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by David Truman

The idea of faith means much more than religious faith, or spiritual faith. Faith operates in many forms and plays an essential but little-recognized role in ALL areas of life. Without a doubt, the earthly works that are most consequential and transformative are the fruits of faith seeds.
Strong faith can raise you up to a great dizzy height or it can cast you down into the gutter, and it can twist your entire life into shapes unthinkable -- all without you having any idea why any of that is happening. But when rightly harnessed, this is the very same power that you need when you have mountains to move.
The principles by which faith operates can be readily understood. Once understood, faith belief can be quite reliably deployed in the service of humanity -- AND Divinity.
Life control via conviction control
CONVICTION is the magic behind ALL forms of faith -- religious, spiritual, or otherwise. When our faith consists of a living and present belief, held with real credence -- as opposed to mere intellectual opinion -- it is a formidable force to be reckoned on; a power with which to deal with real life; a source of causation and change, both within and without.
The power of conviction -- which is the power of expectations and self-fulfilling prophesy -- is in the hands of every man and woman. And every one of us uses that power EVERY SINGLE DAY. The key to having control over these powers, and over our own fate in life, is to have control over what we believe, and how strongly we believe it.
Here are three different beliefs:

I know I can.

2. I think I might be able to.

I know I can't -- and I never could even if I tried.

Quite obviously, each of those statements expresses a particular FAITH, ranging from positive to negative, each with very different EFFECTS. Exactly how positive or negative the effect will be is a direct function of the POWER of the conviction.
All STRONG faith is highly effective, for better or for worse. And conversely, all weak faith is relatively ineffectual.
Real effectiveness in the use of faith rests on only two factors:

Believing ideas that support favorable outcomes.

2. Removing belief from ideas which don't support favorable outcomes.
Faith and reason
Interestingly, faith doesn't have to be RATIONAL to be effective and beneficial. Many people find fault with religious or spiritual faith because they associate it with irrational and unreasoned beliefs -- and even, at times, with fanaticism. In some cases, the criticism may be valid.
Legitimate critiques of aberrances of religious faith
It is legitimate to criticize religion when it asks believers to accept irrational, counter-intuitive doctrines when those doctrines serve to promote excessive and unnecessary divisions among men. And, it is legitimate to question religion when belief in salvation doctrines encourages the spirit of righteous complacency among the believers, and thereby reduces responsible effort at self-betterment. In such cases, there is no "redeeming spiritual purpose" for demanding the suspension of rationality -- and the effects of irrationality are spiritually detrimental.
Rationality and irrationality in spiritual faith
However, in the bigger picture, the critics of religion cite irrational uses of faith as a way of discrediting all spiritual faith -- a conclusion that is not justified. We cite three facts to address such claims:
1. Spiritual faith is not incompatible with rationality. Generally, mature spiritual faith does not depend on beliefs without experiential or intuitive basis. It has no need for arbitrary doctrinal notions which require of their adherents the suspension of rational thought. Instead, mature faith invests credence only in beliefs which ring true with direct insight into essential spiritual realities, and with direct experience of the obvious operation of spiritual principles -- and which inspire, on that basis, reasonable intuitive confidence.
2. At times, taking an "irrational" view may be the most logical and rational course for real world problem solving. There are times when purely rational approaches to solving a problem or meeting a challenge are inadequate. Consequently, where rationality leaves off, faith sometimes carries on.
Example: A nervous child taking her first airplane flight alone is given a "magic happy bear" to carry on board. Her mother tells her, "Take this bear and keep it with you on the plane. If there is a disturbance of any kind or if you feel unhappy for any reason, talk to the bear. It will make you happy again!"
Was the mother's solution rational? NO! Did it work? YES! So you see, faith, spiritual or otherwise, can makes good use of irrational or counter-intuitive beliefs. It can employ such beliefs to accomplish objectives that both the lower mind and the higher mind hold dear.
3. Implausible faith can produce real world results. Faith in "things unseen" may also, at times, be faith in things unreasonable, bizarre, counter-intuitive even, certainly counter-rational and counter-scientific. But such is the real miracle of faith: that it can cause the unlikely -- even the apparently impossible -- to BECOME fact.
Great visions of great visionaries have become realities even when skeptical people and rational people alike had their doubts. This is the kind of faith that not only creates wonders of the world, but also makes it possible for people of lesser genetic gifts to become Olympic champions. The same kind of outrageous faith has enabled severely handicapped individuals to beat the odds for recovering functionality; has settled conflicts that had endured for generations; has created revolutionary ideas, products, and social movements. HOW faith did so in each instance may not be rationally explainable; THAT it did so cannot be rationally denied.
Even counter-intuitive faith beliefs can sometimes produce significant gains
We said earlier that mature faith relies primarily on beliefs that resonate with the experience and intuition of the faithful. However, the road that leads to genuine intuitive awareness may, in some cases, include a healthy dose of counter-intuitive thought.
For example, consider the belief in a vengeful God, the Father will punish you if you don't behave in a certain way. That idea is counter-intuitive. Most people intuit, on the basis of their limited personal experience of the Divine presence and influence in their life, that God is not vengeful, but rather, compassionate and forgiving.
However, paradoxically, the belief in a vengeful God may in time strengthen a believer's intuition. People who have become accustomed to immoral ways of being and action live with a guilty conscience, which makes them too thick, defensive, and mental to intuit virtually anything. But when, under threat of Divine retribution, they take to the path of improved moral action, the weight of guilt starts to lighten. Eventually the person is liberated from that burden, and therefore freed to actually intuit God nature and many other things authentically.
Thus, even though mature spirituality may resist the counter-intuitive idea of the vengeful God, it applauds the fact that such a counter-intuitive idea could liberate human beings in a very effective way from patterns of living that hurt their spiritual sensitivity. Ultimately, it is only after regaining the use of their own spiritual sensitivity and intuition that people may mature in their faith by personally validating spiritual faith-convictions.
Faith for creative potency in life
Faith is the missing link in most people's experience of creative power and control. Without faith -- or without a conscious appreciation of the power of faith, and actual skill in its use -- a person lacks control over creative potency, in virtually any area of life.
Faith is the greatest power on earth, yet many people overlook it, and therefore exercise the power of their faith-convictions in unintentional ways to their ultimate detriment. It behooves human being to learn about faith, the greatest power on earth, and learn to use it for the good.

by David Truman

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