Having faith is important. It is also equally important to have knowledge.
Some people seem to believe that these concepts are mutually exclusive. To have faith means knowledge is unimportant, and vice versa. But we need faith to traverse the unknown, and we need knowledge to understand the experiences we have during this life.
On the one hand, society has an obsession with grouping often diverse concepts together. For example, spirituality, morality and religion. Three separate tenets that are frequently equated as one and the same, which I’ve written about before. On the other hand, society is equally obsessed with division. For example, straight and gay, black and white, religious and atheist, Republican and Democrat, so on and so forth. Is it any wonder we’re fairly schizophrenic?
Along this line, people hold very different views of faith and knowledge. Both serve a purpose, and both are pretty important, but many come to see them as conflicting, which is not the case.
Let’s explore faith. Faith is believing in things that you might not be able to see. Faith is knowing that if you take that chance you could wildly succeed. Faith is the Zen saying “Leap and the net will appear.” Faith is believing in yourself and your abilities. Faith is believing in your friends and family and their support. Faith is believing you can control your own destiny, choose your own path and live a life you want.
Faith is a lot of things, but what it is not is blind. While that may seem like a paradox, it’s really not. Faith is a completely personal matter of belief, it is a form of knowledge that is emotional, sometimes irrational, based more in feeling than thought. Faith is not about expecting answers and solutions from without, which is where blind faith comes into play.
We all have different beliefs when it comes to the concept of a higher power. Some even don’t believe in such. Whatever you ascribe yourself to, while this can be a source of strength, it should not be the end-all-be-all of how we view the Universe. There’s a reason we each have free will, and that in turn means that we each have the ability to choose for ourselves.
Let’s explore knowledge. Knowledge is learning things about how the world works. It is gaining information about people, places, things. Knowledge is why we know that two plus two equals four, or that certain mushrooms are poisonous, or that the Earth revolves around the sun and so forth. Knowledge is knowing you can always find more information, and you can educate yourself about almost anything you can think of.
Knowledge is a lot of things, but what it is not is emotional. Yes, knowledge allows us to know emotions, give them names, and analyze them and their effects on our psyche. But knowledge is a matter of thought, not emotion. Knowledge might give you a scientific explanation for why your heart flutters when you see a sunrise, but it does not fully explain the emotional reaction it can produce in you.
Knowledge is power. The more we learn, the more we empower ourselves. There is always something new and interesting to be learned, and it is in learning new things that we discover better paths for ourselves to traverse.
The thing is, while knowledge and faith can come across as opposites to one another, they really are not. Knowledge can inform faith, so long as we recognize that that faith is not blind.
Let me clarify that statement. I believe, have faith in the universe, that I can control my own destiny and choose and walk my own path. I have certain knowledge born of my own life experience that tells me this is so. There is science and technology that has and continues to help me in this quest, and I am always learning new things that help to reinforce my faith.
It is important to recognize when faith and knowledge are truly one. You may not entirely be able to explain the how, but you should be capable of explaining the why.
This is where blind faith can be so problematic. No offense to anyone’s religious beliefs, but if you ONLY believe in creationism and utterly reject the science of evolution, you are choosing blind faith. If you refuse to see a doctor for some illness or disease and choose to believe that God alone will heal you, same thing. If you refuse to act because you think some higher-power will grant you what you seek, you might be following your faith blindly. I will grant you it is possible you are right, and your faith is not blind, so let me ask you this – can you explain to me why? “Because” is not an answer.
Faith is believing in ourselves, in the power of our dreams and imagination and intentions, faith is believing in our own knowledge allowing us to get from where we are now to where we want to be. It is not just the doings of the Powers-that-Be beyond our control, we are creatures of free will, and we can create almost anything we set our minds to.
Knowledge is knowing when what we know is sufficient, and we can have faith in that and the desired outcome. Knowledge is empowering ourselves, and through our empowerment finding the faith to take the leaps, to tread the unfamiliar paths, and to make changes that we want for our own benefit.
Having faith is important, but it is also equally important to have knowledge. Neither can exist in a vacuum, and when we put them together we can create a world that all of us can live the lives of our dreams in. It really does seem far more complicated than it truly is.
What do you know? What do you believe?
GOAL LOG – Week 35:
Diet: Overall, still decent. I continue to mostly avoid sugar.
Exercise: Fencing happened once week, and I got to the gym twice and hit archery practice. Getting better.
Writing: No writing happened last week. Already working to improve upon that.
Meditation: No mediation last week. Also working to improve that.
Gratitude: I wrote five things I was grateful for every day last week.
This is the two-hundred forty-fifth entry in my series. These weekly posts are ideas and my personal experiences in walking along the path of life. I share this journey as part of my desire to make a difference in this world along the way.
Thank you for joining me. Feel free to re-blog and share.
The first year of Pathwalking, including some expanded ideas, is available here.
If you enjoy Pathwalking, you may also want to read my Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better.