Monthly Meditation

The difference between faith and belief

The Gate of Faith

"The Gate of Faith" - Sculpture © Daniel Kafri (1977)
(click to enlarge)
'We must not confuse faith and belief. Unfor­tunately, most people who think they have faith do in fact confuse the two. It is quite possible to hold beliefs, even religious beliefs, without actually having faith. To have faith is to know which seeds to choose and then to sow them within oneself so that they become magnificent trees and produce delicious fruit. If you have no harvest – or if you harvest nothing but thorns and thistles – it is because you are not yet a good ‘sower’, not yet one who has true faith.
To distinguish between faith and belief one needs certain criteria. The first criterion of faith is that it makes people better, more stable, more harmonious and more concerned for others. Also, it must be a process that is continually developing, like the tree in the parable, so that the birds of the air – that is, virtues and lumi­nous entities – come and nest in its branches.
Belief is ineffectual because it is something that comes from the outside, from the periphery of our being, and sooner or later it crumbles in the face of reality. Faith, on the other hand, comes from within, from the core of our being, and it is from there that it derives its efficacy. What a mistake, therefore, to imagine that faith is only good for people who are ignorant, naïve or slightly retarded, to think that to abandon such so-called irrational beliefs is a step forward in the evolution of humanity. On the contrary, faith is founded on knowledge of the laws, and what higher science is there than knowledge of the laws?
To have faith is to build one’s life on a firm foundation, because one knows the laws. Those who have faith sense that they are treading a clearly-defined path. They choose to follow this path because they have learned the truth of the law of cause and effect. And while they are busy building something strong and beautiful, they have no time for the stupid things people say or do all around them. All their attention is concentrated on the work they have undertaken, so that when difficulties arise, the results already obtained through that work give them the strength to overcome them. '

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