Essay

Faith and Belief [Essayistic Fiction]

Polemic is a mask to wear, as is critique of any kind, as is diatribe, tirade, letter to posterity, essay, personal, literary, critical . . . every essay is a work of fiction, one kind or another;things made, we understand, but also in the way all theories are in themselves fictional in more than one sense of the word. I wear have worn will wear many,many masks.

I.

I have faith in God, one man says; I have faith in the non-existence of God, another man might say but does not. There are devout monotheists; there are devout atheists. Both are persons of faith. A picture falling off the wall signals an impending doom, someone’s downfall, the demise of something, I’ve been told. The superstitions of my youth I no longer believe, but then, neither can I disprove them. To believe in the veracity or the falsity of this falling picture as a harbinger of doom, or of any superstition, shoes on tables, hats on beds, rocking rocking chairs with no one in them, all of these are based on faith–one degree or another is not essential. Any belief in them is a matter of faith. It’s interesting, though, how anyone of a particular faith can have so little respect or reverence for the faith of another when that faith is other than the one the former holds to be true. How God-like we become in our faith for God, in God; we do trust more than God, though. We trust our faith, although we carry a marked infidelity to that particular religion that holds our imagination. You do need imagination for faith, firstly, and to maintain it imagination must be engaged.

I suggest you read Sir Thomas Brown’s Relgio Medici, that is, if you are disposed to reading 17th treatises on religious toleration, particularly, in my opinion, because he makes more sense and says more intelligently what everyone needs to understand, particularly the Pakistani Muslim children in my building complex  who must have been taught by their parents to have no respect for western Christians or others because these children openly taunt and mock  western women and girls for how they dress. And this I do find disgusting as the children follow them with impunity, this horridly narrow minded orthodoxy, an example of intolerance–yes, Muslim intolerance–that cannot be tolerated–no hypocrisy in that. I cannot accept Fundamentalist Christian intolerance either. This current brand of Islamic Terrorism (not political terrorism that happens to be committed by Muslims) may or may not be the flip side of Fundamentalist American Christian responses to Pro-Choice issues like the right to choose a safe medical procedure when a woman wants an induced miscarriage or homosexual men or women want to legitimize their union with marriage. I do not actual ping-pong; I certainly do not like political ping-pong, or the ping-pong we play with religious dogmas, the result of which becomes deadly in the grossest and most grotesque manner when the metaphysics of these ping-pong playing religions meet.

Returning to the above childish outburst not so childish in its subtext or its origin–its cause. I do ask these children when I see them and hear them if that’s what their parents teach them to do, follow women down a street, if their parents teach them how to taunt western women for how western women dress?  I ask them if that’s why they left Pakistan, to colonize and force conversions on western Christians and Jews? And I do ask them this, to their plain  horror and trepidation at anyone fearlessly opposing them because there is virtually little to no tolerance for other in any Muslim society–Pakistan included. Any minority of other (or majority when the group is Muslim women) is always put in an inferior role socially, and tolerance is offered by Muslims in Middle Eastern societies so long as Christians or Jews or women or others do not have the effrontery to ask for or assert equality.

We have to try getting news from other than Al-Jazeera or the American Zionist Media in the cause of Israel Uber Alles in the Middle East; but then, this might be very, very difficult. I have little patience for the ping pong played by Al-Jazeera or Zionist Media;hop-scotch with the truth is another game we play in our media. To pay attention to them is like trading in diatribes or polemics, whichever one suits the sensationalist needs of the moment.

This fore mentioned opposition to Christians is even true in Muslim societies allegedly friendly to the United States like Morocco (although to a lesser extent than in other Arab Muslim countries), but certainly the rule in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Is it true in every instance everywhere in these countries? I would not suggest it is only because it would appear to be poor rhetoric. Christians have been brutalized in Pakistan and in other Muslim countries, repressed–this you could find in a media not controlled by the likes of Al-Jazeera or the Ashkenazi-Zionist controlled media in America that wants the image of Jews and only Jews beset by a horror as grotesque as the Nazis.

The virtual neo-Nazism perpetuated in Arab Muslim countries with their anti-Jewish curriculum in their schools, breeding from childhood an anti-Jewish subtext to virtually all social and political gestures and policies, is clear enough to anyone who wants to be honest that one of the biggest enemies of Arab Muslims in the Middle East is their own hatred of other, and their own penchant for corrupt politics that they cannot continue to blame on the west or former colonialisms. Do not imagine that ISIS is anything less heinous than the Nazis.

We are fickle in our faith. The lack of proof may have something to do with this. How can something we believe without proof maintain itself indefinitely? It can’t, can it?; or can it? It does. What would one have to have in order to hold fast to one’s faith indefinitely? A man or a woman need faith to survive a relationship, no? Trust of the kind necessary in love is in itself what the best kind of faith is. Without faith, which is what feeds the kind of trust we talk about when we say relationships need trust–there are no relationships worth speaking about. What is there without faith, personally, socially, politically, diplomatically? I think we see the results in the world. Yet, is there ever a time when faith is foolishly squandered?

The more we learn, the more we understand what we do not know. The more that we know we do not know only necessitates degrees of faith to continue living normally. Faith breeds trust. Trust breeds respect; mistrust is disrespect. With trust we see again the person we love; we see the love once more, gaining a view of not only who we love, but why we love. With trust born of faith we continue to engage life even though we do not know the future and cannot know the future. However, faith without reason is not even faith. A parrot parroting what has been spoken to him is not an act of faith, belief or reason.

