the role of faith

I parked myself on my living room couch last night and tuned into my favorite TV news program, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360. The coverage that followed provided a provocative query into the role of faith in politics and public life. I sat there watching the sound bites that educated me on the beliefs that ranged from what Mormon presidential candidate Mitt Romney would bring to office to why atheist author Christopher Hitchens purports that religion poisons everything. It was cause for me to not only visit my own faith, but even more so, to question just exactly what we’re getting at when we use the word, “religion”. The word itself causes so much strife that it makes me want to bury it with the force of a baseball bat.

In my opinion, faith is not about religion. It is about believing in a higher power that forever surrounds us with love, guidance and the abundance of life. Faith is having something to reach out to in prayer when your mother has been diagnosed with cancer and is spending every other day in bed, too weak from chemotherapy to do anything else. Faith is the hope you cling to when your husband leaves you for another woman and you’re wondering how you’re going to make it through another day. Faith gives you the courage to quit that job that leaves you empty to follow your heart in perfect trust that everything will turn out okay. Faith is a virtue that enables you to rise above the greatest of challenges. I don’t know what I would do without my faith. I consider it to be the greatest gift I have.

Likewise religion is not faith. Religion is the stories we’ve created around the history of creation. And wherever the stories in our history books disagree lies an opportunity for conflict. Does the story really matter anyway? Whether you believe you’ve been divinely created or scientifically produced, there is a source of energy that is behind all of this. If you can’t have faith in the energy that created you, what can you have faith in? Where will you turn in your darkest of days? I do not mean to pass judgment on “non-believers”. I ask this question in innocent curiosity. I would love to hear your comments.

Thank you for visiting.

Susan Hanshaw
Offering contemporary inspiration from A Course in Miracles

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