we don't ever try, and indeed we need the overlap in order to connect) The reality shared by most is what we like to call objective reality or 'fact' -- but this is still colored by what we are willing to believe, and it changes as often as the 'most' group changes. It was 'objective reality' that the earth was flat, that the earth was the center of the universe, that the bumps of a person's skull could explain personality, that living things could come from non-living things. These beliefs were called knowledge, called fact, and they defined reality for many people. Now we have a (mostly) new set of beliefs which we call reality -- 'objective reality' is just a word for what the average person at a given time has faith in.

The way I have faith is hard to describe. I have no text(s) which I hold as the structure of my faith, nor do I have a community of people who believe as I do. Instead, my faith is an ever-changing thing, based on what resonates with me as truth. I practice listening to my spirit, and when my spirit suggests something in an intuitive sense or a dream or just a pull towards a certain person who will give me guidance, I examine that. I turn it over and over in my mind, I seek evidence in both intuitive and concrete ways -- through divination, 'coincidence,' prayer, and (if it's available) research. Eventually my feelings/thoughts about it develop enough that I either reject or embrace it. Sometimes immediately upon suggestion I embrace it, but that doesn't stop me from seeking to learn more and strengthen my faith in whatever it may be. So I would say that my process is: 1) learn new information, 2) feel inspiration (kinda like an epiphany), 3) consider evidence (abstract & concrete), and 4) embrace/reject idea, sometimes with 3 & 4 reversed.

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Comments
aetheric ══╣╠══
aerialmelodies ══╣Agree╠══
I agree. I've heard the chair analogy before, and it's a beautiful way to describe the way we can combine what we know with what we believe. I like this entry!
belenen ══╣artless╠══
thank you!
belenen ══╣shimmering╠══
*beams* ♥ ♥ ♥
free2be ══╣╠══
I think everything keeps us from having a full experience of what we are, of who we are. We're so busy processing the remnants of the physical side of things that it's difficult to be in touch with much else. And we go on processing--old stuff too--at the same time we're in the "now" moment, so we're rarely fully in the moment. We're not fully in the now.

Just as a heavy fog often distracts us on a dark night as we make our way home, something grabbing our heart, and we think, "Am I on the right street?"...feeling so alone and vulnerable. (because our ego momentarily dropped the [illusionary] ball)

Faith helps us realign and collapse those doubtful moments. A small shift in awareness; the bad stuff slides by underneath like a satanic serpent.

Even a little faith (mustard seed size) is enough for miracles...but we rarely get out of our own way; we're in a perpetual, often fear-filled, fog. Which is why we all sin so much.

We then ask God to forgive us, as we forgive ourselves, and focus on loving.

Ideally. And, then a short time later, we sin some more. Guess it should be fun. Sometimes it is, momentarialy, then there's more hell to pay. But it's all good, else it wouldn't happen. So what if we don't like it, you know?
belenen ══╣powerful╠══
fear is the opposite of all that is good... love, faith, hope, trust, honesty... Definitely something to watch for and break down as fast as one can.
tralfamadore ══╣me - cold and in awe╠══
Oh, what a positively stunning entry! I feel so blessed that you have chosen to share this aspect of your beliefs. So many times throughout, I found myself nodding along in understanding and agreement. I think you've really hit the proverbial nail on the head with this.

For years I've been attempting to explain my belief that there is no such thing as an objective reality, but have found myself mostly unable to find the proper words with which to make it understandable. But here you are, expressing so perfectly what I have tried for so long to make sense of. Thank you, thank you so much for sharing.
belenen ══╣voltaic╠══
ohh, thank you! I'm so glad it resonated with you so much.

and you know what I found when putting this entry together? we aren't the only ones ;-) thrilling reading, that!
dirtyandsmiling ══╣╠══
Ah, I remember years ago in church when I used the exact same metaphor for faith, explaining it pretty much the same way. Being big on inside-joke quotes, "Faith is sitting in a chair!" became a memorable one for my friends and I back then. We use faith constantly, effortlessly, thoughtlessly, on a daily basis, yet at other times it is so difficult to wrap one's head around. There must be different degrees of faith.

I agree with you on the subject of reality as well. Reading and watching What the Bleep Do We Know was very... um, reality-altering, I suppose. ;) "You create your own reality" is one of the most amazingly mind-blowing concepts I've ever learned. Not to say that I'm a fantastic practicioner of the concept! I still can't walk through walls or fly, no matter how much I think I can, lol. The objective reality still saturates me, except at certain moments of deep concentration/meditation/enlightenment/whatever you want to call it. Reading certain books or seeing certain movies brings out that created reality, but then it slowly fades a few days afterwards, after being submerged in day-to-day life. I lose focus too much, don't think often enough; otherwise I'd be able to hold onto it longer, or permanently.

Anyhoo... I haven't been on in forever and am glad to be back. I love your entries.
belenen ══╣incitement╠══
hee hee, I like the inside-joke there ;-)

oh yeah, that movie was quite mind-blowing for me! so true and intense. And I find it hard to hold on to that focus too, but with practice I am very slowly getting better. ;-)

thank you!
valynn ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
What you are describing is the philosophy that things still exist outside of perception -- which is not a fact because it cannot be proven. (someone has to perceive it to know if it is there (whether by proxy or in person), so if no one perceives it there is no way to know). What I believe is a different philosophy -- I may not have explained it all that well but that article might help make it clearer. Watching the movie "What the Bleep Do We Know" might also help explain how reality is not quite so solid as many people currently believe.
valynn ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
What if man somehow never learned that the earth was round? That doesn't make it flat. It will still be round no matter what.

However, the fact that the earth was round was not part of anyone's reality. It had no meaning to anyone -- it was not part of the way anyone thought. If a fact has no relevance to any being within my experience, I would not call it truth. It may still be fact, but there is no way to prove that. Perhaps the earth was flat until we thought otherwise -- there is no way to know.
valynn ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
equally.
bunny1981 ══╣╠══
I came across your journal on "coincidence" (hehe). And this entry really expressed some thoughts I have. Thanks for sharing them and bringing them to the light.
belenen ══╣amused╠══
oh, wonderful! I love 'destined happenings' as I call coincidences :D
mmmmurgle ══╣╠══
Mulling needed
This was...fascinating, because so much of your premise about the subjective nature of the reality we perceive facts as adding up to a continuum feels exactly like where I start out--but we end up in such a different place spiritually.

I feel like it's maybe that except for a few exceptions (mostly having to do with interpersonal responsibility and/or children), I don't really have enough faith in my faiths to transform things into beliefs.

Now back to reading. :) It's such a cognitive switch to try to leave a real comment.
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.