“Faith in Faith’ he answered. ‘It isn’t necessary to have something to believe in. It’s only necessary to believe that somewhere there’s something worthy of belief.”
– Afred Bester, The Stars My Destination
So much of the 21st century culture is focused on ourselves. We do what we think is best for us. Forget X and Y generation, we’re labeled the narcissistic generation. The idea that ‘I’m better than you’ has become so normal it’s socially acceptable. Why rely on anyone when you can rely on yourself? Why trust anyone when people are the very root of life’s greatest disappointments? I’m just going to live for myself. Because I know what’s best for me. Sounds about right doesn’t it?
Unfortunately life consists of ups and downs. You can’t have the highs without the lows. We all have different experiences, opportunities, events, and challenges but one thing we share in common are those moments when we simply don’t have an answer to why things happen. Why did my family member pass away? Why did I lose my job? Why am I not succeeding? Why did my husband/wife leave me? Why am I sick?
There are two types of people when it comes to faith. Those who ask why and those who simply accept things for what they are. They don’t fathom beyond the very surface of events. These people generally lack empathy because asking why denotes the intention to understand conditions, reasoning, perspectives and so on. It is our very nature to try and understand the world around us. We create systems, laws, formulas, equations, and definitions to understand everything that exists through our senses.
Believing in something greater than ourselves says, “I don’t know all the answers”. It’s a humble choice to admit you don’t know. In today’s society, we fault when we don’t know. When your boss asks you a question you don’t know the answer to, it can hinder your professional skills assessment. If your children ask you questions you don’t know the answer to, it can inhibit their trust towards you. Admitting you don’t know takes courage. I believe everyone (with the exception of psychopaths who lack empathy) have questions about life. What is our purpose? Why am I here? Where we differ is what we put our faith in that answers those questions. For some people, they can answer these questions on their own – Individualism. For others it can be Scientology, Buddhism, Naturalism, Christianity, etc. Whatever it may be, these people have made a choice in faith that these ideas, theories, or truth(s) have provided sufficient response to their questions about life.
Hope does not come from within. You cannot create hope for yourself. Hope comes from the doctor who tells you he is confident in your surgery. Hope comes from knowing that your family will be there and that the sun will rise and set tomorrow. For some, hope comes from a higher spirit. When you say you know what’s best for you, you don’t need hope. Why would you? Believing in hope means believing in external factors that are not manifested from within. However, I am confident that in those moments of despair, grief, and loss, hope is your only option to treading life’s waters. You can’t believe in yourself and believe that hope exists because hope is greater than you.
So where does your faith lie? Can the people of our generation acquit their self-deception to knowing all of life’s answers? When we strip away everything we have – family, friends, job, hobbies, money, everything that we hold valuable, what is left?
“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”
– Thomas Aquinas