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Author Topic: how do you build faith?  (Read 955 times)

pcircle85

how do you build faith?
« on: April 27, 2017, 10:44:28 am »
Greetings all,

I am obviously very new to paganism and Wicca. I've attended a non-denominational Christian church my whole life and just never grasped the concept of faith. Christianity says "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" well I've heard it for 32 years now and I still have no faith.

As I'm reading and researching and learning about Paganism/Wicca, I ask myself, and all of you, how does one build faith?

Jenett

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Re: how do you build faith?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2017, 12:44:55 pm »
Quote from: pcircle85;205556

As I'm reading and researching and learning about Paganism/Wicca, I ask myself, and all of you, how does one build faith?

 
So, here's the thing: a lot of different Pagan paths (conflating Paganism and Wicca here is going to complicate things for you) don't care about faith. Many of them are orthopraxic - joined by shared practices, rather than by shared beliefs.

People certainly do have beliefs, but it's quite common to have people in the same ritual (even in small religious witchcraft traditions with very specific shared practices and cohesive training, and all sorts of other similar things) who have very different attitudes about the nature of deities, whether there are deities in the first place, how the world got into being, what that means, and all sorts of other things. Instead, the focus is a lot more on 'what are we doing together'.

This is a really hard thing for a lot of people coming from Christianity to get their heads around, because so many of the different denominations and churches really hammer the idea of faith hard.

Obviously, there are places where practices don't make a lot of sense if you don't also believe (or are at least open to believing) certain things, within Paganism, but there's also a lot of space for what's sort of a spiritual placebo effect: I am doing this thing, it makes me feel better / helps me understand something better or differently / feels good in ways that aren't a problem for others, okay, let's just do the thing and see what happens.

A lot of people who remain Pagan in some form after initial exploration often do have really deep and meaningful experiences that lead to faith, or strong belief, or something else like that. But lots of people don't, too. (If you're curious about this, a question about why people became or remained Pagan after their initial choice might be an interesting thread!)

Here's one other thing for you to chew on, possibly: in Greek (including New Testament Greek, so the language the New Testament was written in), faith is a verb, not a thing you have. You faith.

There are all sorts of implications about 'acting as if' (a term that turns up in magical workings) that aren't really present in how the English language talks about faith. Many Pagan paths put more influence on 'what are you doing about that, then' than just what's inside your head.
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Abigail

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Re: how do you build faith?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2017, 01:06:23 pm »
Quote from: pcircle85;205556
Greetings all,

I am obviously very new to paganism and Wicca. I've attended a non-denominational Christian church my whole life and just never grasped the concept of faith. Christianity says "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" well I've heard it for 32 years now and I still have no faith.

As I'm reading and researching and learning about Paganism/Wicca, I ask myself, and all of you, how does one build faith?

Ok first: Holy Mother of synchronicities here!
I just talked about this subject with my better half last night, and I am probably going to be just as bad explaining it here.
If you at any point in the following have a "shut up already i got it after the first paragraph!"- feeling, please say so, my husband will be happy if he is not alone :p.

All jokes aside, I grew up in Christianity too, a very strict form of it even, it kinda obliviated my trust and faith. I was taught that every good thing comes from God and every bad thing is your own stupid fault, and I have had some bad bad things happen to me. So being told those were my own fault kind of killed my self confidence.

One thing learned in the years after is that it is really hard to build faith without trusting yourself, or being allowed to be yourself. Faith doesn't just come from a book. While books and spoken words are or can be a guide, inspration, a tool or for some a protocol, for me personally it has to come from within just as much.

What makes the difference for me is being "allowed" (or allowing myself) to be an active participant rather someone that just has to follow with no say in the matter.
Not sure if I am going to be making any sence here, but, when you say hearing doesn't work for you, it may be time to try another sense.

You can't hear food on a plate but you can smell it, taste it. You may not be able to hear that plant, but you can touch it and smell it. Etc etc.
Find what works for you.
If it isn't listening, it may be singing, if it isn't seeing, it may be touching instead, if it isn't smelling it may be tasting.

Allowing all my senses or my whole being to be part of the experience helps me picks up synchronicities, interpret "coincedences" and see them for the signs they may be instead.
That for me is a big part of building faith. Every small thing, every experience, is one thread in the canvas of my painting, or going back to food, one ingredient in a recipe.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 01:13:16 pm by Abigail »

MeadowRae

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Re: how do you build faith?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2017, 03:04:44 pm »
Quote from: pcircle85;205556
Greetings all,

I am obviously very new to paganism and Wicca. I've attended a non-denominational Christian church my whole life and just never grasped the concept of faith. Christianity says "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" well I've heard it for 32 years now and I still have no faith.

