Art by Norman E. Masters
It is not for me to be so *presumptuous* as to be telling you, Sunny, what you "should" have faith in!
If some religious fanatic comes up to me, telling me i "should have faith in Jesus Christ" as my "Savior" it is possible, depending on the mood i'm in, that i'm going to irritatedly *receive* that as being both *rude* and insulting! That person does not *know* where i'm *at* -- & they're assuming i'm where i'm *not*. One *can* be tolerant of such well-meaning indoctrinated ignorance (and sometimes, arrogance?) -- *and* overlook it -- but i verily believe that that sort -- if they met "Jesus Christ", he/rself, on the street, would *fail* to recognize he/r & would try to save *he/r* soul from "damnation"!
So the *last* thing (if i'm in my right mind) that i'm going to tell you is what you *should* have faith in! <hearty laughter> You might well be one of the awakened Living Christs -- testing the Olde Hermit, here, with a *twinkle* in your aye!
But *thank you* for being on-goingly curious & thus giving me the opportunity to discover something, for myself -- that i had not defined (or at least fully defined) before -- in considering (as deeply as i can) your Question.
Of course when i was initially thinking about your Question (for 2 days back in November, & jotting down notes towards some sort of reply) my first thought *was* -- what are the most prevalent things other people say we should have faith in? And you've presented the general cliches of the latter 2nd Millenium in just those four words.
But i would hope we can go at least a *little* deeper than that -- as we enter the Third Millenium...
The first problem with what people say we "should" have faith in -- is that *shoulds* just don't *work*. This one prefers to give you no *should's* (tho all those indoctrinated tapes *are* in this head & he may slip-up occasionally).
Faith is something ya either got or ya don't.
There's a quality of mystery in why some have faith & others don't. Authentic faith is hardly a matter of conscious choice, or an act of will. Belief has nothing to do with it. We can call it a gift of the Divine, we can say it comes of grace -- but is that anything more than just another layer of words & religious theological-lingo abstractions?
Some people live thru tremendously horrendous experiences & they come out with a deep & abiding faith; others go thru similar experiences & utterly *lose* faith. Some lose faith over what seems to be very *small* matters. Children appear to intrinsically *have* faith -- from the beginning -- but it soon gets supplanted with religious & culturally indoctrinated *beliefs*. Some people have very (to me) *false* religious beliefs -- but *still* have faith, too. Others *believe* as if their life depends on it -- but appear to have no faith whatsoever. Intensely as they *desperately* believe -- faith is *not* in their eyes, in their vibe...
Tell these lattermost people they "should have faith" -- & you're *wounding* them. They may even *claim* to have it; they may fully *believe* that their beliefs *are* faith. They desperately *need* it -- but it's not there -- & how are they to *get* it? i have no answers for this.
This i have faith in: each of us was *born* with faith -- & as much as that faith was betrayed & destroyed by the actions of others (& ourselves) in the course of the years of our living -- *seeds* of faith are still within each of us -- & we need only probe deeply & *discover* where our own faith truly *is*.
The second problem with having faith in "God, humanity, truth, myself" is: what do those words *mean*?! Do *i* have faith in those things? Well... a *very* qualified "yes... sorta..." but mostly: NO!
How can any serious student of history possibly have much (if any at all) faith in "humanity"? So often it is INhumanity, e. e. cummings's "man(un)kind"...
How can any relatively *objective* student of religious history have faith in religions' "God"/gods? If the atrocities of religious history are indicative of the "God" the religious serve, having faith in *that* is as foolish as placing one's faith in the worst of "demons" or someone like Adolph Hitler.
Different people mean something different with the word "God". What one person means by "God" -- i might have faith in that. What others mean by it i have no faith in whatsoever -- for their "God" (to me) is a delusion, an egoic projection, an abstract idol -- & *not* the Divine Reality.
