Sunday, August 24, 2008

In ____________ We Trust

On Friday I again had occasion to hear someone's offbeat spiritual views. This woman follows Sri Gary Olsen and believes that beings from outer space helped the Mayans create their calendar. I mentioned that I find such beings-from-space theories to be insulting to humankind, as nonjudgmentally as I could, and she replied that 1. humans don't have a monopoly on consciousness (OK, that's fair), and 2. humans could reincarnate on other planets and then travel to Earth to teach humans incarnated here (???). She's an absolutely delightful woman, but OMG.

However, she got me thinking about faith. I am agnostic about celestial beings, God, gods. Because I studied, you know, archaeology and ancient civ, I do not believe that the Mayan calendar does much beyond keeping time, which is a big enough feat in itself. I totally reject the notion that space aliens taught the ancients how to do anything.

A more interesting question might be, In what do I have faith? Dharma. Myself. My husband. My family and friends. I don't possess a religious faith, but rather a deep trust, which is far more real to me. I believe in power of music and dance. Beyond dance, I believe in movement--the power, satisfaction, health, and confidence that comes from using one's body as it was meant to be used, ie, not sitting at a desk all day. I have faith that time is both cyclical and linear.

How about you? In what do you have faith?


Ann Forstie said...

Hmmm, difficult question.

I guess my most fundamental belief is that everybody's different. Which means that all my other beliefs are intensely personal: I don't expect them to apply to anyone else.

So when I say I believe in something, that means it's important to me, not that I think everyone should care about it.

That said, I believe in:

love (in all its forms)
beauty (ditto)
the concept of home
one's own space / privacy
routine (not necessarily ritual)
options / choices
good posture
lots of time off Work (not necessarily work)

Though I don't know if those really count as "beliefs" -- more like "life essentials."

kStyle said...

Those are good ones, Ann.

Ann Forstie said...

I thought of three more:


Narya said...

Truthfully? I don't have faith in much of anything. I have to think about how to elaborate on that (and i have been thinking about it since I read your post yesterday), but on some level, I really don't have faith in much of anything. There are principles by which I act, and there are even a few by which everyone should act, but I think of them as evidence-based, rather than faith-based.

kStyle said...

So, you have faith in evidence?

Narya said...

Well, no, unless you're going to insist that belief equals faith. I believe that 2 plus 2 is 4, in the sense that I have evidence that it is so, it is replicable, and so on; faith has nothing to do with it. I think of faith as the belief in things unseen, or whatever that quote is. And I'm not particularly a slave to science, either; I recognize how our lives are embedded and contextual and so on, and our questions and sciences will reflect that. But that has more to do with the contingent nature of belief. My understanding is that faith is NONcontingent in some important sense; people believe in deities NO MATTER WHAT. Or so it seems to me, as an outsider to that.

kStyle said...

Narya, I think you're defining faith more narrowly than I. Perhaps you're right, that it necessarily involves an element of the unseen; I don't know. For myself, I use it more in the sense of "deep trust".

I love your skepticism. I sometimes wish more people possessed a healthy dose of it.