4/13/11

Faith, by Definition

Since having a child, I've thought a lot about the requirements of having an opinion on everything.  As a child I was very inquisitive, I only did the "Why" marathon once, when I realised it wasn't working out so well...I just began asking honest questions and got some very mixed messages.  I think too it has more to do with the mortality I'm feeling by just having become a mother.  I've been in "New Mother Crisis Mode" since November now.  Specifically, religion and spirituality have held a lot of complexities for my mind lately and I'm left wondering not only what do I believe, but what do I have faith in?  What do I unquestioningly believe without doubt, and what do I doubt or question?  What is it that I fail to recognize at all?

I've lately been reading Eat, Love, Pray: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Yes, the basis for the Julia Roberts' movie by the same name.    If you haven't read it, you should.  Truth be told, I'm more of a genre reader and yet I adore this book.  It's so full of humor and self-deprecation that I can identify with her immediately. 

So, why did I jump from faith to this book?  Well, there's a great passage she's written and it's so...on the mark.  I had to share it.



"Faith is a way of saying, 'Yes, I pre-accept the terms of the universe and I embrace in advance what I am presently incapable of understanding.' There's a reason we refer to 'leaps of faith'--because the decision to consent to any notion of divinity is a mighty jump from the rational over to the unknowable, and I don't care how diligently scholars of every religion will try to sit you down with their stacks of books and prove to you through scripture that their faith is indeed rational; it isn't. If faith were rational, it wouldn't be--by definition--faith."

I think this is a great summary of what faith means.  In the end, it doesn't matter what faith you belong to even if it's the "Right one," Everyone's taking a leap of faith, aren't they.  I think it's important to teach my child this as she grows up.  She's going to be raised in the faith I was raised in...but truly, we can all rely on our scriptures to assure us that what be believe in is the one true faith/belief/practice, but in the end...we're all taking educated guesses and committing to them.

Gilbert goes on to describe faith in more of that humorous way I was mentioning before, and I thought I better not keep it from you...

"Faith is belief in what you cannot see of prove or touch.  Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark.  If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be... a prudent insurance policy."

Also, on the right of my blog you will find a video with the acronym TED, with Elizabeth Gilbert talking about the idea of the creative genius and the muse, you can tell I agree with a lot of her opinions, no?  If you find her as amusing as I do, and are curious to read her book, Eat, Love Pray then here are the details.

Eat, Love, Pray: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia.
By Elizabeth Gilbert
Published by Penguin Books, The Penguin Group
Copyright 2006
ISBN: 9780143038412

No comments: