Faith

Faith

 

No. I’m not talking about religion, theology, faith in some divine being. I’m talking about beliefs in general, and particularly beliefs that have no justifications, no basis in demonstrable evidence.

“Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.”

~ Voltaire

Why write a post about faith? Because I see it everywhere, but little talked-about. Because I see the joys it brings to people – and the heartaches, too. Because I believe it’s an essential aspect of mindset. And because, ultimately, I think it matters.

My faith gives me both hope and courage. I hope your does, too.

Here’s some of the things I have faith in:

People

I have faith in people. More specifically. I have faith that people, together, can sort out almost anything. That groups, teams, companies, communities and societies can come together and make the things that are important to them, happen. Incidentally, as this faith grows, my faith in the divine right of kings, a.k.a. leadership and management, diminishes. Faith in individuals? Not so much.

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Justice

I have faith that we must call out injustice whenever and wherever we see it. Remaining silent in the face of injustice only makes us complicit.

Reason

I have faith in reason, in rational thought, in data and evidence. This has to be, ultimately, a matter of faith, does it not?

“A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.”

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Dialogue

I have faith in the power of dialogue – talking skilfully together. In mutual exploration of ideas, and in mutual learning. When we learn to talk with one another in ways that minimise judgmentalism, defensiveness and the associated unintended consequences, we can see each other better, and make life more wonderful together.

“It’s a good idea to seek valid knowledge, it’s a good idea to craft your conversations so you make explicit what you are thinking and trying to examine. You craft them in such a way that you can test, as clearly as you can, the validity of your claims. Truth is a good idea.”

~ Chris Argyris

The Universe

I have faith that things will turn out the way they are “meant” to.

“We must have faith that the Universe will unfold as it should.”

~ Mr. Spock

I do not see this as a license for fatalism nor for derogation of self-will.

“Look within. Be still.
Free from fear and attachment,
Know the sweet joy of living in the way.”

~ Buddha

Respect and Compassion

I have faith that unconditional respect, mutual respect, and compassion can bring enormous benefits to peoples’ lives (and incidentally, make for good and effective business).

“You cannot save people. You can only love them.”

~ Anaïs Nin

Discipline

I have faith that discipline (the self-imposed kind) can help folks lead healthier, more fulfilling lives, both inside and outside of work.

“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.”

~ Buddha

Nonviolence

I have faith in non-violence as an effective strategy for meeting peoples’ needs (including my own).

“Non-violence requires a double faith, faith in [the Universe] and also faith in man.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Intuition

I have faith in the value of intuition and emotion, and their role in complementing rational thought.

“Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.”

~ Khalil Gibran

And I’m always mindful of (my own) need for balance between intuition and reason.

“Faith… must be enforced by reason… when faith becomes blind it dies.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Myself

Yes, it’s not a sin nor a conceit to have faith in oneself. I have faith in my own humanity, my compassion, my capacity for unconditional love, my own intuition, my ability to see things that maybe sometimes others do not, and in my ineffable fallibility.

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”

~ Norman Vincent Peale

I’d love to hear from you about what you have faith in.

– Bob

Further Reading

The Familiar Credo – Blog post

3 comments
  1. Joel Tosi said:

    Excellent Bob, simply excellent. I can’t count the number of times I have talked about faith in people and faith in myself. Faith in one’s self – too many people struggle with accepting that as being ok. That makes me a sad panda.

  2. Sue Rule said:

    Interesting piece. I agree with all your faiths bar one. Where is the evidence for faith in the Universe – things “unfolding as they should”. The Universe is a chaotic system. No other creatures bother about ‘the meaning of life’, they just get on with trying to stay alive. Its only mankind who tries to give the world some order and meaning, by analysing it, modelling it, trying to understand how it all works. That’s a fascinating and uniquely human trait, but our ‘physical laws’ are models of the Universe not the other way round. So we shouldn’t be surprised when it things don’t work out according to how we think they “should” work out.

    If we want the right outcomes, we have to work towards achieving those outcomes – we need to be always seeking to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Not just trusting that “all will be well”. (aka “someone else will do it”). Faith is about seeing things through to the end, no matter how bitter that end might seem. Faith is belief so strong that other considerations don’t matter, not even life itself. Because faith, like love, reaches beyond mortality to inspire others.

  3. Some say that faith may develop a “basis in demonstrable evidence” in higher orders of awareness that transcend (yet also include) cognitive reason. Like all good science, the evidence would demand its own forms of rigor and peer review.

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