Religious faith, for me, consists in a trust relationship with the universe. Faith is a way of opening the door to the possibility of certain good things. And so, through faith, I open the door to the possibility that life in general (and my life in particular) is worth living. Through faith, I open the door to the possibility that there is a unique purpose for my life either to be discovered or created or both. Through faith, I open the door to the possibility that I can dwell richly and meaningfully in this world, in the midst of joy and sorrow.
Through faith, I open the door. Better this, than for the door to remain closed and to disconnect myself from such existential possibilities.
In this way, I invite experiences into my life–of God, of beauty, of forgiveness. Naturally, my intellect responds with ideas about what is happening, and specific beliefs form. Yet faith as trust is always deeper than belief, and is in fact the necessary condition for their gradual improvement and evolution over time.
Faith seeks understanding, in the same way that the love you feel towards another person moves you to want to get to know them better. Fides quarens intellectum. (For more information about this way of relating faith and understanding, see http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/anselm/#FaiSeeUndChaPurAnsThePro)
I don’t want to begin the spiritual journey with a head already full of conclusions. I don’t want closures, terminations, and endings crowding my brain when I am just beginning. I want the kind of faith that can open the door and send me in the direction of greater wisdom and peace in life. I want the kind of faith that amounts to love of life, life affirmation–TRUST.
Interestingly, this resonates with what Faustus Socinus believed. Faustus Socinus lived in the 16th century, and he was one of the key founders of the Unitarian movement in Europe. “Socinus,” writes George Beach, “insisted that faith, as trust and confidence in Christ, is to be distinguished from another form of faith that consists in assent to the truth of Christ’s words and promises. Justifying faith is not ‘right belief; (orthodoxy) but trust and confidence, a ‘believing in.’