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The Essence of Faith - The Preceptory of the Knights of Magdalen

About The Essence of Faith

Previous Entry The Essence of Faith Jan. 19th, 2005 @ 04:53 pm Next Entry

People do a lot of arguing about what they believe and why. But I wonder how many people REALLY think about what they believe, and why.

To me, this is the most important question, when it comes to religion. What is the essence of your faith, and why do you believe it?

I'd like each person here who cares to answer, to do so- and answer in this manner:

1. What is the Essence of your Faith? By "Essence", I mean, What is the central point, the central theme of your faith? What does "faith" mean, and what do you have faith in? What is the basic point or teaching that your faith or religion makes to the world, about the world?

2. Why do you believe what you do?

Let me start by answering these questions for myself, then we can go from here:

The Essence of my Faith is that the world is a holy, mysterious place, sprung from a holy root, a holy source. This source is beyond our rational understanding. It is limitless and definitionless; It does not conform to observed laws of space or physics; it is a Mystery, and yet, it is not "supernatural". It is simply the highest reality, the source of all, a sort of "meta-law" which is an unseen and eternal part of observed Natural Laws; and it is intimately involved in what we call "this" reality. It's mysterious character makes it seem quite uncanny to us, when we have limited flashes of experiences or insight into it.

Certain beings in the world that we experience- humans- have the capacity to be freely aware of the holiness all around them, and in all things, including each other.

They have the choice to freely offer their effort, strength, passions, and love to the higher causes of Holiness, of preservation and peace, instead of selfish causes, and by doing this, they serve each other, and the world in general. By doing this, they also serve the will of what some call "God"- because I believe that, on some higher level, it is the will of the Essential Divine that we honor all things by submitting selflessly to the holiness of all things, and preserving what is good in balance, harmony, and peace.

What is "bad" or "sinful" is nothing more than the actions that spring from self-centeredness and selfishness, and the actions that spring from the minds that think in terms of isolation and seperation- when all that we do, think, and say, impacts everything and everyone else.

Real Love (and the key to Wisdom) is to see the intimacy that we all share in creation. Real service is to respect that and bear it in mind, and to help end suffering, preserve life, and make peace, not for yourself, but for everything and everyone else- for it is in all that we see and experience that the Word of the Divine is manifest. War, Evil, Greed, Corruption, all these things spring from minds that are isolated in self-interest. That is the only place they come from. There is no innate flaw in mankind that makes these things inevitable; only an avoidable tendency towards selfishness that can be overcome if a person realizes their intimacy with all beings, and all things.

The Essential Divine, aside from being manifest before and within us, may also be, Ultimately, beyond all that we see and experience, but that means little to us here and now- we have to deal with what is before us, and HOW we deal with what is before us shows how well we Love and Serve what some have called "God"- not any philosophical ponderings about transcendent realities or beings. Philosophical pondering is fine, but we also have to live here and now, and the character of our lives describes and expresses better than any words how well we understand, on the deepest level, the Truth of Holiness.

This is the essence of my view. When a person allows Love to bring them beyond their "self", they attain real grace. When a person works to serve the causes of holiness, peace, and love, beyond the desires of the self, they attain a peace that is perfect in this life, and which continues after death.

I believe what I do because I have served and loved, and found that I was only perfectly happy when I thought more of others and the good of all, than myself. I felt grace, peace, or "divinity" in those times. I experienced "god" in this way- and I knew then, as I know now, and everyday, that God is truly here, around us in the details, and in the heart that loves and serves selflessly. There is nothing more that needs to be added to this. This path is a complete path of fulfillment, and a person who follows it perfectly is ultimately blameless before God or Man.

Spirit: thoughtful
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Date:January 20th, 2005 01:39 am (UTC)
1. What is the Essence of your Faith? By "Essence", I mean, What is the central point, the central theme of your faith? What does "faith" mean, and what do you have faith in? What is the basic point or teaching that your faith or religion makes to the world, about the world?

I'm not sure that I have 'faith' in the traditionaly accepted sense of the word. My 'faith' centers around a search for wisdom and enlightenment. As such I tend to take religious myth and tradition (including rituals and sacraments) symbolicly or allegoricly rather than in a literal sense.

2. Why do you believe what you do?

I find meaning and coherance this way not only in the religious views taught to me in my youth, but also amoungst other religions. I find most religions to parallel each other, and by finding a common denominator amoungst them, I believe we can all find enlightenment, and peace in a war torn world.

I do not believe in sin, as this is a part of the duality we experience within our bodies. We are spiritual beings trapped within illusion. Without these bodies, most of the so-called 'sins' lose any reference point, and I find myself less likely to either be tempted by them, or to feel either moraly bound by them, or sitting in moralistic judgement of my peers.
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Date:January 20th, 2005 02:55 am (UTC)
1. What is the Essence of your Faith? By "Essence", I mean, What is the central point, the central theme of your faith? What does "faith" mean, and what do you have faith in? What is the basic point or teaching that your faith or religion makes to the world, about the world?

The central theme of my faith is that we are all, in essence, one, that every one and every thing is connected in ways that we are able to observe and ways that are outside of our current dimensional reality.

"Faith" is quiet knowingness and appreciation of life's Mysteries; her sister is Grace. I have faith that no matter what dies, something always continues to be born.

The basic point is the sentence above, I guess.

2. Why do you believe what you do?

Because it's what I've discovered as I've travelled along life's path. It's an evolving belief structure, based on the wisdom and experience I've picked up along the way. And I'm sure it'll continue to evolve.
Date:February 8th, 2005 08:24 am (UTC)

The Essence of "Faith."

