Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Problem With Faith

Faith, loosely defined as a belief in something you cannot see, hear, feel, let alone smell or taste has driven men to create fantastic works of art.  It also drove men (educated men, not itinerant goat herders) to drive two jet planes into the Twin Towers (9/11/2001).  Men  of science, strongly rooted in their faith have tried to align science, the cosmos, and their religious beliefs while others within the same profession have used smoke and mirrors to try and disprove not just the former's line of thought but also to trash real scientific fact:  the Earth is only about 6,000 years old, men and dinosaurs lived peacefully together, etc.  According to these folks, proven science is wrong but the "facts" presented in their holy book, the word of their god, is the only "truth" humans need to know.  Proven science is factual; it can be proven over and over again.  The problem with faith then, is that it creates belief in something that cannot be proven.  This tandem of faith/belief is heady stuff.

So tell me, where exactly is "heaven?"  Do we all get 72 virgins or is that reward just for Muslims?  Why would a loving god create a special place of fiery eternal torment just for people who do not want his "love?"  Reasonable persons ask these questions and more, silently or out loud.  The problem is that these "things" cannot be proven. When questions such as these are asked, rabbis, priests, pastors, and imams usually point to passages in their holy books and followup with the admonition, "you must have faith."  This is how and where faith begets belief.

The three monotheistic religions rely heavily on their orthodoxy to prop up their faith/belief tandems; do not expect to find any form of orthopraxy close to the surface of their doctrine and dogma (in this post orthodoxy is referred to as the conforming to and following of the proper, established doctrine, dogma, and ritual while orthopraxy refers to correct behavior and action over faith and ritual).  But there is this thing called Asatru.

The word "Asatru," from the Icelandic language, means "faith in the old (Germanic) gods."  Asatru is the modern form of the pre-Christian Germanic religion and is best expressed within a re-constructionist context.  This means that Asatru is being "put back together" based on what we know as fact.  These facts are in their own way scientific - they are taken from anthropology, archaeology, and written sources; UPG's and MUS have no real place in a true re-constructionist context  (UPG - unverified personal gnosis......MUS - Made up stuff).  And Asatru is orthopraxic.

Modern practitioners of Asatru base their life around right action; belief in a far away heaven is of no concern but dying with your good name intact is.  Asatru is world and life accepting, therefore life and personal wealth honestly gained are good things, not things to be rejected as they so often are within monotheism, in favor of something that cannot be proven (salvation doctrine - a "promise" of heaven).  Within modern Asatru, as in the old, there is no room for blind faith, just the facts.  And, as long as Asatru remains re-constructionist and orthopraxic, there will not be a problem with "faith."

                                                    Copyright @2016 Terry Unger

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Coming soon to an 'Amazon Bookstore' near you:  My latest book  ...  Nick Hammer - The Preacher's Son.  When blind faith comb...