Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Faith P.III: Residency

Seeking faith is a dangerous pursuit. How much easier it is to wile away the hours in fashionable cynicism for example; all one needs to do is swirl a wine glass correctly, poise their nose in professional whiffing, and adroitly toss about aromatic taxonomy: alcohol is only but one ingredient in the making of our daily need for stupor.

You may be detecting a note of sarcasm here; hmm... so do I! It may surprise you though, when you hear me defend our need for "stupor." Indeed the tight rope on which we're asked to walk (just by fact of being human) stretches across an infinite cosmos- not just Niagara Falls-which in comparison, is hardly even a bathtub. No- my blade of sarcasm is wielded to those who would sell faith like a used car, or a magic tonic; equally so against those, who from fashioned luxury boxes, make sport of people in the arena trying to make the wine. In either case, what they share in common, is that they lead you to believe that they themselves are on the wire, when in reality, they are every bit at cliff side, as any other Niagara Falls tourist.

Understanding the true nature of faith is important- why? Because life on the wire is very different than life lived cliff side due to some lack of trust- a deep abiding trust in this something you can't see, yet you embody. Without this thing that I'm referring to as faith, your experience of life in the Cosmos will only be a partial one; perhaps like a marriage of convenience where a couple live satisfactorily as roommates while forgoing the pleasure of living as lovers.

Faith is complex: as is Human Being. I realize that by furthering our trapezing into a field of metaphors, I may be adding to the confusion, and this may be necessary to get to our clearing. For now, I hope you can see that the concept of faith involves something more than logic or epistemology or even religion. It has to do with the character of residence one experiences as they live, not only as an animal which is only asked to live in its environment, but as Human Being- who is asked to live in the Cosmos by this innate but strange ability to relate intimately with its vastness.


  1. While I agree that faith selling, snake oil salesmen abound and that they should be regarded as 'false prophets', I don't have any practical uses for 'faith'-least not how it is currently defined.
    I would like to have global reciprocal altruism as the tie that binds us all. I would like everyone to live by the same compassionate skepticism and awe that I do when I try to grasp the ungraspable nature of the Cosmos. I even feel or believe that at certain time we desperately need constructive cynism as too many people are afraid to speak the truth if they think it may be damaging.
    If those principles I try to live by fall under anyones definition of 'faith' then so be it, so long as they aren't hurting anyone they can define me or anyone else by whatever they think fits.

    "I respect you too much as a person to respect your ideas." Mark Twain

  2. Matt says: "I would like everyone to live by the same compassionate skepticism and awe that I do when I try to grasp the ungraspable nature of the Cosmos".

    I like this idea Matt. And while I pointed to the cynic above, I hope you recognized that I distinguished between one who was self content in the bleachers, and one that was in the "arena" making things "right". I definitely considered you to be in the arena; (this metaphor comes T. Roosevelt).

    The experience I'm trying to give some grasp-ability to, is a complex whole of which your ideas here are part of. Ultimately this whole might be characterized by a "giving towards" as opposed to a "taking from".

    I think the concept of faith has been typically mis-understood by Christians, in ways to a fault, but in others, not.

    What I recognized through your "cynicism" over at 13.7 was this "giving towards" as you set your list toward living.

  3. In this moment, I would define faith as a positive, wordless, belief capable of instilling an element of hope in either the individual or the individual's perception of the world.

    However, it is a word that belongs alongside words such as beauty, that avoid precise definition, but tend to generally enhance experience.

    I admit this is my subjective interpretation. In improper contexts, faith can be very destructive. For instance, religious extremists who have faith in being rewarding for suicidal acts of violence. Although I do not think the word or the concept of faith itself can be blamed for such heinous acts.

  4. Well put Stephen. I especially like your "definition". I would rather replace your word define with a word not so definitive is all :)

    What's important though, is that you're getting at the experience that the concept of faith is meant to point toward.

  5. Haha, you're right. "Interpret" maybe.