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September 22, 2011, Thursday

On faith

In the modern world a central authority plays the role of the traditional sultan, however, unlike the sultan, it does not take an explicit position with regard to religion; it converts the authentic and legitimate defining framework of religion into something else. It is useful to take a look at how it does this.

Everyone, including people who take their religion’s practices and precepts on life’s complicated aspects, as well as their religious identity, very seriously, take action to actualize their existence and attain those goals they consider important. Everyone is a social creature, including religious people. They are concerned about the social, political, individual, public and economic fields of activity. And they have every right to educate their children and themselves, participate in cultural life, interact with others and join in artistic activities from their own perspective.

If faith is part of the conscience and the soul, and if the main paradigms defining a person’s worldview constitute the core of his mind, then a person is present with his soul and his mind wherever he is. When you change your position and place, you do not leave your memory, intellect, or understanding of existence behind you. Of course a person’s thoughts and beliefs may change; however, this happens within the inner world of the individual. As Rudolf Bahro notes that nothing can continue as it used to once its heart is changed; if one’s thoughts and ideas change, so does one’s lifestyle. It is possible to make recommendations to someone, but what really matters is the change in his soul and mind. A person acquires new ideas once he perceives, understands, analyzes and distinguishes.

From this perspective, we cannot expect a person to adopt an attitude independent of his spiritual and mental experiences when he is in a certain material, cultural and psychological position, because it would not reflect his ontological reality. Otherwise, he would effectively suffer from some sort of schizophrenia. If the Cartesian assumption of modern culture does not seek to make the religious man schizophrenic, it cannot ask him to keep his faith in his conscience alone. Since the day when the spiritual and metaphysical arena was assigned to faith and the physical and scientific field to the mind, a conflict has existed within the spiritual personality of man, where the two exist together, rather than between faith and the mind.

When the modern understanding views religion and faith as a matter of individual conscience, it assumes that the mind, arguably able to render decisions on all political, social and public affairs, is not influenced by external factors. We all know that this is not the case, and that the mind considers the peripheral factors for better analysis before acting upon its findings. To imagine a human mind independent of faith, historical and traditional assumptions and cultural remnants is impossible. This idea has nothing to do with the reality of the mind. The mind is under the influence of culture, history, society and the self, which has the power of generating inner mobilization. Obviously all these influences are intertwined with religion and faith. When a person relies on his mind to respond to a material, social or cultural situation, or to draw the map of his world of existence, he takes action under the direct or indirect influence of faith and makes his decisions accordingly.

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