May 5, 2011

Faith part 5: You Gotta Believe


The Second dispensation failed because the people of that era decided to only rely on the knowledge they had amassed during their lives.  They did not believe in anything that they did not have full knowledge of, therefore they did not believe in God.  They did not have faith.

The last few posts have dealt with the definition and application of faithreasonable faith is the willingness to rely on something that we do not fully know based on knowledge and experience. Now we need to look at the powerful result of faith – belief.

Always believing

Every moment of our waking life is active.  We are constantly thinking, moving, acting, reacting, and making decisions.  When we act, we are performing that action based either on what we know, or what we don’t fully know.  There is no intellectual gap between knowing something, and acting on it.  However, when we don’t fully know something, the decision to act on it is based on what we believe about it.

Belief is the cognitive vehicle through which we act on that which we do not fully know. Belief, by definition, is based on faith.

Belief is absolutely necessary in order for us to live our lives because we do not know everything.  If we waited to have full knowledge of a situation before we acted on it, it would be impossible to ever get anything done.

Mission Impossible: Milk Protocols

If I want to go to the store to get some milk, I don’t know with 100% certainty that it is going to be a benign experience.  I don’t know that there is not a serial killer waiting outside my front door to lop my head off as soon as I step out.  There could be a three-car accident on the road to the store. The store may be cutting corners by getting milk from a herd with mad cow disease.

I’d need a Pentagon level of information and security details in order to try to have full knowledge of every possible contingency that could happen on my way to get milk.  But even that would not be enough.

It is not possible for us to know all the causes that could lead to all the possible effects, so I have to believe that the journey to get milk will be benign based on my previous milk buying experience and my knowledge that it is in the best interests of the store to provide me with an acceptable dairy product.

Why is belief so important? 

The things you believe shape your mindset, your perspective, and your entire worldview.  They become the lens through which you view reality.  Belief is powerful because what we believe has a tremendous effect on who we are.

When we begin our lives as children, we have no knowledge or experience and (thanks to Adam and Eve) we have no connection to God.  Virtually helpless, we have nothing to rely on except irrational faith.  We believe everything we’re exposed to!

Generally the first thing of which we have we have real cognition is our parents and caretakers.  They are the first objects of our faith.  In an ideal environment, they would be our knowledge and experience guides, and would be there to mitigate our exploration of our new world.

But even the best parents are neither perfect nor omnipresent.  They will not always be there when we have a negative experience or get exposed to harmful knowledge.  In fact, they may be the source of much of the negativity.

What we believe during this time shapes our entire psyche.  Much of the science of human psychology is based on understanding and addressing the effects of these early beliefs.

If as a child you have a frightening experience with animals, water or heights (and no one is there to mitigate the fear), they could develop into life-long phobias and panic attacks because you will believe these things have inherent and omnipotent danger attached to them.  If your parents were unjust and contradictory in their behavior towards you, it could result in all kinds of relationship and personality disorders later in life.

It can get even worse as you grow up and begin to discover the philosophies that will shape your worldview.  Remember, beliefs are faith-based, which means if you have irrational faith, you will embrace irrational beliefs, which will result in an irrational worldview that will lead to you committing and justifying irrational actions and behaviors. (The preceding statement explains the existence of religion and political activists.)

But belief is also powerful because it is the key to healing all that psychological damage.

If the root causes of the damage to our psyche is wrong beliefs, then the solution is to replace those wrong beliefs with right (righteous) beliefs.  Its a matter of replacing your red jelly beans with blue ones.  Once again, it all comes back to contrastive thinking.

Remember, our psyche; the “real us” is spirit.  Replacing our wrong beliefs with righteous ones can heal and repair our spirit.  And where do we get the righteous beliefs to replace our wrong beliefs with?  From a source that is always and completely right and just.  God.

Belief in God can repair our spirits.  And since life is the ability to repair, belief in God can lead to eternal life.

The problem with the people in the second dispensation is that did not want to believe in God.  They wanted to believe that they could live without faith.  They believed that they could relay on nothing but their own knowledge.  They believed in themselves instead of God.  The inevitable result was death.

In the next post, we will wrap up our examination of the second dispensation by focusing on the famous event that ended it. What was the reasoning behind the Great Flood?  Why was it necessary to exterminate the entire population of the planet, save one family?  It’s a very controversial issue that we will take a look at next time.


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