The Crisis of Faith

We are taught to put our faith into love

Faith is a turning point, whether it’s a new faith or a renewed faith. Like everything, there are dangers surrounding faith, and there is opportunity surrounding faith. One of the dangers of faith, particularly religious faith, is that people may not have a reason for their faith. They just believe in certain things or they trust certain ideas because they have been told to do so. In Zen, we are taught to not even trust things like mountains and rivers because “the Rockies may tumble” and “Gibraltar may crumble.” We are taught to put our faith into love “forever and a day,” because, “Our love is here to stay.”

So, if we don’t even trust the mountains because they too are impermanent, what do we trust? We trust being present with the mountains when they tumble. I’m proposing to you that you might consider trusting in the crisis of the mountains. That when you are in the mountains, you know that the mountains can move, they can crack, they can crumble and you could be hurt. If you can have faith in facing the danger of the mountains, you will find an opportunity to realize true freedom, freedom from fear.

So, in Zen, we trust in the turning point and in the opening to the danger and opportunity of the situations we live in. But the danger may scare you. You may think, ‘I don’t really have a reason for trusting this.’ But if you can realize that living at the turning point sounds like a good idea, and are willing to take a giant step into danger to try living in crisis, you might awaken to the freedom of knowing that every moment is a crisis of faith.

There is another kind of faith, and it too has its dangers. In this other kind of faith, you slip into thinking,” Well, I received this information on good authority, or I read it in a very old book, so it must be true. It couldn’t be wrong.” The danger here is that after arriving at a conclusion like this, there is no possibility for a true conversation about your faith. If I agree with you, we can talk; but if I don’t, I am wrong, and we have nothing to say to each other. When the conversation stops between people who have one faith and those who don’t have the same faith, the possibility of realizing a truth deeper than both is drastically hindered.

This hindrance points out a big social danger of putting your faith into an idea that you have developed through social conditioning. In societies where some faith or some religious truth is held to be infallible, anybody who questions it can be in danger of a kind of spiritual or religious inquisition, or a shunning from the community, or an argument that can escalate into war. This can happen in Myanmar or Afghanistan, in the United States or in Creston, and, as we have seen, results in the suppression of freedom – and a great deal of suffering.

There is a Czech writer named Milan Kundera who says that he invents stories and then uses them to have conversations. He writes one story and then he writes another that questions the premise of the first. In this way, he turns his stories into a way of questioning and frees them from the claim of holding ultimate truth. He says, “The stupidity of religion comes from having answers for everything.” It is this stupidity that has led us into conflict after conflict after conflict. One way out of this pattern is to open up to a deep self-questioning conversation with each other’s religious stories; that is to enter into a crisis of faith without donning the armour of what we believe.

Just Posted

Advisory Select Committee selects Cook Street site for new fire hall

The proposal to recommend the site was made and carried with two members opposed during the ASC’s ninth meeting.

Public asked to stay vigilant over the long weekend

Evacuation alerts remain in effect

UPDATED: Hwy 3 west of Creston remains closed due to mudslide

A detour is available on the Kootenay Lake Ferry, but commuters could see wait times

Local businesswoman organizes clothing and household drive to help victims of the flood

Thomas is asking for clean, ready to use clothing, bedding, and new toiletries.

Kootenay unemployment rate down in April

Jobless figure stood at 5.4% last month

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Rachel Notley to skip premiers conference to focus on pipeline deal

Kinder Morgan has ceased all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline project until it receives assurances

B.C. tech company will power Uber Elevate

Moli and Uber announce research and development partnership.

UPDATE: Woman dies in ocean accident near Tofino hours before daughter’s wedding

“We are so thankful to everyone who helped our mom.”

Olympian sues USA Swimming, saying it failed to protect her

Ariana Kukors Smith alleges her former coach Sean Hutchison began grooming her for sexual abuse at the age of 13

Defence minister thanks troops for B.C. flood relief work

Harjit Sajjan says not only was military response quick, support from locals has been ‘tremendous’

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

PHOTOS: Floodwaters rise and fall in Grand Forks

The flood-ravaged Kootenay-Boundary region begins to heal

Most Read