Faith Vs Rationality

Most people that I know (more than 95%) have faith in their religion, or customs and practices. They tend to believe that their faith and customs are handed down to them from their parents, and have been in such transition for many generations. Some people I have spoken to have unassailable faith and more or less their lives revolve around their faith. May be in their religion, or may be in their chosen God.

It is good and important to have faith. Faith in something or the other. Faith on other human beings, at least. Faith in oneself.

Is Faith equal to Belief equal to Confidence ? More often than not, faith apparently gives rise to peace of mind and confidence in the manner in which one is proceeding in his or her own life. Faith concentrates the mind and the heart, creates one single cogent energy force within oneself, allows to focus in an intense manner, and improves one’s concentration, beliefs and confidence.

Won’t you agree with that assertion ?

Faith does not need to be directed towards God or religion. Faith in the basic goodness of human nature, while sometimes derided as childish assumption, is still a strong tenet of most peoples’ belief systems. While the clash of civilizations has led to some understandable disconnect in the way people look at each other, it is not inevitable that people deliberately choose to distrust one another. Of course, this assumption is dependent on the circles in which specific people move around. In a cultured, refined, developed society, it is implicitly assumed that the people one encounters are people with similar backgrounds, culture and refinement, unless proved otherwise.

I still believe that it is not necessary to “exhibit” faith in one’s own God or religion, to be able to insert oneself into a particular group. And, these days, it could even be a liability to do so. I don’t mean, for a moment, that one should discard one’s customary practices such as going to the temple, or church, or mosque or synagogue. While those practices can continue, the social networking cannot just be based on the “familiarity” aspect of folks who meet each other in such venues. In a particular society, it is still entirely appropriate to take people at face value for who they are, what background they have, what talent they have, instead of stereotyping people into buckets of isolationism.

I have learnt to be neutral in whatever pursuits that I undertake – meaning that I do not associate myself with any “group” that represents a stereotype of sorts. It has helped me in my personal and professional life to be a neutral entity with whom almost anything can be discussed. I call myself as “rational”, in the sense that I am an independent analyst. People gain from interations with me, so do I (in most transactions). I take an independent and rational view of things, not from an altar of high society, but from a position of non-partisan, thought-based, impartial approach. It is not that I do not have faith in anything. I do. I have faith in certain things, and lack of faith in other things. But I believe my confidence comes from the independent rational thinking that goes into whatever I do. I would not be dictated to by thousands of years of “practices” handed down from generation to generation. I would like to question the meaning and value of such traditions. My objective is to unify thoughts and people as much as I can, rather than divide people into buckets.

Well, it might sound like atheism, but it is surely not the same. If educated and refined folks like us do not go the extra mile to bring people together, who will do so ? The world is divided today due to a variety of reasons, mostly political, social, economic or religious; but also mostly due to segregation into groups of ideologies and faiths.

It is asking for too much, I know, but it is a small contribution to make to a larger cause. People of similar faiths are not programmed to save each other in a catastrophe and we know that. Unified people who build a lot of trust and value rational thoughts go towards building successful societies, not divided, segregated ghettos.

Something to chew on !


Vijay Srinivasan

27th March 2016


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