An article by Sha'Tara, local writer and friend.
Another look at Faith
[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]
Every once in a while I find I have to redirect my thoughts towards the concept of faith. Begin with the question: what is faith?
Considering the billions who claim to have some kind of faith, it seems worthy of being taken seriously. First, how did it come about? If you’re biblically challenged, you probably won’t know that according to that eminent collection of interesting anecdotes and one-sided historical tidbits, it originated with Adam and Eve being kicked out of Eden with a promise of a redeemer – at some later date. Note that that was probably the first political promise ever recorded. But never mind, with the same mindless drive that causes people to vote, many keep on hoping for that redeemer. Some even believe that this “redeemer” already came and he was Jesus of Nazareth about whom so much has been said and so little has been meaningfully done. One of the things remaining undone is the Second Coming, which according to Jesus would be imminent, i.e., in the life of those who were with him. That’s 2000 years ago (give or take) and I personally don’t think any of those people are alive today although it’s possible they were taken to some other world where they remain in some holding pattern and living by faith. One must remain cautious here. Only one Second Coming was offered or promised, and if Jesus is the Son of God and God is the One and Only Universal God we can’t be making them look like liars. Since the Second Coming was to usher in the end of the world and the world is not yet ended (we’re doing our best to help God here but that’s not the point) we must conclude the Second Coming is still to come, and we must also conclude that somewhere in the great all that is God has kept those disciples of Jesus alive and well, or at least alive and waiting, until the whole thing is done. Don’t ask me what the holdup is, I can’t see where the accident is either, so we’ll just have to wait here until they clear up the road ahead and the lineup starts moving.
What do you mean, “This is about faith, right?” Don’t rush me, I’m getting into the flow here, finding my moment.
Is faith only a religious concept? Hardly. There is more faith expressed in the weatherman, satellites, computer technology and psychics combined than in God today. God is still there, of course, but he’s like the old godfather, sitting back reminiscing about the good old days of fits of cursing rage in Eden, the genocidal decimations caused by the great Flood and sending the Israelites into the Promised Land to massacre the inhabitants – the latter being such a wonderful sport they’re still going at it today though no longer walking around cities and blowing trumpets. It was fun, though, wasn’t it? But now it’s time to sit back and enjoy retirement.
But faith, like some contagious disease continues to spread over the planet, infecting believers and believers alike. OK, some will argue that unless it’s about God, it’s not faith. I disagree but I don’t think the difference is enough we need to challenge each other to a duel over it.
Profane or “impious” faith is rampant, obviously so. People live their lives believing that the system they live under is going to continue bringing them the good life, or at least some semblance of such life. Technology will continue to spread and spew out more toys for the rich and credited, and more weapons of mass destruction for those who are charged with securing that good life at the expense of the majority of the world’s population. Perhaps it will, but logic and common sense says no. And when logic and common sense say “no” and you still believe it is so, that, my friend, is faith.
So, what about religious faith, or faith in God? What is that, when modern exegesis will tell you that it really doesn’t matter anymore? That the old godfather has become soft and doesn’t really want to make more enemies? He’s ready to deal with the Columbian Cartels and Asian gangs. We can all profit together, can’t we? At least that seems to be what Christian ecumenism is all about.
But what if it does matter? What if God is still the same as he always was, and the majority of this world’s population has gone and continues to go, straight to hell, simply because it remains faithless, i.e., it refuses to believe in God as the supreme ruler of the Universe? The Bible claims that “to God a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day.” If we take that literally (why not? It’s fun to do that!) how long was it since God kicked Adam and Eve out of Eden for their disobedience? Four, maybe five days? So there you have it, God hasn’t had time to cool down and is still pissed at all of us for what our parents did less than a week ago.
Ok, let’s say it matters. Let’s say that faith is what separates the sheep from the goats. Back to the question: what is faith? Is it that mind trick allowing a person with the right words to be sure of things that carry no empirical evidence of their reality? As the Bible says, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews, Chap. 11, the New Testament) And basically for most people of Christian persuasion I know today, that’s it. I believe, therefore I’m saved. That is not what is meant by faith.
According to history, what I have read and what I have conjectured, faith came about during times of great uncertainty and tribulations. People realized how tenuous their lives were in the midst of cataclysms, wars, enslavement, basically over their complete loss and lack of control over their lives. Faith rose among victims of inimical forces who could not change their physical and material situation but chose not to remain just mindless victims of fate. They wanted something more “real” than their lot in life was ever likely to give them; they wanted some way to determine for themselves what would happen to them, not only when they were slaughtered in wars and genocides, enslaved, or became victims of plagues or scarcity and famine, but even after they died. They searched their minds and found the living Spirit that accompanies life. And predictably some of them called that God. These individuals then offered their findings to their peers. Thus faith grew to become the underpinning of the oppressed, their ONLY security and certainty. Those who already have these things guaranteed by the System or the Matrix; who have basically everything, can never know faith, however much they claim to possess such a thing. Whatever they have, as long as it’s easy, costs little more than a trip to church once a week to engage in the performance or enduring of some collective rituals, that isn’t faith. Let’s remember that: faith was, and remains, the underpinning of the oppressed.
I used to wonder why “faith” never grabbed me when I did my religion(s) and why the faith of fellow-religionists never impressed me. To the contrary, I usually despised it as artificial, tasteless and ultimately pointless. It was always an appendage of the Powers; of the Matrix. To have faith meant worldly success, usually as members of an oppressive minority as demonstrated by European and North American Christianity. It was a joke to me until I learned in my later years that it was not a joke at all, it was very much a part of the ruling political process of the nations and empires it thrived under; for example, the born again fundamentalist Christianity of the New Republicans. (If unsure about the term New Republicans, watch the documentary “Casino Jack” detailing the rise to power of Washington’s once number one lobbyist, Jack Abramoff.)
Why does Islam continue to grow and attract so many when everything we’re told about it points to it as some terrible and violent religion of hate and vengeance? Because Islam remains primarily the religion of the poor and oppressed of the planet. Although it has undeniably been hijacked by elites in many countries for purely political, sometimes sadistic and misogynistic purposes, the people of Islam are not confused as to who is God or Allah in their prayers and rituals. When they bow to pray, they pray to God directly, not to men. Earth, with its trials, tribulations and horrors, is not their idea of heaven. They are the ones who for obvious reasons still “long for a better country” than the one most of them try to survive in. They still know the way because their faith remains real to them.
A question you may be tempted to ask, “What about you? Do you have faith?” That is an easy one. I live in a country where I have everything I need or want. I am neither oppressed nor starving. I control those aspects of my own life that matter to me and further to that, I am of those who understand continuity in infinity. Therefore to cling to faith would be superfluous and a denial of what I have become. “Believe all things, believe in nothing” is my guiding motto. I don’t need faith regarding God: I already know beyond doubt that God exists, so no problem on that score. Will God be my judge? No, he has no such rights upon me and neither does his presumed arch enemy. I judge myself daily and God could not do a better job unless he was corrupt of heart and mind. I don’t need a divinity or divine representative to tell me when I’m doing wrong or to absolve me, and that may be what separates me from rank and file (religious or profane) believers. I’m not here to atone for past misdeeds, nor am I here to worship some God to get the golden handshake that lets me into his heaven or his harem. I’m here for one thing only: to teach myself how to best serve others. I am self-empowered as regards all divine forces, good and evil alike. I am not better or worse than any of them – there is no way to compare our paths because we possess different natures and completely different purposes.