I sometimes envy those who practice faith. I say practice because having faith in something doesn’t happen overnight. It takes dedication and a willingness to set one’s beliefs or ideals apart from the rest of the world’s. Yes, religious groups do create their own communities, but it is ultimately the individual’s responsibility to interpret, develop, define, maintain, and practice their convictions.
Indoctrination is a player in faith development, but some of us break through the binds of social conditioning. In some ways I consider myself to be one of those people. However, losing faith is more than losing a religion or a set of beliefs—you lose a bit of yourself.
Faith is Challenging
Challenging probably isn’t strong enough a word. To me, keeping faith in anything seems nearly impossible. How can one hold onto it in today’s world?
According to all those murder-mystery documentaries, we can’t really trust anyone, so faith in our friends and family is out. The media, like our politicians, mislead us and most religions leave me asking unanswerable questions, highlighting numerous contradictions, and drowning in a sea of ambiguity.
How about faith in the self? Can you trust you?
Willful ignorance—whether it be accepting a certain level of understanding, contentedness with what is “known,” or stubbornness—seems to be the only way.
I grew up with a fair amount of indoctrination but I couldn’t shake the doubt. I couldn’t deny the questions. Objectivity doesn’t leave a lot of room for faith. So I have doubt in everything and I can’t trust what I think I know to be true.
Is there a way to know? Who knows, haha?!
But I’m envious of those who rise to the challenge of practicing faith. It’s their ability to hold on to their convictions in spite of anything. I sometimes wish I believed in something that much. It would at least silence some of the questions.
Faith Provides Comfort
We find faith in the answers when there aren’t really answers. Sometimes, they’re just what we want to hear and we work toward affirming them. We practice accepting them.
It’s what I miss most about Christianity.
There was the fantasy of heaven, of being reunited with lost loved ones which shed most fears of death. It was the convenience of not having to forgive myself for my mistakes and that god would do it for me. It provided a sense of justice in eternal damnation for all those who do wrong, and the certainty of what’s to come. I didn’t have to ask any questions, they were already defined and if they weren’t clear, I didn’t have to worry about it; god was there to take care of it.
There’s comfort to be found in my newly adapted ideology but it’s been difficult to embrace. Nothing’s as comfortable as the answers found in organized religion and for that, I’m envious.
Faith Defines You
Purpose, existential purpose. I miss that too.
The feeling that I belonged to something more than this rock floating through space. That my life was meant for amazing things at a spiritual level because god made me that way. Tomorrow was not a worry because it was in god’s hands. Living life to the fullest? Nah! Who needs to when eternal life is waiting for you.
Without Christianity, I’ve had to re-define what it is to be me. My morality changed (for the better, I think), my opinion of life and death were drastically altered, but my purpose still needs definition.
Life became finite. Temporary. But I now have an urgency to live my life to the best of my ability. I need to find the answers or accept that there are none before it’s too late. I must figure out my purpose before these lights go out because in my faith, this is all I’ve got. This life is all the time we have.
That is why I’m envious…there’s a backup plan.
All forms of belief require faith because, not all answers can be defined. I do have faith in many things. Life forces us to. Without it, we may not make it through our existence sanely.
I have faith that when we die, all that happens is decay. Actually, I hope that’s the truth. My indoctrination left me with a heavy, irrational fear of the suffering waiting for us non-believers in the afterlife. God probably isn’t there, but it’s hard to have faith when something can’t be proven one way or the other.
Regardless, I believe my purpose is to find my purpose before my life ends.
I also have faith in people and am slowly establishing faith in myself. I think that, in spite of all the evils we humans are capable of, this world can become what it needs to be. In myself, I continue to work on what I believe needs adjusting.
And though I make mistakes almost daily, I am improving myself. I’m putting my faith in myself to continue becoming the man I know I can be. The problem is that all those other items are a work in progress. Therefore, I’m envious of those who maintain their convictions.
Before you go!
Is it hard for you to keep faith in something? Why? Please be sure to voice your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section!