For the longest time, I saw church as a place where I could tap into my feelings and find a new sense of hope. I attended the prayer sessions, sang the songs, interacted with the other churchgoers. But one day, as if God himself had struck me with a lightning bolt of inspiration, I had an epiphany: I didn’t need this place to find something that I could find within myself!
Suddenly, I was a free man. And no, not in the sense that I no longer needed to sacrifice my Sunday mornings to attend church, though I suppose that may have been a small part of it. I was free in the sense that I no longer had my afterlife to worry about, no longer needed a reason to be nice, no longer needed a “reason” for existence; I simply was to exist.
I believe that having faith does not necessarily mean believing in God. Often the word and the idea are closely associated with one another. But to those people that make such associations, I ask: what does that make everyone else? Shells of empty space? People simply living out their lives with no real purpose or direction? No, this is not what I have come to believe. And being one of those people myself, I have come to see that there is faith, merely in a different sense of the word. A power as deep and enriching, as unlimited and beautiful, as any that would come from said divine being.
Faith gives us the capacity to dream; it gives us the capacity to achieve what we thought was never possible. Next to our intelligence, it is an essential part of what makes us human, and not just another animal. Just as the body cannot live without the mind, the mind cannot live without the spirit. Our survival does not depend solely on our intellect—it also depends on our ability to imagine, the ability to see beyond physical manifestation. Through understanding of this concept, faith is no longer restricted to its human-created origins; after all, everyone has his or her preference. But more importantly, we as the human race must understand that we are all connected: through family, through love, and even through faith.
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