Faith and Action

Regarding faith, I want to make it abundantly clear that I separate faith from belief, as Bhaktivinode and Paul Tillich among others have done. I may change my beliefs or have no beliefs, but I still have faith as we all do. We all have faith in something, whether it is the nation, our shastras and gurus, our mattress or our sadhana. Something is our ultimate concern. The problem comes when we place our faith in things that are not truly ultimate, like the nation, the cult, the symbols we use for the ultimate mystery, rather than the mystery itself. There will always be some existential doubt that remains so long as we are embodied. Our sadhana is an act that entails our entire being and is an act of faith.

I was part of one religion, the United Church of Christ, that is non-hierarchical and has no creed or dogma. In it’s practical application, it is far from perfect, or I would still be with them. Yet, they do provide a model for me as I pursue Chaitanya Vaishnavism. I see organized religion as a real problem, but the fact is also, how does one even spread one’s teachings without some organization? I firmly believe in the separation of church and state, but can religion simply ignore the attrocities of government and remain silent? Can politicians not have a religious, ethical grounding that is not repressive? Where is this all leading, hopefully to a time when we are all enlightened enough to live without governments, corporations or religions.


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