The White Robed Monks of St. Benedict
Belief, Faith, and Knowing
Hello and a greeting of Peace and Joy to you and yours.
The following information is just that-information. Some might choose to make this information into dogma, a doctrine or body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church (Webster's). If anything, the information represents only a possibility in the forming a belief structure. Some people might believe part, whole, or none. Others might simply acknowledge general agreement with the information; others, general disagreement. Again, please remember: the intention of the following is only to provide information--nothing more, nothing less.
Regarding faith and belief--some have faith and belief, others have no faith and no belief. The shared meaning element of both is an assent or act of assenting to something offered for acceptance. BELIEF may suggest mental acceptance without directly implying certitude on the part of the believer. FAITH implies certitude and full trust and confidence in the source whether there is objective evidence or not" (Webster's). Some people want or need to have faith and belief, others have no such want or need. Yet for others, belief and faith is not an issue.
Faith and belief imply the existence of ignorance, lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified (Webster's). In matters of religion, the thing specified is God, by any name. Because some lack knowledge and comprehension of God, they tend to build a belief structure that explains the unexplainable and incomprehensible, perhaps reducing the whole holy issue to mystery.
The information herein requires neither faith nor belief. It might only signal that one be aware that faith and belief exist, created by the human mind to explain that which it senses it cannot understand--or so it believes.
The information herein rests in knowing. Knowing has two senses, transitive and intransitive. In the sentence I know mathematics, know is transitive. The action of knowing passes from the subject (I) through the verb (know) to the object (mathematics). The sentence I know God is transitive, stating dualistic thinking of a subject (I) and object (God). It is in dualistic knowing that we humans have waged religious wars, killing others according to our thoughtful-conception of who or what God is or is not. The information herein rests not in dualistic knowing: if I am right, then you are wrong.
The information herein rests in intransitive knowing. Intransitive knowing has no object. Intransitive knowing is pure subject, without mediation of mind or cognition. We know. I know. When we are silent (Be still and know that I am God Ps45.10), we know. (Please read: Zen and The Birds of Appetite, Thomas Merton, OSCO. Boston: Shambhala, 1993.) When we take full and absolute responsibility for our integrity (wholeness, holiness), we not only know, we also know that we know--unconditionally and with full and absolute personal and positive regard. How is this possible? Ironically, we know by knowing that we do not know. We have emptied ourselves of our dualistic knowing. We have engaged in the Christian theological notion of kenosis, emptying.
Learning, transitive knowing, rests upon the assumptions that we may not know and that we may not know that we do not know. Being human there are some things we must first learn that we do not know so that we can know. In other things we confuse ourselves by thinking, thinking we do not know. Thus we must learn only to find out that we did know in the first place. Sometimes we must have faith and belief only to find out that we do know. Thus, faith and belief become non-issues. So, just read and enjoy, know, dance and be merry, quiet and be still.
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Point of Departure: Contemporary Catholics
White Robed Monks of St. Benedict
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San Francisco CA 94127-0536 USA
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Copyright © 1996 White Robed Monks of St. Benedict