As I'm reading and researching and learning about Paganism/Wicca, I ask myself, and all of you, how does one build faith?


Nice to see another pagan person from WV. :) Like Jenett said, a lot of paganism is about practice, not faith. I like to think of it as a spiritual community. We are all different, but we agree on how to treat each other and the types of things we like to do together.

The thing I like about my path is that I don't have to prove my version of god(s) to anyone, ever. One of my favorite quotes on the subject:

"He (Baruch Spinoza, the guy who coined the term Pantheism) has no need to prove the existence of God. For him existence is God." -J. W. Van Goethe.

I grew up Fundamentalist Christian as well, and I remember a lot of focus on what happens after death and what will happen to earth in the future. In many versions of Paganism, there is a hefty focus on the present. Where is god now? On the flip side, where *isn't* god now?

I'm not advocating that your path look like mine; I'm just saying that you are allowed to have these thoughts within paganism. They aren't looked down on and no one is going to throw you out of the club. And, at least on this forum, if you decide it isn't for you, you're still welcome.

Sorry if that was a bit rambly; it's been a long day/week.

pcircle85

Re: how do you build faith?
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2017, 01:17:40 am »
Quote from: Jenett;205559


This is a really hard thing for a lot of people coming from Christianity to get their heads around, because so many of the different denominations and churches really hammer the idea of faith hard.


 
Wow! Thank you so much for your insightful reply. This is all very new for me, but so far all that I've read just continues to intrigue me. I am constantly stuck on trying to make Pagan fit my idea of religion I have to remind myself that this isn't Christianity and I needn't feel ashamed.

Quote from: Abigail;205560


 So being told those were my own fault kind of killed my self confidence.



Boy this right here struck home. I was just talking with a friend of mine and he said just that. All he ever got from Church was guilt and shame and it just kills your self confidence and self worth.

Quote from: MeadowRae;205561


Nice to see another pagan person from WV.



I am glad I am not the only one in the state. I'm sure as I go deeper I will certainly meet more and more Pagans in our little overlooked state. I hope to, anyway.

Thank you for mentioning Goethe! I did some Googling and found a lot of interesting information surrounding him and Spinoza. I particularly like when Einstein was asked if he believed in God:

"I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists."

You are right that Christianity is constantly focused on the afterlife and the hell on earth that comes in the endtimes. I want to focus on the here and now. I want to worship and pray to the here and now, to the deity within. That's what I want to get out of Pagan.


Thank you all for your very well thought out replies. I look forward to getting to know all of you.

pcircle85

Re: how do you build faith?
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2017, 01:30:04 am »
Quote from: MeadowRae;205568


The thing I like about my path is that I don't have to prove my version of god(s) to anyone, ever. One of my favorite quotes on the subject:


 
Follow up thought. I had never actually heard of Pantheist Paganism and after some light Googling I am very intrigued. I love the concept of earth-based, naturalistic spirituality. The thought that God is within us and everything, if I'm understanding it correctly. If not, please correct me!

MeadowRae

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Re: how do you build faith?
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2017, 08:55:24 am »
Quote from: pcircle85;205597
Follow up thought. I had never actually heard of Pantheist Paganism and after some light Googling I am very intrigued. I love the concept of earth-based, naturalistic spirituality. The thought that God is within us and everything, if I'm understanding it correctly. If not, please correct me!

 
I'm so glad I could help! :) In a nutshell, you are correct. When you get down into the nitty gritty a lot of people will split Pantheism into two separate "isms"

-Panentheism: God is in everything

-Pantheism: Everything is god.

The way I like to think of it (and someone correct me if I'm totally off base here) is that as a Pantheist, I basically believe in the Force. Whereas if I was a Panentheist, I would basically believe in the Holy Spirit.

Personally I don't stress about the differences between the two too much, as I fall somewhere in the middle. I just call myself Pantheist because it seems to make things a bit easier in my head.

Best of luck on your path! :)

ehbowen

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Re: how do you build faith?
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2017, 09:54:14 am »
Quote from: pcircle85;205596
Boy this right here struck home. I was just talking with a friend of mine and he said just that. All he ever got from Church was guilt and shame and it just kills your self confidence and self worth.

You are right that Christianity is constantly focused on the afterlife and the hell on earth that comes in the endtimes.

Depends upon whom you talk to.


