The following post will not fulfill its purpose or make full sense, unless the entire series of posts it’s a part of is read in order. You are therefore encouraged to start with the introduction.
Category #1 – Good Non-Rational Faith
Good non-rational faith is the beneficial belief in matters that are difficult to rationalize or back up with sufficient rational and empirical evidence. Its goodness is the nearest thing we have to that of a universal kind (if such a thing even does exist in the absolute sense of the word).
Given that it’s non-rational and non-empirical, it does not clash with reason or contradict it. It is also essentially based on feelings and intuitions.
The ability to sense it is inherent in all of us, but the way we manifest what we sense and the language we use to describe it is learned.
Below are some examples of good non-rational faith in action.
The unconditional love a mother has for her child.
Aicha’s son is addicted to cocaine. She’s worried about him. She’s distressed with pain. She’s disappointed and at times uncertain about what the future holds for him.
Yet, Aicha believes he’ll get better. Yet, she showers him with unconditional love and maintains her faith in him.
And as Aicha believes all of this, she can’t provide any sufficient rational evidence to support this unfounded belief of hers. The truth of the matter is that she does not know what will happen to her son.
Rationally speaking, her belief’s validity is neither provable nor disprovable. We’re all agnostic to it. We don’t know if it’s true or false. It’s just faith, an intangible uplifting and empowering faith.
Indeed, Aicha’s son could very well end up fully recovering… or also dying from an overdose. But it doesn’t matter. Aicha remains faithfully optimistic.
That’s good faith. It is the kind worthy of respect and reverence. It is necessary for basic survival, let alone making our world a better place. Even atheists have it whether knowingly or not.
We need more of it.
The Ethiopian runner who’s determined to break the Olympic record and has a deep conviction he will do so successfully thanks to his faith in Allah Almighty
Sure, the Ethiopian Omar trained with professionals for hundreds of hours, but that doesn’t mean he’ll break the record. It doesn’t even mean he’ll end up in the top three for sure. It also doesn’t mean he’ll be able to donate his prize money for charity as he sincerely intends.
He might get a cramp in his leg during his big day. A bird might fly out of nowhere and poop on his head. You never know, but despite the uncertainties, Omar has faith that Allah is watching over him and will give him the power and determination to win.
After all, Allah loves those who help the poor and needy. Allah blesses those who seek to alleviate the suffering of orphans, something which is neither rationally and empirically provable nor disprovable, simply because Allah’s existence isn’t.
Yet, Omar believes. Yet, he has faith inspired by what Allah instructs in Meccan verses from the Quran, and while this specific spiritual component of his faith in the unseen may admittedly be attached to troubling aspects like religious dogmatism and separation theology, it still is nonetheless in itself good faith.
It is beautiful, uplifting and something I consider sacred.
Every day, all around me, I see it being a powerful force for good in the lives of many.
Sure, that doesn’t make it necessarily true, and it shouldn’t be believed with dogmatic delusional certainty, but we must admit that it’s beneficial in such cases.
Atheists may wrongly oppose it because of its metaphysical dimension and religious nature, but it is in essence and definition no different from Aicha’s non-metaphysical faith.
It is also no different from Javier’s, a Christian runner from Brazil who wants to win in the Olympics and donate his prize money for charity too.
This is because while Omar’s natural intrinsic desire for certainty and a sense of purpose (inherent in all of us) manifested itself in the form of faith in Allah, for Javier, it manifested in the form of faith in Jesus thanks to a Christian upbringing and verses from the Bible that encourage charity.
On the other hand, for the Californian runner John, an ardent student of the New Age movement, it manifested in the form of faith in a Conscience Universe and the Law of Attraction.
In all cases, the faith of Aicha, Omar, Javier and John is the same in essence, and when they disagree about it amongst themselves, it’s all really just semantics.
None of them can back up the validity and truth of their beliefs and nobody can disprove them either, yet they still believe what they individually believe.
Yet, they have faith. They have…
… good non-rational faith.
Up next: Category #2 – “Good” Non-Rational Faith