My Facts and My Faith
The thing about faith is that there is no proof. It is what makes it different than fact. Many of us hold onto our faith as if it were fact and try to defend it from disbelievers when it is not possible to do so. You cannot prove it, it does not stand up to scrutiny and is therefore indefensible in the realm of facts. The Bible and other books of faith will tell you that it, being the word of God, does not need defending as God’s word is fact by its very nature. But, what about the things you believe in, have faith in, that does not have the Bible’s stamp of approval?
Recently I ran across the fact that the saying “God helps those who help themselves.” is not actually in the Bible. I was surprised by this as I take this statement to be fact and assumed it was supported by the Bible which transmuted it into fact. I see now that this is a faith-based statement. That does not lessen its impact on me and I have not removed it as an axiom from my personal rules for living. It did have me take another look at my rules for my life. Yes, I have them written down and update them from time to time.
There are accepted and traditional truths that permeate our upbringing as our parents and community have worked to indoctrinate us into their belief patterns and systems. Some stick with us throughout our lives requiring no proof because what we learn from our elders can often become sacred and therefore truth despite being only faith-based. Things like fairness, common sense and the golden rule come to mind. In these cases, it is not uncommon for our communities to see us as foolish at the very least for not continuing to live by them. The problem is that these often do not stand up to facts. The world is not always fair. Common sense is not always common. The golden rule does not always return what you put into it.
I walk in both the worlds of fact and faith. They are both quite powerful and each works well in the area where the other is weak. For example, I find belief in one’s self to be faith-based but sometimes requires the factual aspect of practice to be obtained. I also find that when facts fail us, faith can provide us with power and commitment. Having skill and power in both aspects can make possible some amazing results. At least that’s what I believe.
They say there are three things to never talk about at work; sex, money, and politics. I believe that this is mostly because where you land on these subjects is based on some mixture of faith and fact. This often makes some arguments indefensible and emotionally polarizing without the ability to reach a consensus. The challenge is to let people believe what they believe without judgment which is hard to do when they contradict your own beliefs. For conflicts such as these to work out amicably, a moderator and safe environment would have to be established. That’s not likely to be available at your workplace or local watering hole.