Faith… How wonderful it is! On the wings of faith we can soar to whatever heights we want – regardless of whether or not those heights exist anywhere other than in our own minds. From the Holy Trinity of Christianity, to the lokas (worlds) of Buddhism, or the atman (soul) of Hinduism: we can think, feel and act as if they are REAL, simply because we believe them to be… or want them to be… or NEED them to be.
What we often fail to understand – or accept – is that by its very definition there can be no real proof of what we can only take on faith: if there were, it would be a fact, not faith. As soon as we say “I BELIEVE that _____ (fill in the blanks) is true” we are also saying it may NOT be, otherwise we would be able to say “I KNOW that ______ (fill in the blanks) is true”. Belief and knowledge are not the same, and when we treat them as they are, we tread dangerously close to the land of delusion, defined as: “A false belief based on incorrect interpretation of external realities that is firmly sustained despite strong contradictory evidences”.
The problem is compounded by the fact that some of the things we have faith in (like our religious convictions) may demand that our faith be unrelenting, unwavering and unconditional. When it comes to religion, FAITH = REALITY.
The “Lord’s Prayer” starts “Our Father who exists in Heaven”. It does not start “our Father who may – or may not – exist, in a Heaven that MIGHT – or might not – exist”. One of the reasons we are given for why we should love Jesus Christ (in addition to all the benefits such “love” will confer, from now until eternity), is because he is the Son of God who died for our sins”. We are NOT told that we should love Jesus because MAYBE he died for our sins, MAYBE he’s the Son of God, and MAYBE he even exists – or doesn’t exist at all.
We are told that the Bible contains verbatim conversations between the God and humans, and depictions of events that happened. We are not told that maybe the Bible contains “God’s Word”, and then again maybe it doesn’t, and maybe some of the events depicted are completely or partially fictionalized.
When it comes to religion, the need for total faith is understandable. If God doesn’t exist – along with his “son”, why would anyone even go to church? If the Bible is not the Word of God, and is more fictional than factual, why read it? If Jesus isn’t the Divine son of God, how could his death possibly have bring us Salvation: and would all the prayers that are offered “in Jesus name” have any efficacy whatsoever? If tithes and offerings aren’t really required by God, and don’t reap rewards for those who give them, why would anybody give any? If there is no Heaven and no Hell (and therefore no code of conduct that will result in us going to either of those places, after we die) why should we not live our lives in whatever manner we desire-and can get away with?
A question we may ask ourselves, is whether there is any difference between religious faith and blind faith, which may be defined as “belief without true understanding, perception, or discrimination.” If we agree that religious faith and blind faith are one and the same, another question we may ask ourselves, is what would happen if the eyes of blind faith were opened by logic and reasoning.
Would we then see that -like the emperor in the fairy tale “The Emperors’s new clothes”-, religion is devoid (naked) of raiments of truth? Even if that is the case, might we also see a direction to point religion in, where it may find such raiments? Is it possible that religion – like other institutions – may evolve with the passage of time, and that the nature of this evolution will be an immaculate child born of the union of religious faith and logical/scientific reasoning?
What would be the nature of such a union? How would it affect the spiritual evolution of humanity (if one even believes that humanity has a spiritual side in the first place)?