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Cinder

Re: how do you build faith?
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2017, 11:41:19 am »
Quote from: pcircle85;205556
Greetings all,

I am obviously very new to paganism and Wicca. I've attended a non-denominational Christian church my whole life and just never grasped the concept of faith. Christianity says "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" well I've heard it for 32 years now and I still have no faith.

As I'm reading and researching and learning about Paganism/Wicca, I ask myself, and all of you, how does one build faith?

I was raised Catholic and was taught that I must have faith, but not only was I too young to truly understand that (I thought God would punish me in the here and now if I didn't faith hard enough), I never really connected with the religion or God. It made me realize that it's really hard to force yourself into faith.

So I have to say: finding that thing that just clicks with you. That makes you wish you had heard of it years ago.

Once you've found it, take baby steps in practicing it. I felt really silly when I first started making offerings to the Kemetic pantheon. After a while though, that went away and I felt more meaning within the action.

To me, faith is built in the small daily (or weekly) actions.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 11:42:22 am by Cinder »

MabSolana

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Re: how do you build faith?
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2017, 02:54:11 am »
Quote from: pcircle85;205556
As I'm reading and researching and learning about Paganism/Wicca, I ask myself, and all of you, how does one build faith?

 
To me faith is built everyday by study and experiences.
Not only study on Wicca, but other religions as well. When I have a question that I can not find the answer to either from another person, or book, I meditate on it.
I am lucky to have a mentor witch and her son who is also learning too. I find that learning with someone else helps me a great deal.

Best of luck!
β€œAt heart we are all powerful, beautiful, and capable of changing the world with our bare hands.”
― Dianne Sylvan, The Body Sacred

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Re: how do you build faith?
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2017, 11:56:54 pm »
As I'm reading and researching and learning about Paganism/Wicca, I ask myself, and all of you, how does one build faith?

Me and the concept of faith have had a really weird relationship. When I was a christian, it was about "this must be the truth because all other christians say so, and some had spiritual experiences from it." After I left christianity and turned to learning about Paganism, it became "I don't know if this is true or not, but I really feel like I need to believe something because it makes me feel better, so I'll probably believe in this." Which, I feel like, is a totally acceptable way of thinking, as mentioned above. What turned into faith was when my Mother Goddess, The Morrigan, gave me incredibly powerful visions, messages and conversations, along with Her and Brigid giving me a few signs along the way.

So for me, my faith comes from my spiritual experiences, but really, I feel all one needs to have faith is just a thought that maybe something or someone is out there. Wherever that thought leads them to is as equally valid a faith as anyone else's, no matter what kind of experiences they have.

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Re: how do you build faith?
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2017, 11:53:42 am »
Greetings all,

I am obviously very new to paganism and Wicca. I've attended a non-denominational Christian church my whole life and just never grasped the concept of faith. Christianity says "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" well I've heard it for 32 years now and I still have no faith.

As I'm reading and researching and learning about Paganism/Wicca, I ask myself, and all of you, how does one build faith?

For me, it is an emotional and mental connection. Once I connect to a deity, I know they are always there, for as long as I wish to work with them. I don't have to question their existence because I know they exist, because I can feel or sense them. Faith isn't anything I think about much any more, because its something I live and do, and its just second nature. For me anyway! I'm also empathic and highly sensitive, so these things might come easier to me.

Ecco

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Re: how do you build faith?
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2017, 05:04:37 am »
Greetings all,

I am obviously very new to paganism and Wicca. I've attended a non-denominational Christian church my whole life and just never grasped the concept of faith. Christianity says "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" well I've heard it for 32 years now and I still have no faith.

As I'm reading and researching and learning about Paganism/Wicca, I ask myself, and all of you, how does one build faith?


I was raised Baptist and even though I was drawn to paganism in my early tweens, I felt that I had to hide it from my family, and at worst, to end it all together or god might actually smite me.  As a child, when you hear about all of the punishing god was up to in the old testament, it definitely sets a fear in your bones, like the thought of a hurricane running a muck through town, and you just pray that it will pass you by.  But when I was seventeen, I made the choice to be atheist as I became more knowledgeable  of science and the history of our planet. I considered it my "cleansing of the spiritual palette" if you will so that I essentially hit the reset button on faith and belief.  When I returned to paganism in my early twenties, there were parts of it - especially the belief in a god or gods in the all powerful creator sense - that just didn't set well with my science oriented frame of mind. But that's when I moved away from obsessing on theology and "facts" about divinity and the occult and simply focused on personal experience. It doesn't really matter one hillabean to me if my trance work or magic is "fact" or not, what matters is the experience, and how I have moved and changed through it.  My faith comes from actual moments of experiencing and not from so overarching doctrine of belief.

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