Somebody today posed the following question to me today:
What do you believe is true even though you can't prove it?"
He went on to further expand on this question, to “what do you have faith in?”
I was trying to tear this apart. First of all...we use faith in so many odd ways.
I mean, it can be a religious construct, but also a term used to denote ideology where there is no factual basis or where there is simply a basis that is difficult to quantify. I have friends who believe in socialism even though they have never lived in a socialist system and can not prove it would work. Is this a belief, or something entirely different?
There are certainly things I choose to believe or believe in without the skill or intellect to fully understand them on a deep deep level. I believe in evolution. I believe the sun will come up tomorrow. I believe scientific notions I can not get my head around like gravity. I simply understand what I can and trust the experts for the rest.
Which brings me to another notion akin to faith: trust…and things like love, self-esteem. I believe in relationships of mine and friends of mine's ability to do...well, a variety of things. The ability to make intelligent and rational decisions, the ability to treat me with respect, and even more so, the intent to treat me and others, with kindness and respect, even when things go occasionally south. I trust my friends and I trust my friendship. I can’t prove my friends will be there for me, but the assumption is based on empirical experience, a continuum of interaction coupled with intuition. I guess these thoughts are more like presumptuous notions, even though they feel, smell and taste like faith.
Then there is this final level. Religion, happiness, spirituality and things like "true love". Notions that tend to lead credence to a grand order, a beauty of design, a point and a morality. I certainly have "beliefs" of this quality as well.
I mean, I believe in an order to the world and possibly a higher power that goes along with it. I believe certain things are “right” or “wrong” and further, I believe it is “wrong” to judge too many things with these brandings without taking into account the pragmatic results of beliefs and actions.
How’s that for irony?
I believe in true love, though I wouldn't say I've experienced it, and I certainly can’t PROVE it’s out there waiting for me or you.
And I have things that fall between the two: things like believing in humility and equity even though there is not a lot of proof that just being a selfish pompous bastard might make certain individuals happier.
So who knows.
So, I pose the question to you, dear reader:
What is faith to you? What is the difference between faith and evidence driven but un-provable thoughts and assumptions? And what do YOU have faith in?
What do you wish you could have faith in? What do you wish you didn’t?