Faith is not just for the religious

Faith is trust in an idea even when there’s no logical proof. It is often believed to be misguided because it does not depend on sensory evidence.

However, faith has accomplished wonders and continues to do so. Without it, no-one would ever take a risk or try anything original. To have faith that we can do something, even if there is no physical proof, empowers us to do it.

Faith is not just for esoteric types; Max Planck was one of many scientists who understand the value of faith. ‘Anybody who has been seriously engaged in scientific work of any kind,’ he wrote, ‘realises that over the entrance to the gates of the temple of science are written the words: Ye must have faith. It is a quality which the scientist cannot dispense with.’

Faith lies at the heart not only of science but also of spirituality. With faith, we allow ourselves to be guided by our intuition, do our best to lay down positive ‘causes’ each moment, and trust that the right effects will follow according to Universal Law.

‘There is no such thing as lack of faith. We all have plenty of faith, it’s just that we have faith in the wrong things. We have faith in what can’t be done rather than what can be done. We have faith in lack rather than abundance, but there is no lack of faith.’

 Eric Butterworth

©David Lawrence Preston, 19.1.2017

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How to Books, 2007

 

Christianity is not about good deeds but blind faith

Does Christianity help or hinder us realising our spirituality?

Spirituality is a deep appreciation of our non-physical essence coupled with an enriching process of personal growth and transformation.

In contrast, religion is a formalised set of beliefs and rituals presented within a formatted organisational structure. It’s an uncomfortable fact for those who like formality and ceremonials in religion that the Christian Prophet Yeshua (‘Jesus’) was not a huge fan of them.

Not long ago, a prominent former UK government minister presented a TV programme on the future of Christianity. During the programme, she debated with a Humanist. He argued, as a humanist would, that the whole basis of Christianity is fictitious. There are no gods, no angels, no devil and no miracles, and morality doesn’t depend on believing in these things.

‘Don’t you believe in love and forgiveness, and being kind to each other?’ she countered. He said of course he did, but that didn’t make him a Christian; all the great religions teach love, compassion, peaceful conduct and right living. Humanism does too. They’re largely common sense and do not need Christian theology to support them. And he’s right. Because it’s not these things that define Christianity. There’s a lot more to it than loving your neighbour and treating others as you would like to be treated.

JC

Even following the gospel teachings of Yeshua is not enough. It’s not even the point. Far more important for Christians is to believe certain things about him – who he was, how he came to Earth, his place in the Holy Trinity and what became of him after he died. The religion’s greatest apostle, Paul of Tarsus made this very clear: he wrote that if we have absolute faith in Yeshua’s death and resurrection, we take our place in the Kingdom of G_d. This, not one’s good deeds, is what distinguishes a Christian from a non-Christian.

© David Lawrence Preston, 25.8.2016

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Front cover 201 things

Balboa Press, 2015

Napolean Hill’s 12 Things That Make People Rich

I’m a huge admirer of Dr Napolean Hill, author of ‘Think and Grow Rich’ and ‘Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude’ and other titles in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. The principles he identified are as relevant today as ever. Every great achiever has applied them, consciously or unconsciously, in many areas of activity, not just business.

I didn’t always feel this way. When I first encountered ‘Think and Grow Rich’ at a student seminar in the 1980s, I thought this was just another work extolling greed as a virtue at whatever cost (we had a British Prime Minister in those days who did just that). It is far from that. Certainly he based his findings on a study of America’s  richest men and gave many examples of men (and yes, in ‘Think and Grow Rich’ it was always men) who made a great deal of money. But he also pointed out the consequences of mishandling it.

Of course some of the examples he used are of their time and conjure up an image of the American sales rep in old black and white movies trudging from door to door in pursuit of his next sale. But life moves on, and timeless principles remain timeless.

When you read carefully, listen to his sound recordings and watch many of the clips of him on YouTube, you quickly realise that Napolean Hill’s definition of ‘riches’ went far beyond the pecuniary kind.

Here’s Napolean Hill’s list of 12 things that make us ‘rich’ in the broadest and most meaningful sense of the term:

1. A positive mental attitude

There’s just no getting away from this, it’s the key to all health, happiness and success, and it can be acquired through proper self-training.

2. Sound physical health

Worth some effort (good diet, exercise, relaxation etc.) don’t you think? It’s hard to feel good if your health is poor.

3. Harmony in human relations

Few people enjoy a happy life if they don’t get on with others and, again, most of the skills required can be learned and practised.

4. Freedom from fear

Fear is the great restrainer and demotivator, and at the root of all negative emotions.

5. The hope of future achievement

We live in the ‘now’, spurred on by the hope that our efforts will come to fruition if we persevere.

6. The capacity for applied faith

‘Faith’ in this context does not mean religious faith, but an ongoing sense of trust that if we apply the principles diligently our efforts will be rewarded.

7. Willingness to share one’s blessings with others

The Law of Attraction dictates that when we act from a consciousness of selfishness we attract the consequences of selfishness (our own and other people’s); and when we share what we have with no thought of return, others share with us too.

8. To be engaged in a labour of love

Like writing these blogs, for instance.

9. An open mind on all subjects towards all people

This requires non-judgement of others, empathy and a willingness to listen, all skills that can be developed.

10. Complete self-discipline

I suspect this is where most of us fall down. Self-discipline demand commitment, delayed gratification and good habits of thought, word and action.

11. Wisdom with which to understand people

Wisdom requires much more than knowledge, it is discernment, and comes mainly with experience and knowledge intelligently applied.

12. Financial security

Financial security is an attitude of mind – that we have enough for our needs, enough to treat ourselves, plus a little extra for a rainy day. Contrary to the popular impression, Napolean Hill listed financial security at no. 12, because it is not so much the aim but the consequence of the other eleven.

So there we have it, not so much a formula for riches, but for happiness, peace of mind and contentment.

Why not go through this list and honestly appraise your current state of being against each criterion? Then consider what you can do to improve (or rectify) any of the criteria where you feel lacking. You’ll find it very instructive.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 9.5.2016

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