It’s faith that Daniel walks into the Lion’s Den with. It’s faith that Job holds onto through his trials and tribulations. I don’t know if it is faith with which the Hebrews enter the partition in the Red Sea–the parting of the waters is proof. No one needed faith. Faith is necessary for belief when reason should raise doubt, at least doubt and not anxiety yet. But faith, once more, must not be allowed to displace reason. Is it faith that caused Muslims to raise the sword at their beginnings of Islam? What allowed Islam, of all the world’s religions, to be born of a militancy no religion in the world has ever had the audacity to begin with? No leader of any religion at its inception anywhere in the world ever raised the specter of death by the sword as did the Arabs out of the desert in the cause of their revelation.

He who lives by the sword–a baptism of blood that neither Judaism nor Christianity were born in. And this is not hyperbole, but litotes. And it does resonate in our world today for too many convinced of their own truth as the Truth itself. There are clear differences in what it means to be devout in each of the three great monotheisms born in what we used to call the Holy Land.

Do you condemn 1.6 billion Muslims for this? That would be absurd. Does the west have faith otherwise?  Do I have faith that the opinions of most Jihadists are not lurking in the hearts of most Muslims, although unsaid because they do not feel themselves secure enough to speak openly? I am still asking myself this question. I did not see enough opposition to Isis from Muslims before the resent Paris attacks–and that was dearth I saw absent in  Al-Jazeera. If there had been so, Al-Jazeera would have broadcast or published this as a means of garnering greater sympathy and support for Arab Muslim causes in the Middle East. Al-Jazeera, when it comes to news about Arab Muslims is the flip side of a Zionist Media and neither the twain shall meet in reason or rational newscasting.

Do Muslims have faith that the west is not set against them? Likewise, should I have faith that Islam is not set against the west? The latter seems pretty naive to me sometimes. My faith for this wanes quickly. As a Christian, I should live in peace with others, but I am not the man who turns the other cheek. Do I have faith that our President Obama is the right man to handle this cause for freedom and democracy–I certainly have no faith for the Republicans whose support from Christian fundamentalists makes me understand how religi0usly reactionary we are, which feeds right into how reactionary Muslim fundamentalism is. Yet again, I am waiting for a mass of Muslim moderates to speak out and I do not hear it, not enough of it for me to have faith that Islam is not set against the west.

Would we have had faith that the Soviets were set to live in peace with the west? Out of mutual survival we managed this peace. Or should I say, we managed a world scenario reduced in open conflict? That would also be absurd. There were no conflicts that did not have the stamp of Soviet/American conflict all over them. Has Islam replaced Soviet-Communism. Totalitarian Communism set against Totalitarian Capitalism now set against Totalitarian-Islamism. Gira, gira, the world goes round and round.

II

Faith leads to a kind of knowledge; ths knowledge is arational in as much as it re mains apart from proof as any positivist would agree is proof. However, the knowledge that proof leads a person to is not a rational knowledge in itself. The inferences of faith are rooted in the evidence of things not seen, if I can paraphrase Paul. Again, we are not talking about rational proof; rational proof in itself is material for knowledge, not in itself knowledge.

We must acknowledge that the atheist disbelieves in God on faith as well. He does not have proof of the non-existence of God. His so-called rational proofs for God’s non-existence are rooted in faith-based reason. There are always leaps in any atheistic logic when it comes to God. Aristotle’s prime mover does not have to be God or a god or gods; nor dos it have to be not-God. Any argument against infinite regression does not have to equal a creator. Yet, neither can the atheist reductio ad absurdum himself to an uncreated universe.

Faith is complete trust; faith is necessary to perpetuate belief in facts. Facts do need belief; all beliefs need faith. But in response to the Muslim children mentioned above who felt, who believed they could act with impunity and collectively openly taunt and mock and insult young women for how they were dressed is indicative of what a society ruled by Sharia Law would be like–I have no illusions that it would stop with childish insults, not when those childish insults could not have come from their supposedly innocent minds. Sharia Law has no place in America, anymore than does Nazism, fascism or Jim Crow. Sharia Law is not for America, nor is it for Americans, any American who wants to live in an open, tolerant, free and democratic society (but then neither is any form of Soviet bred politics for America or Americans). And yes, I do know that the Germans voted for the Nazis, which is what anyone choosing Sharia Law would be like.

Muslims are welcome, but their Sharia Law in place of or next to the Constitution of the United States is an enemy impulse, and if the President were serious about his oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, he would address how Muslims could live in peace in this society, which would be to address how Sharia Law cannot persist when it denies free and unimpeded access to the Laws of the land and rights guaranteed by the Constitution and/or Federal and State laws. Misogyny is not a religious freedom protected by the First Amendment.

Do I have faith in the Constitution? Yes, I do. But I also have Reason, and yes my post-post Structuralist friends, that is an enlightenment idea when raised to its upper case value. If we cannot speak of the once common idea that there is a universal human nature, because there is nothing natural to humans that is not culturally derived, then we can still speak of universal human rights irrespective of culture, otherwise we are speaking of a conflict of civilizations that are brought to the fore by a conflict of metaphysics which always have the result of a social or political matter and anti-matter meeting. Perhaps I need to have faith that American power will prevail in the cause of our Democratic Liberty through the barrels of our guns. Yes, my friends, ISIS cannot and should not be contained–it needs to be annihilated, not merely defeated. There must be no tolerance for any support of ISIS from any quarter of the world.  I have faith that dropping the gauntlet is necessary. We must make our cause clear and that calls for us to call Islamic Terrorism Islamic Terrorism, and not play hop-scotch with the idea that ISIS has more to do with Islam (which means submission, not peace) than we would like to admit in our most insipid political correctness.

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