What i perceive most people as meaning by "having faith in God" (or "Jesus Christ") amounts to the next step in the maturation process after believing in Santa Claus & the Easter Bunny. Still a *childish* belief -- for immature levels of growth, spiritually speaking. An *essential* step -- for there are periods in life where that assurance is Of Value, &, indeed, *needed*... but it's a kind of "Eden" that experience has booted many of us *out* of! And there is no returning to it -- at least this life-around... We have to progress towards the next step of discovery -- seeking whatever ultimate "truth" exists -- beyond literally believing the mythological archetypes.
We should have faith it truth? But what is "truth"? (as Pilate asked Jesus -- but Jesus never answered). "I am the Way, the Truth & the Life"? as it is said that Jesus claimed? But Jesus himself said that anything he said on his own authority IS NOT TRUE -- so if Jesus made that claim about himself, by his own testimony, it IS NOT TRUE. If God spoke those words *thru* Jesus -- He would've said "no one comes to ME except thru My Son". Thus (to this one's perception) the "I" that spoke those words thru Jesus, is, of necessity, that of the Holy Spirit, Mother Sophia. And eternal life & "salvation" come thru Sophia, the Holy Spirit (as Jesus doubtlessly learned from The Wisdom of Solomon) & *not* thru Jesus, at all!
Our "truths" are *different*. They speak thru different metaphors, different mythologies, different paradigms. Beneath those differences in terminology *is* it the same basic Truth?
"Truth" is always *filtered* thru our individualistic mind grids, falsified & distorted by our belief matrixes -- & *none* of us are totally *free* of *all* beliefs & distortions of "truth" there-thru...
So faith in *whose* "truth," *what* truth?
Faith that there *is* truth?
Other people speak their "truth" & tho i can see that they sincerely *believe* it -- what they believe is not truth to *me*. And by extension i can fully see that what is "truth" to *me* is not truth to them.
& claiming it's "God's Truth" & "The Word of God" is just a device for giving pseudo-Authority to ancient temporal human's mind-grid distortions of "truth".
People *want* the truth. People *fear* the truth. People want fondest illusions they can fully *believe* to *be* the Truth!
And what of having faith in oneself? Whatever "shoulds" others may lay on us -- one either *has* it or one doesn't. i suppose that if i had faith in myself it would be a blessing; fortunately or unfortunately i am not so-blessed. Telling me i "should" have it doesn't beget it; "should's" unfulfilled only send it plummetting *lower*.
"Shoulds" don't solve the problem (if lack of faith *is* a problem).
Nonetheless -- the way to eliminate *fear* in one's life *is* thru faith!
But authentic faith does not come thru believing what religions teach us to believe. Faith is something *else* than that -- for the newborne child (who *has* faith) believes *none* of those beliefs. Or, as Jesus said, "The man old in days will not hesitate to ask a small child seven days old about the place of life, and he will live." (Thomas, Logia 4)
So i cannot tell you what you "should" have faith in.
What i *can* tell you is what *i* have faith in (what little faith i have -- or what little faith has *me*!).
"God, humanity, truth, myself" are nouns (& one -- perhaps -- ever-changing pronoun). i don't have faith in *things,* in nouns; my faith is in intrinsic *processes*.
In your entire statement, above, my owne greatest faith is in your *curiosity*. Linguistically, in that context, it's still a noun -- but the *reality* there is a verb, a process. Your *curiosity* will lead you to the "truth" -- however you define & recognize it. Your curiosity will discover the Divine Essence for you -- *when* it happens... & your ultimate Self & why humanity? & where is humanity heading?
i have faith that what we most deeply seek we *will* find; but we have to *recognize* it; for generally it doesn't reveal itself within the paradigms of our *expectations*!
My faith is in the dynamic forces *in* the wo/man matrix that catalyze the *changes* towards an evolution of spiritual consciousness.
i have no faith in -isms. Humanism, communism, patriotism, feminism, Christianism/Christianity, Islamism; as soon as they become politicized -- group-ego enters in... divisiveness, intolerance, "Us and Them" -- & the warfare just continues. Feminism is an *essential* movement, historically (& could be viewed as the historically-prophecized fulfillment of Logia 114 in The Gospel According To Thomas) -- but it won't "save" humanity any more than any previous -ism has.
But i have faith in the *feminine*!
