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Thread: Is 'Faith' necessary?

  1. #1
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    Is 'Faith' necessary?

    Namaste,
    One of the definitions of the word Faith is - Belief that is not based on proof.

    With that definition in mind, Is 'Faith' necessary in a spiritual pursuit? Is it required for existence of God?

    What are your thoughts?
    satay

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    Re: Is 'Faith' necessary?

    Hari Om

    Namaste

    Pursuant to definition put forth "Is 'Faith' necessary in a spiritual pursuit? Is it required for existence of God?"

    From here think no and no. Think in Abrahamic traditions as contrast, yes. Think this is huge difference for us and such an important one.

    For us, can have faith pursuant to definition you share or not, and pursue spiritual path. If do not have this blind faith at beginning of spiritual journey, think along path, the experience will show all eventually, the existence of the Supreme.

    Pursuit without faith is not necessary in my opinion. God realization comes with pursuit at some level and/or readiness. As shown many times on HDF, this proof question is so prominent. Via knowledge and experience, I know without any doubt. Now articulating this verbally or pen to paper to Jiva who perhaps is agnostic and most sincere at this stage, does not reach their stage of proof and all is well.

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    Re: Is 'Faith' necessary?

    namaste everyone.

    The only person we know with utmost certainty (because we instinctively feel it) is our mother. Even our father we know as so and so, only from our mother! And how many people in life, who we do not know except perhaps beyond their face, we believe! The laundry shopman, the doctor, the pharmacist, our boss, and many others.

    Perhaps it is a mistake that many religions view God as a father, who we know only from our mother. This is the reason that we have Shiva as half-mother-half-father, and his hymns exhort us to pray to pArvatI-paramEshvara, our mAtA-pitA (mother and father)!

    Our faith, I think, is strengthened when we instictivly know about its object. But then even for such an effort, there must be some initial faith--that's the conundrum!

    saidevo

    *****

    Quote Originally Posted by satay View Post
    Namaste,
    One of the definitions of the word Faith is - Belief that is not based on proof.

    With that definition in mind, Is 'Faith' necessary in a spiritual pursuit? Is it required for existence of God?

    What are your thoughts?
    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

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    Re: Is 'Faith' necessary?

    Namaste,

    As I see it, there are two basic kinds of faith: blind belief in something, in other words, belief without any good reasons supporting it, and a confidence or trust in something on the basis of some evidence or experience that what you're trusting in is good, beneficial, or worthwhile. I've observed that the first kind of faith, the blind kind without any good reasons, is dangerous, because you don't truly know the nature of what you're believing in and you have no way to correct your course if you're on the wrong path. It's the kind of faith that has led to disaster for many unfortunate groups throughout history, even in recent times. The second kind of faith, a justifiable confidence, is the faith of a wise person and I think it's necessary for spiritual progress. If you don't have a degree of confidence that what you're practicing is good, then how long will you continue to practice it? Will you really stick with it through difficult times? This good kind of faith sees, for example, that pūjā (worship) has positive effects on my peace of mind and moral character, that meditation clearly has transformative power when I practice it, that when I apply the wisdom of the scriptures to my life that I can see I've found a reliable guide, that a particluar teacher I've observed for some time is truly an extraordinary person. This good kind of faith isn't yet complete knowledge, but it can lead you there.

    praṇām
    Last edited by anucarh; 19 February 2015 at 08:40 PM. Reason: to add greeting and closing
    śrīmate nārāyaṇāya namaḥ

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    Re: Is 'Faith' necessary?

    Namaste Satay,

    Quote Originally Posted by satay View Post
    One of the definitions of the word Faith is - Belief that is not based on proof. With that definition in mind, Is 'Faith' necessary in a spiritual pursuit? Is it required for existence of God?
    What are your thoughts?
    What shall we accept as "proof" ? The experience of our sense organs ?? Are they not cheating us all the time ?

    We must believe the great masters and their teachings even though we are not in a position to confirm that what they teach is all correct. Why ? Because we cannot learn everything by our own experiences ... this life is not that long. Or in other words, "Why invent the wheel again ?". We cannot do without believing our elders/teachers/friends in this world. We must believe our parents in childhood that it is possible to walk on two feet. We must believe our books written by our scientists and we must believe what our teachers teach us. Once you learn enough to stand on your own or walk on your own ... you can use your skills to find new truths.

