The Meaning of Faith – World Religion Essay
Sharon Salzber is a Buddist teacher who studied in Asia and soon after brought the teachings to the US in the 1970s. In 1976 she founded the Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts Salzber considers “Faith” an
unusual word as it relates to the teachings of the Buddha. The word is generally thought of as what happens when someone loses self
respect however Salzber is attempting to redefine the word by associating it with having the confidence to continue on when you don’t know something. The word faith when translated into “Poly” it is pronounced “Sada”, literally meaning to the place the heart upon. More liberal interpretations have suggested confidence, clarity, and or trust.
Salzber explains that in buddism there are fazes of faith. First being the Bright Faith faze that is considered to be when a person first realizes the teachings of the Buddha and is released from the confinements of their prior life. A sense of great relief and yet a overwhelming sense of the size of the world both are shared. The second faze is Verified Faith in which the student has moved on to practice a more enlightened truth in which nothing is excepted as truth until it is experienced first hand. The movement from Bright to Verified involves a considerable amount of doubt because without questioning reality how will you ever know what is true or real.
Faith in other religions is sometimes associated with death and what will happen to your soul at this point. This is thought in Buddism to be more a result of fear then true faith. “When beliefs are held to tightly then we use them to block our own growth”. At the same time faith in Buddha as a god figure is not needed because he is not. Rather faith in human being. Faith in the way Buddha described each moments experience and that they are of value. Lastly Faith in the community of people that you have around.
Anne Lamott is not a traditional fundamentalist Christian who believes that faith is more a spiritual concept then a religious one. In fact she goes as far as to say “Fundamentalism is the great evil in this world. It is a conviction of being right and that you have the right to deny other people instead of everyone is a child of God.” Lamott’s appeal is that she is a raw speaker who does not flower her thoughts of the world. She is aware that people are getting their faith off the book shelves and not from real interaction with other people acting out the works of faith that she feels are so important. “Faith is a verb. What joins all of us in faith is that we believe in a various of the golden rule or karma… if you want approcots that you can’t grow them from tomatoes.”
Lamott’s struggle on the streets lead to her having a child. It so kicked to peices her ideas of having great life and having a lot of success. After having a baby she became desperate and clingy. She excepted that she can’t see far and doesn’t know everything but she knows she will make it. “Like driving a car at night… you can’t see very far but you can get where your going.”
Omid Safi is a Muslim Theologian and a Professor of philosphy and religion at Colgate University. He is also the editor of “Progressive Muslims”. He begins the conversation with talking about his meaning of faith. ”We have submitted is better then saying we have faith. Faith is not yet entered into your hearts. It is possible to be formally Muslim and not have actualized the beauty of faith.” Having faith means that you worship God as though actually see him and at times when you struggle to feel like you can see him realize that he always see’s you. Religion is the lowest common denominator according Safi. Faith is the 2nd. Esson – actualizing goodness and realizing beauty, to live life as though you see God is what every person of faith should seek.
Rabbi Lawrence Kushner is thought by many as one most creative thinkers of our time. He stated that when he first heard the name of the show that he assumed it was primarly a Christian program because faith is not a word used as much with Judaism. One of the reasons why it is hard to speak of faith is because we are talking about the stuff that we are. Juddaism is more organized around deeds then beliefs. It has given up on trying to figure out the motivation behind a deed. “Because if you wait until you believe in it hell could freeze over… better to just do it because it is the right thing.” Speaking about faith is not comforting or pastoruel conversation as it forces you to open up and truly question what you believe and accept that you may learn something new that will change your previous thoughts all together. Rabbi Kushner emphasizes that faith follows action.