The Naked Vibes Show
Faith – The Life Renewing Energy of Easter – Tune Your Vibes – Ep022
The Difference Between Belief And Faith
Have you ever had what you might call a spiritual crisis? Or what’s sometimes called a dark night of the soul?
I have. And what I’ve learned through those circumstances is that there is a real difference between belief and faith.
I grew up with belief in a loving God. I had loving parents & extended family, so that belief came easily. But then more life happened – experiences in the larger world – out from under the shelter of my immediate family – experiences that challenged my beliefs.
I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but at some point I noticed the voices & ideas of religious leaders that spoke of a God I had never heard of – one who was mainly concerned with who He would allow into Heaven & who He would keep out. And these leaders clearly believed they had a direct line to that information. Over time, the voices got louder & louder.
This caused a spiritual crisis for me. The thoughts & ideas I encountered were so incongruent with my own that I began searching for new ways to express my spiritual self. I felt like the word “Christian” had been hijacked & was no longer a fitting description.
This was one of the driving influences for writing my novel, Heaven. It’s irreverent because I felt an irreverence to the brand of Christianity I was encountering. The novel is about the nature of God as seen through the eyes of an exotic dancer. People have asked me, "Why a stripper?" Because the lead character, Eve, is stripping off the brand. That brand of Christianity that I felt like I was experiencing and that I still see so prevalent in our culture.
There's a quote that's been attributed to Ghandi. I don't know if he actually said it or not. "I like your Christ, but I don't like your Christians." It's not my intent to lump every Christian into the same category, because we all have different thoughts and ideas. This isn't so much a categorization of people as it is a description of a brand of religious thought.
Interestingly, as I studied other religions & scientific thought, my beliefs changed & broadened to encompass, not less God, but more of God – a much larger God capable of embracing all people, everywhere, engaged in every type of sacred thought.
Did I feel a sense of fear that I was losing my “belief”? Yes, I did. But the payoff was that I grew - as a spiritual being having a human experience.
6:36 - SONG: "Heaven" - written & performed by Kimberly Cain, from the soundtrack to the novel (available only as a bonus included in the book. Get it here: Heaven, the novel & cd or on ITunes as a single.
I’ve come to see belief as a function of the mind - & the circumstances that inform the mind change over time, so it stands to reason that extremely painful experiences can challenge our beliefs. Cultural shifts & new discoveries in science, history, medicine, psychology, & so on, can also bring new perspectives on our long-held beliefs. Unless we want to hold so rigidly to beliefs that no longer serve us & actually prevent us from growing & living up to our potential, we may have to experience some pain with these shifts.
If belief is a function of the mind…faith is a function of the spirit. It doesn’t rely on circumstances or knowledge, from the intellect. Don’t worry – we don’t have to throw out the mind & get weird about “blind faith” being a danger here. I’m talking about the higher principle of Love at work – as an energy that is pervasive, regardless of what anyone believes or understands at any point in time.
I learned, when writing Heaven, that there is an inherent mystery in the Divine, that cannot be captured & put on paper or into speech. It cannot be apprehended by any person & explained in human terms. It can only be experienced. And this experience leaves a knowing.