One of the things that really irritates me about paganism in general is the fact that you can’t use the word “faith” without someone climbing all over you. It’s almost as if people, and by people, I mean pagans, think that the word only belongs in Christian, Islamic, and Jewish religions. And that’s something that bugs me so much, I can’t even formulate words to explain how irritating it is. When did we start drawing our metaphorical lines in the sand about words that we can and cannot use? Do we not practice religions? Do we not believe that they are real? Do we not cry in joy and in sorrow as other religious people do? Then, why is it suddenly taboo to utilize a word that encompasses everything that we do just as awesomely as it does when in relation to monotheistic religions?
The thing is that people tend to just think that faith is a word derived to only include monotheistic faiths, or at least that is the appearance. There are people who openly and actively scoff at people who claim to have faith. In some cases, scoffing could be warranted. But, it’s not our place to sit around and act high-and-mighty to pagans who are saying, clearly, “I have faith. I believe in things I can’t prove. I trust that they are real.” You can have issues with the things going on around you, whether your life is burning down around you or whether everything is going smoothly, but by sneering at someone who falls under the same umbrella category as you for having faith and saying so out loud? Well, honestly, that seems to me like not following the first rule of ma’at: don’t be a dick. And it also smacks a bit of jealousy and childishness.
Now, I will admit that there are a lot of people who cannot define the word or perhaps, do not understand the meaning behind the word. I can’t be the only person in human history who has had difficulty trying to convey the emotional level of believing in things that we will never be able to prove adequately to anyone but ourselves. I’ll admit, I’ve looked up the etymology of words for as long as I can remember because I like knowing where words come from. In this situation, I’ve done the same. And in this context, the word faith comes from the root, Latin word fider, which means to trust.
And if we aren’t putting our trust in the fact that all of these things we do and see and think and hear and believe and go to are real, then what the fuck are we doing? What are we actually doing in all of this anyway? What’s the point in having a religion if you don’t have faith? What’s the point in working with the gods, that you can’t prove, if you don’t have faith? Why are you bothering gods in the first place if you don’t have faith that they are real? Why are you going to the astral if you don’t have faith that you’re honestly going? Why are going talking with the fae and think you’re an otherkin if you don’t trust, just a little bit, that all of these things you are seeing and doing and thinking are real?
All of those questions? Everything I’ve just said?
In even thinking it, without having concrete evidence that it is real, then that is all faith.
One day, when I was trying to talk with TH about all of this, I couldn’t even define faith to him. I couldn’t explain to him that I just believed that I will meet up with my ex-Chistian friend in the next life and we will move on from our past hurts. I believe in reincarnation. I have no evidence that it is real. I have fragmented memories from a past that I do not currently own. But, being able to describe moments of someone else’s life isn’t proof positive in anything. It may just mean that, as a history major, I remember inane details. Be that as it may, I absolutely believe that it is as real as you and me and the couch that I’m sitting on. I have faith that these things will happen. And in that next life, I hope that I have the faith to believe in them again.
I could not, for the life of me, explain to him the emotional responses I get when I work with my gods in any context. If I think about it enough, I will begin to cry. It’s not that there is anything wrong with it or with me or with the work we do together, but that I have no words and it frustrates me enough to cry. This should tell people that I am exceedingly more devout than I make myself out to be. Surprise. Aubs has faith. Aubs believes fully in what she does and who she is doing it with. And surprise of all surprises (not least of all me), it actually hurts when people get up in arms when I start using the word “faith.”
I don’t think that things I am going through or working toward are for any other purpose than the Bigger Picture, aka living in ma’at. The art form that is maintaining ma’at, especially from a deity perspective, means that good shit and bad shit happens. It means that sometimes, you get the shaft end of the stick and lose your job. But, for whatever reason, it’s an act of ma’at and we are people who cannot question, but we must continue. If we want to prevent isfet from overtaking the world, then we sit down and shut the fuck up. We have faith in the fact that, while not good things are happening, then at least the Bigger Picture is maintained and that’s all that should matter to any of us who are Kemetic.
The world will go on.
Life will go on.
Psst. Believing that those things will go on?
That’s another act of faith.