Faith

July 22, 2014

Oh what a troubling word. Faith can mean many things to many people. At its core it means to believe in something. It’s often associated with religion or spiritual belief.

It’s a beautiful concept, to believe in something but I wonder if it’s that simple. It often seems that devoutly religious person would have the strongest faith and that the non-practicing wouldn’t. I think that’s wrong.

I think faith, as an integral belief which you whole heartedly honour, isn’t only the purview of religion. I think faith, in one form or another, is present in everyone. I’d go as far as saying faith is not only pervasive but essential to a healthy life.

Difference Between Having Faith and Needing Faith

There has to be a distinction made between having faith in something and needing faith in something.

You can have faith in God, Science, or Humanity. There’s a lot more but the point is that you can even have faith in yourself. How you’ve gained this faith or why doesn’t matter. The power of it, is that you have it.

Needing faith, is how you get to your belief. No matter how much you study you’ll always need faith that there is a God. But, if you spend a couple of decades training and testing theories, you can prove evolution through fossil and empirical evidence. You don’t need to have faith in something for it.

I suppose you need to have faith that the scientists that did the work, did it while respecting the scientific method. But you don’t need to have faith in evolution, just in the people who have proven it, over and over again.

The difference is simply in the method. Needing faith is a path to belief. Having faith is the last stop on that path but reaching the last stop can always be done through another path.

Why I think it’s important

I think as human beings we need to have a certain amount of stability in our lives and beyond that we need hope.

Faith, in every form, is about hope and the belief that things are going to be ok. As an example let’s take the afterlife.

Christian religion tells us that we will be judged and either go to heaven or hell (or the in-between places). Science tells us that we will decompose and that our atoms will return to the earth and help spring forth new life. Eventually our world with be destroyed and our atoms will float through space until they are used to create a new planet, sun, or other astral body.

Are both of them true? Who cares, that’s needing faith part. Are they both beautiful? Yes to a certain extent. Heaven can sound down right horrifying to some (That’s a whole other post) while the idea that we’re made of “star-stuff” might seem cold and unfeeling to others.

Having faith isn’t about what other people believe it’s about what you believe and how it make you feel.

My Beliefs (Cause I know you care)

I believe in stories and I believe if humanity. Although it’s not always easy I have faith that humanity is genuinely good.

I believe in being nice to people. I believe that life is a beautiful and magnificent thing that needs to be cherished. I have faith in the power of words, love, and kindness. Most of all, I believe that the pursuit of knowledge should be the goal of our lives.

What are my thoughts on the afterlife? I hope there are further challenges after our bodies stop working. I believe that the consciousness, or soul, must be bound to the laws of physics that say no matter or energy is ever created or destroyed. What it becomes after death is a great mystery to me but I don’t think it disappears completely.

I also believe that you live on in the hearts and minds of your friends and family. And they say the internet never forgets.

If you need to label me, this all means I’m Agnostic. Meaning I’m not sure what to believe but that we should keep trying to find out.

 

What do you have faith in?

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Calculating God – Book Review

August 9, 2012

Calculating Gob by Robert Sawyer has an interesting premise. Aliens believe that Earth’s fossils could help find proof of God.

Robert Sawyer is a Canadian Science Fiction Writer and Futurist. You might have seen the name when you watched Flashforward on ABC a few years ago. He wrote the book, of the same name, that the show was based on.

I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Sawyer after he gave a talk at the Museum of Science and Tech in Ottawa. He’s an engaging speaker, which that comes through in his writing. There are science facts and ideas that could have been dull but he managed to parse them out and make then interesting.

Below is my review. For more information on how and why I review books read my post here.

Characters

Sawyer’s characters are always interesting. They always feel well rounded and real. This book isn’t an exception. Each character is believable and likeable, even the aliens. The only exception is the villains they felt like an afterthought. It felt a little shoehorned in and they were a bit boring.

For characters, I give it 4 out of 5

Writing Style

Sawyer has a unique writing style that is understandable and educational. He makes even controversial or heavy subjects interesting. Unlike some hard sci-fi authors, I don’t get the urge to look up every fact to see what he means. He explains it that someone with my limited science background would understand.

He has a wonderful way of combining dialogue and facts. I find it makes a reader feel like they are having a discussion with the characters.

I give it a 5 out of 5.

Story

Most of the time I feel that the discussion in his books, doesn’t overwhelm the story. In this case, despite the strong characters and the great premise, I find that the story felt like a vehicle for the philosophy and science rather than a counterpart.

I give the story a 3 out of 5

Fun

The story was bare bones but the character interactions were highly entertaining. Lines like, “Take me to a Palaeontologist.” Make the book enjoyable.

Another rare and wonderful thing about this book was its lack of judgement. Whenever a book discusses God, I expect to get a lot of defending for one point of view. Sawyer never pushes one point of view over the other. It was unbiased, interesting, and informative.

It’s not the first book by Sawyer I’d recommend friends to read but it’s certainly a lot of fun for those who are interested in the philosophy.

I give it a 3 out of 5 for fun

Overall

Final score is 75%