    You don't need teaching when you yourself become a master. It is said, "the way is made for the vehicles and common men and not for the lions."

    I must know whether I am a lion or not. If I have any doubt then certainly I am not a lion and therefore, I need teachings to believe in and proceed in my pursuit of Truth.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Is 'Faith' necessary?

    Vannakkam Satay et al:

    I've never really thought about this much until now. Faith is more or less something I (we?) just have. Not really debatable, just there. As for proof, that also is subjective and individual. If I have a clear vision of God, it's absolute proof ... but only to me and me alone.

    As for trusting the wise, (in Devotee's response) I think if someone always tells the truth, and you verify it over and over, then you get to trust that person. That's just natural. We trust the words of loved ones for the same reason. If they tell us the truth 999 times in a row, they could most likely get away with a lie on the 1000th time.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Is 'Faith' necessary?

    Namaste,

    Quote Originally Posted by satay View Post
    Is 'Faith' necessary in a spiritual pursuit? Is it required for existence of God?
    To me spiritual pursuit means rising above my 'little self' in an attempt to connect with the divinity. With that understanding/definition, I have to believe in the existence of divinity/God, else what are we pursuing?

    Pranam.

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    Smile Re: Is 'Faith' necessary?

    Hello everyone.
    My personal opinion is that faith is not necessary in the light of spiritual pursuit, but it is important. Let's not have a categorical approach to this matter, instead, let's have a prototypal approach.

    A question put forth here:
    "I have to believe in the existence of God, else what are we pursuing?"
    We can pursue the self and end up discovering god and aquire faith.

    Faith is the not the raw material here for spiritual pursuit, I think it is a byproduct.

    You are out there heading inwards, you search, search and introspect and analyze yourself and through a moment of insight, it/she/he is revealed to you and develop faith.

    I mean, what good is a house without foundation? Introspection and experience(direct or indirect) is the foundation and faith is the ground floor.

    Let me give an analogy:

    I have full faith, I can fly(with no instrument, no parachute, etc.) and I jump off a cliff.
    The Eagle (healthy, normal, etc.)has full faith that it can fly and jumps off a cliff. who survives?
    I should develop faith by experience(I cannot fly) and Introspection(Hence, I need a parachute.)

    When I was first told "God is real." As a child, I accepted it, that is 'faith.'
    As, I grew, I doubted it. Then, I explored and resumed 'faith,' now I'll play with words and call it 'confidence.'

    This is what I hate that we as Believers do. Just because, we see someone has 'no faith,' we pounce on him(particularly the Abrahamics) labelling him an 'atheist' and forget that it could be 'a stage' before confidence. Quoting a lecturer who always used to tell my class: "If you have no doubts to ask me, you've either understood everything, or understood nothing, May I know which category you all fall?"
    ...and we'd just shrink in our seats... and he would do the whole topic again.

    now, I presented or dissected faith into child's faith(the eagle and the child), blind faith(I'll jump off a cliff, I can fly) and confidence. May I know which faith we're discussing about?

    Faith is a byproduct, not a raw material.
    I don't know who I am, nor what I am.
    I don't know what I need to know.
    I don't know who you are, nor what you are.
    All I know is that you love me, Oh Sarvathma.
    Lead me on the righteous path, so that I may reach you.

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    Re: Is 'Faith' necessary?

    Namaste,

    Thank you everyone for your views. For me too, given the definition of Faith in OP, I don't think Faith is necessary for spiritual pursuit. Only curiosity will do.

    Regarding the second question, God (if there is such an entity) would have to be completely independent, therefore, Faith is not required for God's existence. It just exists, with or without the existence of faith. If one believes in it or not blindly or otherwise would have to be completely irrelevant.
    satay

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    Re: Is 'Faith' necessary?

    Dear Satay.,

    What is the English word which is Belief that is based on proof? SD is build on that and do we call it science? or rational belief?

    But we very commonly use the word "Faith" but with the understanding of "Faith" based on Pramana or Proof! and the Vedanta is built on foundations of such Faith!

    Hare Krshna!

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