Beyond faith, belief

One of the misconceptions of many has been that all you need is faith to get by in the world; faith in a god, churches, governments, institutions, etc. They will provide. But all faith is based on belief in a “truth” that can be understood.

Throughout human history there have been many beliefs and many truths in which people have put their faith. But all beliefs come into question over time, as new information and knowledge appear that diminish what was firmly ensconced in people’s minds.

We are now witnessing this phenomenon again as age old truths are being called into question by new awareness and understanding of how life, the world and the universe work. During other such periods of change in world history the splintering of old beliefs caused tensions to rise, and oftentimes, mayhem and devastation resulted.

It can be attributed to human awareness (or lack of it), but it is also the result of generational change as those who are younger have a different perspective on life. They also have had a new level of learning that didn’t exist for those much older, and as a result, have different beliefs.

Faith has always been anchored in the spiritual heart, while belief is a product of the mind. This can be demonstrated throughout human history as people shifted and changed beliefs; the result of natural and human turmoil, which swept over them.

Change in belief was necessary in order to renew faith in life, and most always, to promise an existence beyond death. There have always been spiritual truths created to explain the mysteries of life. While beliefs may change, faith is spiritually inherent, even for those who espouse no beliefs.

It is evident in the mass turmoil and migration we see in the world today. People take horrendous risks because they have faith in their ability to survive because of a belief. People who do survive the most horrific experiences, move on to productive lives.

During times of upheaval and uncertainty beliefs become focused positively or negatively often influenced by those who would control. Those seeking power realize the evident fragility of belief and faith, especially among those most negatively affected by their circumstances.

The choices appear stark. There are those who espouse the darkness of humanity filled with hate, fear and destruction, and others who promote an enlightened humanity filled with love, care and compassion. In history, we have witnessed periods when one or the other of such beliefs have had control over people.

At this stage of human development most know the results of both; darkness offers conflict, war and destruction while enlightenment aims for peace, harmony and inclusion.

The challenge historically of every generation has been to balance these in order for humanity to survive. No other generation has reached the precipice that exists today with the ability of those who gain the upper hand in the struggle to influence people’s beliefs to annihilate human existence.

This is the choice facing many people in the developed world, as the demons of hate push for control in order to destabilize those countries that have a degree of freedom and hope. There are many existing countries that have neither.

It is the responsibility of each and every individual to preserve the fragile basis of human civility that exists in the developed world. It would be tragic to turn this over to those who preach negativity, conflict and despair.

These people only have one belief, which is vested in themselves and their own maniacal need for power. We have witnessed before the ability of this ilk to influence others with a message of negativity and fear, especially those disconnected and vulnerable who are struggling to believe in anything.

How we address this overall situation is imperative. We can attack those without belief and try and influence them, which I believe history would show is a dead end. Or, we can address the issues of those that have been disenfranchised and alienated and build a bridge to hope that regenerates their beliefs and faith in human compassion.

Written by Bill Pardy,
August 5th, 2016

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