The Faith of a Thinker
By Rado Gatchalian
mid-13c., faith, feith, fei, fai “faithfulness to a trust or promise; loyalty to a person; honesty, truthfulness,” from Anglo-French and Old French feid, foi “faith, belief, trust, confidence; pledge” (11c.), from Latin fides “trust, faith, confidence, reliance, credence, belief,” from root of fidere “to trust,” from Proto-Indo-European root bheidh – “to trust, confide, persuade.”
There is a consensus that Faith (with the capital F) is an exclusive territory of religion and spirituality. For thousands of years, faith has been used by the Church as an authority and edict to proclaim that their truths are the only truths conclusive available for the people. As such, it was used (and abused) for centuries by the same Church to exterminate (excommunicate) people who did not reciprocate with the same sentiments, faith.
They made strong assertions that these people had “lost” their faith or had no faith at all.
However, the pagans who believed in the supernatural deities shared the same ingredients of faith. The ancient Greeks who believed in Zeus would have the same manifestation of this thing called faith.
As we can notice – everyone can have faith. But we all differ as to whom or where we give our faith. Faith is essentially a belief, a personal philosophy.
Can a person who doesn’t have faith (a spiritual belief) believe in something? Can a person who doesn’t belong to any religions live and die for a certain cause, faith? Can an agnostic and atheist establish a kind of faith that is morally acceptable to society?
Let us start with contextualization. Faith is a personal belief and philosophy to whatever kind. A belief is a concept and idea that has been formulated through thinking. Thinking is a process of reflection, realization, and reasoning. A thinker is an individual who exercises his right to think for himself.
“To think for himself.” This humanistic dogma is the life and blood of a warrior whose battle is in the intellectual arena. It is a quest in search of what is right, of the truth, of something that is pragmatic, logical, scientific, and beneficial to mankind.
And this is what religions are afraid of. They do not want their flocks to think for themselves. They want them to have a strong unquestionable faith. They want them to believe in the revelations and dogmas of the Church. If they proclaim that a Pope is infallible, there is a purgatory, or sins are forgiven in the form of confession – the followers should embrace that truth as solid and absolute.
Now, imagine you are one of those members of that Church – and in your conscience – you cannot accept such beliefs. “You think for yourself.” Your reason cannot accept the teachings of the Church.
You might have lost your faith, but you have found a different key to unlock the truths. The key is your reasoning power. It liberates you from fear and errors. Reasoning is the enemy of the Church. The war between good and evil is tested on the battleground where one becomes free…
The faith of the thinker is essentially on the power of reason and science. A faith in which the conviction lies in the commitment to achieving what is logically proper. A faith that resides in man’s ability to make this society better through science and technology. A faith in which wonder is in medicine and invention. A faith that saves lives through medicines and doctors.
A thinker believes in a higher purpose that benefits mankind. A morality that is based not on eternal rewards but on how we deal with people and society while we are still alive. There are no miracles but only wonders given by certain circumstances.
Can a thinker believe in God? Or to be precise: can an atheist believe in an “alternative God”? What if Science and Reason are “Creators in its own kind” from the perspectives of a freethinker? Does atheism qualify as well as a religion? A “religion” based on the power of reason rather than prayers? A faith that is fundamentally emanating from thinking?
Well, some would say this is “blind faith.” A misguided kind of faith. For them, absolute faith is an absolute acceptance of the teachings. You can never question authority! Hence, a “child” of God will obey whatever is commanded. Such kind of faith in which reward is eternal salvation in paradise!
But for a thinker who “was once lost but now found” – in the abyss of this infinite horizon of Universe – with his telescopic perception and thinking: the narrow gates to freedom are opened.
This is the thinker who has seen the light from the shadow of mankind’s desire to seek the truth. This truth is his bible. He will live and die in this world with joy and peace in his heart. He will live with contentment that he is able to exercise his right to think in pursuit of freedom and happiness. In his solitary confinement where books and nature are his best companions, he will continue his journey towards the attainment of enlightenment. An intellectual nirvana!
Such faith that no miracles and eternal rewards are required to obtain peace and happiness! Now!
This is the faith that only reasonable people can totally understand.
THE PHILOSOPHER’S CREED
I believe in Reason,
The Ultimate Power to be Free,
Liberator of Ignorance here on Earth.
And in Science, where wonders become real,
Emanated from man’s quest to a better life,
Born from the imagination of mankind,
Suffered under the guise of Dogma,
Excommunicated, Galileo punished to life imprisonment,
And thousands murdered from the Inquisition.
The day came for Enlightenment,
From errors to truth,
From fear to freedom,
From guilt and punishment,
To peace and joy.
I believe in Logic and Common Sense,
The Pursuit of Happiness,
The Quest for Truth and Meaning,
The Wonder and Beauty of Nature,
The Freedom of Humanity,
The Birth of Knowledge,
And Life on Earth worth Living.
Allow me to end this with the poem of W.B. Yeats.
Once every people in the world believed that
trees were divine, and could take a human or
grotesque shape and dance among the shadows;
and that deer, and ravens and foxes, and
wolves and bears, and clouds and pools, almost
all things under the sun and moon, and the
sun and moon, were not less divine and
changeable. They saw in the rainbow the
still bent bow of a god thrown down in his
negligence; they heard in the thunder the sound
of his beaten water-jar, or the tumult of his
chariot wheels; and when a sudden flight of wild
ducks, or of crows, passed over their heads,
they thought they were gazing at the dead
hastening to their rest; while they dreamed
of so great a mystery in little things that they
believed the waving of a hand, or of a sacred
bough, enough to trouble far-off hearts, or
hood the moon with darkness.