What *was* this "Jesus Christ," afterall but the feminine-man? Most of everything we *love* about "Jesus" came of his *feminine* side. He was *not* a "feminist" -- but he *was* a manifestation of the Feminine Divine -- the Essence of Mother Sophia into human flesh.
i have faith in the Divine as the *inner* (in *every* individualized sense of inner-ness that exists) Source*Force of creativity, generativity, love, peace, imagination, freedom, wonder.
i have *faith* in creativity, in imagination -- for where i see *those* i *see* the Divine Essence at play... the Divine *lila*...
i have faith in the energy of synergy.
i have faith in the fact that people *want* to be friendly, real, loving, kind, trusting, truthful. They're *afraid* -- due to bad experiences. & that fear is not without reason.
But look at the Net! So many people *wanting* to give away what they *love* the most -- in their creative joys, in their thinking, of their essential *selves* -- inasfar as such have been discovered. A global potlatch! *Wanting* to communicate meaningfully & *honestly* with each other!
i have faith in the desire to *know* -- in the yearning to *learn*.
i have faith in compassion & sensitivity...
i have faith in the full-blossoming of the feminine -- & in a feminine/masculine *balance*.
i realize that the slow-growing Seeds of this kind of Faith may well take *centuries* to ripen.
i have faith in reaping what you sow -- in "what goes round comes round" -- that what you put-out is what you receive -- in mutative fashion. The loving are loved. Kindness begets more kindness. Those who cause others to fear them reap ongoing deep inner fears, themselves. Those who set out to be intimidating are themselves intimidated...
i have faith in people thinking *independently,* in the ongoing force of the *refusal* to conform, in the *diversity* of consciousness & the fertile cross-pollination of insights, ideas, experiences, memes...
i place *no* faith in anyone's *ambition* -- but a lot of faith in deep spiritual *aspiration*.
i have faith in the *need* for meaningful love relationships -- that much good *comes* of this. i have faith in the ongoing *value* of friendship.
This is a faith in *processes* that are *intrinsic* in the wo/man life-matrix -- in the process of maturation. It is a faith in active *verbs* rather than nouns -- even tho, grammatically, most of these processes are being expressed as nouns.
i have faith in the change that continues coming thru the idealism of youth... & in the fact that we *must* die that our consciousnesses become flexibly *young* again...
i have faith in the growth process, itself -- faith in the changes which *do* come thru Significant Learning, faith in the potential of information flow & exchange on the Net..
i have faith in the effect of numinous experiences (such as Cosmic Consciousness, illumination, enlightenment) which utterly *transform* people's lives & value priorities...
i have faith in the evolving *reality* of the Divine Spirit -- in a consciousness coming-forth that is *beyond* the mental -- in what Aurobindo calls the supramental.
i have *no* faith in institutions, politics, nations, religions, leaders.
i have faith in the Deep Questioning process... faith in scepticism to remove the blinders of indoctrinated illusions. (But scepticism can become, itself, another blinder...)
i have faith in positive outcomes coming from the *contrariness* of individuality! -- which tilts at all dogmatisms.
i have faith in the fact that most people *want* to be good, want to be truthful, want to *not* be deceived.
i have faith in human self-interest -- which is *finally* BEST-served when *none* are deprived.
i have faith in the deep *need* for love, for inner peace, for a mature Wisdom.
i have no faith in rigid beliefs -- but i have faith in the natural process of *death* helping that particular problem! <grin>
i have *deep* faith in the Wisdom of "death", itself -- for there is a significant transformational *power* inherent in dying -- both for the person dying & for those who love that person the most -- as fully as in loving! Death precipitates an intensely motivated *deep*ening in awareness.
Certainly all these life-processes i have most faith in *can* go awry -- & some people learn from them what i would consider to be the *worst* lessons; but i believe that in largest part something more on the positive side comes out of each of these processes.
& you can decide for yourself whether *you* can put any realistic faith in any of these processes or not! ;)
And if these processes are wo/manifesting thru *you* -- then *that* only serves to *reinforce* the faith that has *me*.
~~ wynn manners