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DBarton: Faith and Belief

To: alt.consciousness.mysticism,talk.religion.misc,talk.religion.newage,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.skeptic,alt.atheism
From: (tyaginator)
Subject: DBarton: Faith and Belief
Date: 27 Mar 1999 02:22:14 -0800

[from David Barton ]

I've been staying out of this one; I know, darn well, that it hooks
the old ego / commanding self.  I've stopped myself physically from
posting once or twice.  But I just lost the battle.  Sigh.

Michael Graffam writes:

   You are talking faith. Believing something to be true even when you
   have no verifiable reasoning for it..  and as long as we are
   quoting the wisdom of children:

   "Faith is believing what you know ain't true" - anonymous schoolboy

No, darn it!  No, NO, NO!!!

Faith is *not* believing something when you have on reason or
experience.  Faith is believing something that you know to be true, on
the basis of reason or experience, when a momentary blow or situation
threatens to upset that reasoned belief.

Faith is my wife allowing me to drive across the Delaware Memorial
Bridge in spite of her fright.  She knows, by reason and experience,
that we will arrive safely.  This doesn't stop the fear, and without
faith she would refuse because of that fear.  She has faith in me, and
in my driving, and thus sits there.  I have fingernail marks in my
arm, but she sits there.

Faith is believing in the love of God when you have lost a loved one.
Experience and reason have not changed; everything that led you to
believe in God before the unexpected death is still there.  But grief
can overwhelm everything, and without faith supporting reason and
experience that belief can disappear regardless of how well grounded
it is.

Faith is maintaining my belief in God in the face of a single logical
argument that you can't find the answer to right that second.  It
means I know that wise, logical people that I respect and love have,
down through the ages, believed in God, and that I know their
abilities in reason are superior to mine.  *IF*, after careful review
and consulting other people, I find that the argument is unassailable
I may stop believing in God (and at that point faith will have nothing
to do with it).

Faith supports reason and experience, it does not oppose it.  If I
find my faith opposing my reason and / or my experience, then I have
some work to do.  Putting off that work because I have "faith" is not
meritorious, it is lazy.

Faith in a teacher must indeed be complete; however, it must be based
on reason and experience.  If reason and experience is not present,
then it is a virtual certainty that you will be misled.  The
experience is the "call of the heart", and the reason is the
examination of the teacher's beliefs and writings (if they exist).
People seem to think this is somehow different from the rest of our
lives, but it is not.  My wife's faith in her skating coach is
absolute; when he asks her to do something that she doesn't understand
and he just says do it and you'll see, she does it.  This is because
he has been where she wants to go, just as a Sufi teacher has been
where I want so much to go.

So saying that faith and reason are opposed, or that they operate in
different areas, is always one of my buttons.  Faith supports reason
and experience.  Faith in the absence of reason and experience is
credulity and laziness, and is probably born of one of the many
conditioning techniques at which our society excells.  Mind you, all
of us have this kind of credulity in one thing or another; we are all
victims of that conditioning.  But calling it faith (by my definition,
at least) does not make it so, any more than calling a tail a leg
makes it a leg.

					Dave Barton <*> )0(


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