“Have faith,” someone says. It’s another way of indicating, “have hope, don’t give up, hang in there.” That’s a good trait. Stick-to-itness. The Stockdale Paradox is to have faith in a positive outcome and do everything possible for that positive outcome, but be grounded in the reality of your current situation. That’s faith based upon reality.
But there is another type of faith. Blind faith. This is the faith that runs counter to logic, rationality and what is happening in the real world. This is the faith of fundamentalism. If it is written in the old testament, new testament or Koran, then it’s to be believed literally. If a priest, minister, mullah tells you to murder in the name of God, do you do it?
This becomes the danger of our time. The misdirection of faith, faith run amok, that takes life rather than preserves and enhances life.
We see all around us the two types of faith. On one hand appears the faith of joy, giving, following the true teachings of Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, Moses, Confucius. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Resist not evil. Love your enemies. The Eight-fold Path.
On the other hand we see the misdirection of faith. I’m saved, and you’re going to hell. I’m right, and you’re wrong. My family, tribe, nation or religion is justified in killing members of your family, tribe, nation or religion. My book has the literal truth of God, and yours is the misguided ramblings of lunatics.
How can so many people believe that they have the literal word of God and all the others don’t?
What we need today entails seeing the truth in many different religious traditions and to focus on the common truth rather than the exclusivity of one prophet versus another.
Each religion starts with insights into the human predicament. Unfortunately, a structure is wrapped around the core teachings to become institutionalized. Then the message is lost in the trappings of the formal faith.
So keep the faith. Just don’t kill others with it.