Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Importance of Faith

Religion supplies those lacking in their own sense of faith in the good in the world with a reason, a structure, to believe. It is a discipline, a way, to believe that there is a reason, a path, meaning, truth in the chaos and Hell that our life can seem to be.

Because loving is hard. It's easy to say we should feed the homeless. It's hard to turn to your best friend who betrayed you and say, "It's okay. I understand why you did it. You are a good person. I love you." It's hard to let go of our own idea of right and wrong and say that love is the most important idea.

But it's easier if we have faith. I do not believe it matters exactly what faith - but faith that the world makes sense. If we believe we will be loved, recognized, seen, validated, and understood by someone, somewhere, it's much easier to allow the person in front of us to feel their disapproval or anger of us, and accept it and them.

I believe faith is the only thing that subdues fear. I believe fear is what leads us to unloving acts. Perhaps fear, as the precursor to hate, is truly just the opposite of faith, the precursor to love.

But I don't think we need to have faith in any one set of beliefs: maybe just faith in love; faith in God (or something that controls the universe) that He is good, that He loves us, that He would not allow harm to come to us without reason; maybe just faith that our lives have meaning.

I've seen so many miraculous acts of love, it makes me believe. It makes me believe there's a reason why we suffer, why some suffer more than I can possibly imagine, why we fail, why we are left alone. Somehow, we must learn to love despite all that - and I think it's through faith in love, the world, truth, goodness, me, and you. I think it's through an understanding that this world, and our time on this earth, is a trasitionary part of our souls' wandering. I believe there is more. And again that faith allows me to say to the person who feels the need to be on the top of the ladder, "go ahead, you do deserve the top rung," and put myself aside.

It's taken me years to get here, but I finally see why it's important to take leaps of faith, and jump into trust even blind into seeming darkness - because if we jump out of love and out of faith, we are adding to the good in this world - and a little more love, a little more faith, is the most important thing we can bring to our universe.


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