Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I Admire and Respect Faith, Even When I Abhor the Focus of That Faith

 Within the LDS Church, there is a wide spectrum of belief concerning lots of things.  Some members are "conservative" in their religious views; some are "liberal" in their religious views; some (more than most people realize, I'm sure) are moderate in their religious views.  Some are absolutely convinced that their views are the one and only true views - to the extent that some appear to believe they know everything there is to know about God and all things religious.  Most, among all groups, however, have not "seen" in such a way that it is possible to say, scientifically and objectively, that they are right and everyone else is wrong.

In practical, scientific terms, they have a very strong belief in that for which they hope - to the point where they see it as knowledge instead of hope.  

That strong belief in the hoped for but not seen is the classic definition of faith, which drives their actions - combining faith with works - proving that they really, really do really, really, really believe it and aren't just saying they believe it.

I can admire and respect that kind of faith, even if I disagree with the details - and even if I believe the details are harmful, like, at the extreme, the case of suicide bombers. Everything about the specifics of that exact faith is abhorrent to me - except its existence. I respect someone who lives their beliefs fully and without apology, even if I don't respect the actual beliefs - and even when I would celebrate if the actual beliefs disappeared from the earth completely - and even if I support jailing them for living according to the dictates of their own consciences - etc. It's not the existence of a faith I abhor; it's the foundation and focus of the faith - and I abhor very few beliefs within all faiths.

I see the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as I understand them but not as many others understand them, as "truly" pointing to the "good" end I want. Thus, since I can't and probably won't ever see factual evidence of that hopeful end, I am left with faith - hopefully strong enough to allow me to live according to the dictates of my own conscience.

In the end, I might or might not know if my faith was factually true - but my faith points me to where I want to go, and, therefore, is my own truth. If where I want to go changes, I will craft a new faith that will be my own truth as long as that new direction lasts. Faith won't change; only the foundation and/or focus will.

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