WHAT IS FAITH, BY THE WAY? It’s a simple question, right? Maybe not… Faith can mean many things to many people, and whatever one’s personal beliefs, they should be respected as everyone’s journey is their own. This is reflected in our everyday life experiences, including grieving the loss of a loved one. And regardless of those beliefs, we all have the opportunity to comfort and support one another in the most important aspect of our lives – the here and the now.
Most of us have an inner faith of some sort, including the strong conviction by some that there is nothing beyond this life. And even this belief, as related to loss and grief, can provide comfort to the person who is grieving.
Following are some interesting excerpts of various societal definitions of faith.
Source: Dictionary.Com: 1. Confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability. 2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
Source: New Catholic Encyclopedia: An assent of the mind to the truth of some proposition of the word of another, God or man. Divine faith is therefore the holding of some truth as absolutely certain because God, Who can neither deceive nor be deceived, has spoken it. Without faith no man can be saved
Source: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines (Nyanntiloka): A Buddhist’s faith is not in conflict with the spirit of inquiry, and “doubt about dubitable things” is admitted and inquiry into them is encouraged. The ‘faculty of faith’ should be balanced with that of wisdom. Through wisdom and understanding, faith becomes an inner certainty and firm conviction based on one’s own experience.
Source: Martin Luther (Luther’s German Bible of 1522): Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn’t stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing.Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an unbeliever.He stumbles around and looks for faith and good works, even though he does not know what faith or good works are. Yet he gossips and chatters about faith and good works with many words.
Source: Kabbalah (Luther’s German Bibleof 1522): Faith (Emuna) is the quality of bestowal, which enables you to see a different world. It’s a different sense of perception, where you perceive outside of yourself, above your personal calculations. This is the reason why people who have faith change completely. On the other hand, you are defining faith as believing in something somebody said. In other words, you believe that what you heard is a fact. Since it is a science, Kabbalah denies such an approach. In Kabbalah, you accept something in order to test it yourself. To acquire faith means to acquire a screen, the ability to feel, define, and measure sensations that are tuned to bestowal and love.
For those who believe that there is simply nothing more when we die, may find comfort in the thought of non-existence with no more physical or emotional pain or daily struggles. And those who believe in a creator often use their faith as a basis of sustenance in the face of personal human adversity and a reason for the ‘here and now,’ which gives hope for eternal evolution as spiritual beings.
John Pete, GC-C, is a Certified Grief Counselor and Founder of www.MyGriefSpace.NetTags: faith, grief, healing, hope