I only LOOK like I'm sleeping

Long accused of being narcaleptic, I'm secretly gathering all the information I need to take over the world!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Faith or Optimism?

I've always considered myself a person of deep faith. I am not a Christian, although I believe Jesus was a great teacher of tolerance (the irony here is that so many of his followers are intolerant). I don't actually "subscribe" to any religion. I ultimately believe in the basic tenants that underlie all religions. I also believe that at the end of the day all religions point to the same "being". Whether that being is God, Allah, Buddha, or the Goddess, I cannot say. Simply, I don't presume to be that into the loop to KNOW what the truth is one way or the other. I do believe that we see different manifestations because of the great diversity among people. What holds true in one mind is not the same in another. Anyway, I'm off my original topic. Let's just say I know everything that happens in life is for a reason. I know my life will work out the way it's meant to. I know that if I'm moving in a positive direction with my words and actions, my life path will unfold before me. I have unwavering faith in this.

I was having a conversation with a gentleman I work with the other day. Somehow we got on the topic of religion (did I mention he has invited coworkers to church?). I tried to explain my position, about my faith. He informed me I don't have faith, I have optimism. I started to think. And question. And worry. Is this gentleman saying that you must have religion in order to have faith? Maybe my definition of myself is skewed. Maybe all this time I held onto the fact I am a faithful person when really I'm just an optimist. Here are some of my thoughts on the matter:

First, I like to start with definitions. I still like getting my New World Dictionary, Second College Edition (1980!) off the shelf. I like books, and the dictionary is a wonderland of words.

Optimism: 1. a.) the doctrine held by Leibniz (huh?) and others that the existing world is the best possible b.) the doctrine or belief that good ultimately prevails over evil 2. the tendency to take the most hopeful or cheerful view or matters or to expect the best outcome

Faith: 1. unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence 2. unquestioning belief in God, religious tenets, etc. 3. a religion or a system of religious beliefs 4. anything believed 5. complete trust, confidence or reliance 6. allegiance to some person or thing; loyalty

Now, I don't deny that I am an optimistic person. I choose to look on the bright side of situations. I choose to believe in the good in people. The definition of optimism implies choice, when you "take" the most hopeful or cheerful view, you are choosing to believe one way or the other. The definition of faith however seems very clear that there is no decision or choice. You either have faith in something or your don't. Naturally this can apply to any number of things, people, situations or institutions. And you can most certainly have both.

That was easy. My sense of self is restored. I am faithful. I am optimistic. I'm back to me.



  • At 9:05 AM, Blogger Not So Anonymous Michelle said…

    I've noticed a lot of times those really religious people like to shoot down people that are not just like them...which really is not very "christian" is it? Hmmm...well anyway, I hold a lot of the same beliefs as you about the optimism, a belief in a higher power, faith and "everything happens for a reason"...that's the biggest thing, that my life will be as meant to be...so anyway, glad the dictionary helped you get back to your sense of self and don't worry about the co-worker dude.


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