Faith is a word I’m struggling with a lot lately.
Faith is a big thing in Christianity, in most religions, and in the many years I spent as a Christian, I had a lot of faith. Faith that God was listening, that God had a plan for me, that God forgave me when I did something wrong.
Faith is something that’s a lot harder from me as a Pagan, in a religion where a lot of people see the gods as removed and distant. But are they? Does my faith really have to be so different now?
The dictionary gives a multitude of definitions for faith:
- confidence or trust in a person or thing
I have faith that the gods are powerful and interact with people’s day-to-day lives, that they hear the prayers of those devoted to them and want to have meaningful relationships with humans.
- belief that is not based on proof
I can’t see the gods. I have no proof, other than my own personal experiences and interactions, that they exist, but I believe they exist.
- belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion
I have faith, not only that the gods exist, but that I am following a spiritual path with teachings that are moral, fulfilling, and bring meaning to the way I am living my life.
- belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.
Part of my goal of becoming more consciously spiritual this year is to study the ethics and values of my religion through the lens of Celtic spirituality. I am not living in a religion devoid of standards of behavior.
- a system of religious belief
I proudly identify as part of a Pagan faith, in which I’ve created community with others of similar beliefs.
- the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.
I am loyal to the gods and to the people I’ve engaged with because of my Pagan faith. I have made the promise to live my life in a way that honors the gods, to please them in the way I live my life and interact with other people.
- the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one’s promise, oath, allegiance, etc.
I work hard to keep my promises; I believe that oath-breaking is a terrible dishonor in the eyes of the gods I worship, and I believe it’s a terrible way to act toward other people. The promises I make carry weight, and a lot of it.
In Christianity, the idea of faith goes beyond believing in something you can’t see or following a book whose authors lived thousands of years before you were born. It encompasses trust in the things you believe in, that God and the things you believe will keep you on a path of morality, happiness, and fulfillment. People always say, “God has a plan. Have faith in God. God won’t lead you astray.”
I think that’s what I’m struggling with: feeling like the gods have a plan for me. I think they do, and I’m learning to give myself over to more trust and faith in them. Too many times, I’ve felt like my life was spiraling out of control, like there was nothing but chaos…and then, when I stopped worrying so much about everything, things fell into place so quickly and so perfectly, it was spooky. I think that is the gods working in my life, trying to wake me up and tell me, “Hey, we’ve got this.”
Faith is hard for a lot of people. It’s hard to believe there is purpose and order in what feels like life’s chaos. If the gods didn’t have plans, if they didn’t want a relationship with us, why would they call to us at all? Why do we have myths and stories and legends of gods interacting with people that span the ages and have survived time, place, wars, and religious conversions?
The gods are still here, and I’m working on my faith.