Faith, Doubt and Belief

It is likely many people will disagree with my point of view. To me, it depends on what you mean by “faith” or “belief”?

I think you can’t have faith without doubts. If you are sure of the outcome it’s a habit – brushing teeth. It is like fear and courage, there is no courage, no point to it, without fear. When you go forward when full of doubt that is an act of faith. It is true that faith very often requires courage because the consequences of faith-filled actions may result in pain in many ways. It is why faith is a very powerful choice. For some, especially in the case of depression, some phobias and great loss, just getting up in the morning and going through ordinary life is an act of great faith (and courage).

Belief, to me, on the other hand, is the fuel and the source of values. It can be the acceptance as real some situation, thing or being/s that there is no objective evidence for. It can be acceptance of the word of an authority figure like a scientist or a priest. You can have subjective evidence, of course. You can have beliefs in God/desses and/or spirit/s etc that give order to the universe or in structures or laws of the universe (like manifestation) that don’t have a material scientific foundation. It can be about your feelings for the source of authority and expertise. It doesn’t mean that the belief doesn’t serve you well to align your energies for achieving the things you want or need.

I’d add, in response to previous posts, that I think there is plenty of evidence that the universe is an ordered place that follows laws and is understandable, this doesn’t require belief. It is the foundation of both science and religion and is directly experienceable.

Where science thinks this order is innate to the universe and is discoverable and that this process is shareable and this order is experienceable by anything (including people, animals, plants, rocks and stars).

Religion goes one step further and says there is an intelligent source for that order and that this intelligence is (mostly) concerned with the believer personally. This intelligence is experienceable by special people of authority – prophets, messiahs, gurus, avatars. Now like I said the spiritual types and other experiential believers reading this will disagree and say that spiritual experiences are available to all.

I would say that I consider myself a mystic (because it is derived from mystery) and a philosopher because doubt is my religion. I’ve had a lot of spiritual experiences, past life, oneness with and invocation of gods and spirits but I don’t assume I know the causes of these or assume they tell me how the universe is structured. To explain something is to step out of the experience into that useful but not always accurate tool the intellect. I call myself a ‘radical agnostic’. The term comes from Stephen Bachelor. My definition is that radicals in politics devote their lives to their beliefs/ideology and an agnostic means ‘don’t know’ – so I’ve devoted my life to the questions with answers as preliminary.

I hope this means something to you. Using this framework – it is important to question beliefs. It is also important to recognise when you are being courageous and faithful and take strength from that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *