I am going to write about a topic that I will never fully conceive. But just as a sunset has beauty beyond the stretch of paint and canvas, and the artist still feels compelled to paint it, I must say what I must say upon this topic. My opinion might change, my ideas may not be fully formed, but no man is done understanding his own understanding until he dies and understands it all.
Faith in the halls. Of science. Of politics. Of education. Of art. Of literature. Of journalism. Of economics. Of government.
Faith is a tricky issue these days, like that relative that people don’t want to invite to the wedding, even though they know they should. Must we let Faith be a part of our lives?
The answer is yes, and often the question doesn’t even matter, because Faith sneaks into all aspects of our world. Biologists place their faith in the scientific method. The people, in their government. The government, in their people. The banks place their faith in the hope that the day will never come when everyone wants to draw out their money. The places faith in the mother, the mother in the father, the father in the car he uses to transport his family. It’s all faith, trust, belief—some with evidence, some with pure devotion.
But Faith with a capital F is the new F word—and it’s not that new. We might have faith, but we mustn’t have Faith. Faith in a God, a religion, a body of Scripture. That is something of the past, a relic of the medieval age, the Iron age, the pre-historic age. And still, there are politicians and scientists, artists and professors, ladies and gentlemen and scholars who are of right mind and spirit—and have Faith.
So how does Faith factor into one’s life? Does it influence every action? Yes. How? Unanswered.
You see, the artist who uses his canvas, her music, her play, his poem as a medium to communicate Faith, though the work may be decried as merely religious propaganda, it is allowed.
The athlete who publicly dedicates his or her performance to God (often only upon a win) is permitted, unless the producer can switch to Camera 2 or commercial fast enough.
But after that… the Halls are a little more restrictive.
The Halls of Family for years have been the sanctuary of Faith, free and full. In recent times, though, criticism and condescension has arisen towards those who educate their children in their Faith. It’s forced upon them, the critics cry. They don’t know enough to reject their parent’s teaching, others object. It’s merely fantasy and fairy tale, comfort for the frightened boy, terrified in the wake of a friend’s death, stories of a Haven that never has and never will exist—so they say. Faith doesn’t belong in this Hall—so they say.
But if it is forced upon them, so are principles of right and wrong, not even absolutes of the Universe but simple ideas such as “Be polite” and “Share.” If children should not learn of Faith until they know enough to fully understand the issue, then learning can never occur, for all education involves both faith and Faith. Is it possible that the Good News of the Faith is fantasy, fairy tale, a comforting tale… that is true? These retorts are probably not the best arguments, but how about this: If Faith belongs anywhere, it belongs in a fellowship of faith, the family unit who depends upon each other. A good father lives as a good father, and a great father does so while telling of the Great Father. A good mother loves as a good mother, and a great mother loves in such a way while singing of the care of the Comforting Spirit. The family should live faithfully with faith-filled lives, and Faith should be their deepest bond. Unfortunately, this is also why bad Faith in a family can cause such great horrors. But if the answer to the problem of weeds was to plant no plants at all, this world would be a sad and arid place. Likewise, though Bad Faith can infect a home and the world as well, Faith still belongs in the family.
The Halls of Scholarship have held Faith in high regard for ages long. But now Faith is the boarded off corridor, along with alchemy and astrology, geocentricism and bloodletting. It is an outdated way of viewing the Universe. Let the Universe be the lens by which we examine the Universe. No external principle or power should take higher precedent (not that Faith truly involves anything external; it is, after all, a fabrication of Man). Let faith be placed in facts and figures, maps and measurements, not figments of imagination. See, test, then believe—anything before that is unprovable and unrealistic. All Hail Knowledge, All Hail Method, All Hail Reason, Queen of Education (not that any higher power really exists).
But is it possible that Faith marries with Reason in fathomable and unfathomable ways? Is it possible that the answers of two centuries are not always better than the answers of all others before? Is it possible that fact points to the existence of truth, our minds to a greater Mind, Creation to a Creator, our search for answers to a source of all knowledge? To deny the possibility of Faith having a role in the Halls of Education is like saying math cannot contain absolute answers, all sources in History cannot be trusted, and the external world cannot be known until all the senses experience our surroundings (Is that dirt? Better taste it). The Halls of Scholarship have room for Faith—in fact, they are brightened by its presence.
The Halls of Government have also had a long relationship with Faith. Kings and Queens, Presidents and Prime Ministers, Governors and Politicians have proclaimed Faith as a guiding principal in their work. These men and women who have worked to provide structure in a chaotic world have declared devotion to a Designer and Order that rules heaven and earth. Unfortunately, much of government has grown Faith-intolerant. Separation of Church and State apparently has a multitude of meaning, from no setting up state religion to no references to Faith at all. One is impossible, the other is… good. As I’ve mentioned before, Faith involves all of a person’s life– to not reference it is like holding your breath. Not only will you eventually break, but you also will find yourself not fully alive.
But Faith must not be the guiding principal of Government. Faith must not be the guiding curriculum of Education. Faith must not be the guiding justification in Family.
Faith can be taught to the children, but if it is merely taught and not lived, then it is pretense and pretending (and not the good type). If Faith is given as the answer to every question, or questions are merely forbidden, then Faith can never be found, for Faith mannequins are stuck in places Faith doesn’t belong. Faith involves all answers, but doesn’t give all answers. If Faith is given as the excuse for bad parenting, it is an insult to Faith and family.
Faith should not limit scholarship—instead, it can infuse it with life. A scholar with Faith must still pursue knowledge. Fact and Truth are not always the same, but such cannot be known until both are pursued.
Faith should not be set up as the end-all solution for political issues, for no country is a proper theocracy. To demand everyone to believe one thing is like telling everyone to eat only one style of food: “No Pizza for you!” Faith mustn’t be hidden, but it also must not be forced. True Faith is never hidden and true Faith is never forced. True Faith is lived.
Faith must live in the Halls of Government, the Halls of Scholarship, the Halls of Family—but it doesn’t need to reign and rule and run every miniscule aspect. Faith is life, not Management. A Manager can have Faith, but they shouldn’t abuse their employees with Faith. Faith is life, not a weapon. Faith is life, not a lesson.
I’ve said a lot and after a few weeks I may see the holes in this piece. But hopefully I can stitch and weave, making stronger the blanket of my beliefs and hopefully comforting you and providing for yours.
And for now the sun must set.