To believe, to have faith and to know

OED definitions:

of BELIEVE:  accept as true; as speaking truth; think; suppose.

of BELIEVE IN:  have faith in the existence of; feel sure of the worth of

of FAITH: reliance, trust: belief in religious doctrine; loyalty, sincerity

of KNOW: have in one’s mind or memory; feel certain; recognise; be familair with; understand

I am not sure how the dictionary definitions are going to be of much use here but then I did use the OED popular version. I was talking with my husband about issues of faith and what the difference was between faith and belief and we came to an interesting conclusion that dictionary definitions notwithstanding, they are not the same thing at all. Someone can believe in God(or the Universe) but not have faith in him. And as for  know, well it all came unravelling even further.

To me(and in the end, that’s what a blog is about, being able you share one’s own thoughts and opinions) I don’t have to believe in something I know. For example, I know that the speed limit in my street is 30 mph. I don’t believe it: I know it. It’s a matter of fact, not opinion. I know that the elephant is the world’s largest land mammal alive on earth at the moment; this is not up for dispute, it’s a simple fact. The fact that larger mammals live in the sea is not part of the statement, or that larger creatures used to live. I don’t BELIEVE that the elephant is the largest land mammal: I KNOW it. This is what makes me such a curmudgeon about matters of belief, because so many matters attached to belief are actually matters of facts, of information: of dates and times and names and so on. When the Christian church was founded, what languages the Bible had been translated from and to, the problems with damaged and missing texts, the issue of ancient agendas (example: until Constantine(I think, but do correct me if I am wrong) reincarnation was an accepted sideshoot of doctrine, but this didn’t suit politics at the time, because peasants who thought they’d go to Hell for ever after ONE life alone were more malleable) and of cultural issues of the times (example: St. Pauls insistance on keeping women submissive was purely a product of his culture. The whole issue of women covering their heads was down to the fact that at the time only prostitutes went bareheaded in public: ergo a matter of decency and not of doctrine) These are some things that I KNOW about the early church and while they’re up for interpretation to some degree, they’re not up for denial. There are whole churches that base their treatment of women on St Paul’s letters; in all honesty, I feel the poor man would be horrified at this. I think also thisis why Jesus never wrote anything down; and the fact that the four gospels have differing accounts of the events of Jesus’ life is simply an illustration of differing witness accounts, that phenomenon that bamboozles cops everywhere. There are other gospels that are not canonical that tell marvellous(and probably totally fictional) accounts of Jesus’s boyhood. I have a copy of a translation of the Gnostic gospels that makes entertaining reading if nothing else!

The thing is for me that we are beings of mind, body, spirit and soul and I hate to see people abandon or neglect one at the expense of the others. Healing is about wholeness and balance and when we neglect one aspect of our being we invite not only imbalance but illness.