1.) Initially, I'd like to state that I'm a self-styled "secular humanist." Faith, one would think, would involve solely a religious standpoint, but a philosophical one is more along the lines that I perceive this.

God had once been a meaningful portion of my life. Having been raised Catholic, then, becoming dissatisfied, moving on to a variety of different standings and investigating others, including, but not limited to: non-denominational Christian, Mormonism (of which my second baptism took place,) Buddhism, et cetera.

Before I had completely lost all belief, I had moved into gnosticism, devising increasingly elaborate beliefs to try to justify the absurdity that I, personally, had seen in my previous beliefs. Going so far as to feel that the world around me and my body itself were simply illusionary, made so to create the experiences that might strengthen my soul; Or that the God I followed was a fractured God who chose to experience this world in a number of different "bodies." I put bodies in quotes, conceiving the notion that, perhaps, Humans and animals might not be the only mediums of experience.

A portion of my life was spent in a horrible state of something akin to existential angst.

Until I had come to realize that I needn't feel lost without the comfort of a higher power and an afterlife awaiting me. Existentialism is the groundwork from which many of my ideals were set. A strong sense of personal and social responsibility became necessity to make this distinct lack I had felt fade. I had decided that if everyone were to take responsibility for their own actions and consider the responsibility they held to society as a whole, the world might not be in the situation it is. The "Golden Rule" states it nicely, and if things were to function as such, then problems would, at the very least, be minimized.

The world to me seems very real now and the fact that I believe there to be no afterlife waiting for me, makes my actions very important. The happiness of all parties should be considered, but death makes standing up for what's just all the more important, because I can only do so much to make the world a better place and after the fact (i.e. dying) I can do nothing else.

My faith is a faith in the ability of humankind to embrace this responsibility, an optimism that, at times, I've lost sight of, but cling to the best that I can.

2.) Initially, I was led to this through a growing disdain with the hypocrisy I saw all around me. A flaunting of belief with no real understanding or will to follow the morals people had set for themselves. A horrible judgmental sentiment that leaked from the majority of the religions I attempted to embrace.

This had changed when I came to Mormonism and through that, Buddhism, but by that time, it was too late to recapture my childhood faith. I had broken from that cycle for a long enough period and my doubts led me to focus on what could be proven. A reliance on evidence became key more and more between every spiritual counsel I sought and inevitably I was led to philosophy, which began as a horrible nihilism that would lead into an almost existential peace with the way things are.

The randomness of my surroundings and sheer insignificance of life and all these meager interactions are not cause, for me, for discouragement, but now offer a comfort that I had never felt before. One day I'll die and I won't know the difference and until then I'll live knowing that I have lived and done the best I could with what I have.

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Date:March 6th, 2005 06:13 am (UTC)
1. What is the Essence of your Faith? By "Essence", I mean, What is the central point, the central theme of your faith? What does "faith" mean, and what do you have faith in? What is the basic point or teaching that your faith or religion makes to the world, about the world?

The Essence of my Faith is my sense of Justice. I have a strong sense of Divine Justice, and the fact that I can't ignore this while witnessing injustice regularly indicates faith.

2. Why do you believe what you do?

While my sense of ultimate Justice is a matter of faith and my inborn spiritual identity, the majority of my beliefs are based on personal experience and observation. My "cause" is fulfillment of the downtrodden, along with human entitlement and freedom.

Women and children are particularly oppressed, not in spite of the women's liberation movement, but more because of it. The idea I get from the movement is that women have no inherent worth, the traditional role is not valid and not a legitimate choice, and to gain worthiness a woman must compete with a man on every level and above all be a breadwinner - God forbid that a woman be treasured and taken care of by her male competitor. I suppose that I am probably not the only one who has seen a man open a door for a woman, only to receive the response that she can open the door for herself. A simple "thank you" would encourage such human kindness, and promote peace.

The oppression of children comes from a society that deems them unworthy of a parent devoting full-time care to them. Those to whom their care is consigned are paid very poorly.
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Date:June 10th, 2011 07:01 am (UTC)

1. What is the Essence of your Faith? By "Essence", I mean, What is the central point, the central theme of your faith? What does "faith" mean, and what do you have faith in? What is the basic point or teaching that your faith or religion makes to the world, about the world?

I beleive that the world is composed of opposites, and by reconciling the opposites, it becomes more whole and perfect as a result. I believe that our society is fractured - it exalts some qualities over others. Some put material wealth above all else, some put intellect above intuition, whereas others do the opposite things.

To be someone truly great, one must do honour to both sides of human nature- all sides in fact. And ' as above, so below' comes into this. The ancients spoke of the microsm and the macrocosm: today we may term it ' the inner and outer world'.

I believe that one is the reflection of the other, that the outer world that I inhabit is a reflection of my inner one.

Why do you believe what you do?

To some extent, I follow the leadings of physical science - that is to say, I accept the Theory of Evolution to be correct because there are many lines of physical evidence that support Charles Darwin's hypothesis.

However, there are things beyond the realms of science that science is unable to grasp - ethics, for instance. Is it right to give money to beggers on the street, or is it better to donate to a charitable organisation that will help the homeless? Science can only point me to statistics in an attempt to explain poverty and deprivation. One needs to listen to one's heart as well as ones head.

Of coursse, one may change one's mind as the result of new data, and experience a change of heart as well. That is growth.
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