"If it's provable we can kill it."
Or, faith is the currency of the Spirit
Published on December 21, 2007 By EmperorofIceCream In Religion
This is not a rant about the materialism of the Christmas season - even though there's need of such a rant, since this supposedly 'holy' season has become nothing but one more holiday and an excuse for the grossest and most pathetic manifestations of greed. However, I'm not inclined to write it, not today. Instead it's a meditation relating to some of the similarities between faith and money.

It's been borne in upon me, over the last few months, that faith is a tool and not an end in itself. This is one of the Doctrines of Chaos that my wife first introduced me to, when we first began talking online. Needless to say, while I grasped the meaning of the individual words in the sentence 'faith is a tool and not an end', the sentence as a whole at first meant almost nothing to me. It has since, over these last few years, become a cornerstone of my beliefs, though its taken me a long time to grasp even a few of its implications.

Faith is a tool, not an end. An 'end' is a summation, a completion. And most people, when they find a faith, regard it as the 'end' of their seeking after meaning in existence. But not all people. Some, when they find faith, enter into a rapturous 'honeymoon' period in which their newfound faith is in every way sufficient - but, over time, find cause to question what they at first accepted both wholeheartedly and passionately.

I was and am one of those. I won't bore you with the details of the questions I began to ask, or with a recitation of the insufficient answers I received. Suffice it to say that those answers were insufficient, and that insufficiency started me down the road that leads to where I presently am.

Faith is a tool, not an end.

A tool is something used to achieve a purpose. A wrench is a tool. A hammer is a tool. A wrench exists in order to loosen or tighten things. A hammer exists to pound on things. In other words, the existence of hammers and wrenches is contingent. Contingent upon having things to hammer, and things to loosen or tighten. Without those other things there is no purpose to a wrench, and no purpose to a hammer. Money, currency, is also a tool. A tool for the expression of value in exchange. When you buy something you proffer the monetary value of a thing in order to purchase another thing. Money, especially paper money, has no real value in itself - it's simply the universally accepted means for the exchange of values.

In order to use money you don't have to understand anything about exchange rates, commodity prices, use-value, or absolute value. In other words, you don't have to understand how money works. All you have to understand is that everything has a price and that money is how that price is expressed. Faith, generally understood, is like currency. The dollar is money in America, and currency throughout the world. Christianity, on this analogy, is money among the Christians, but currency throughout the rest of the world, the rest of the world that accepts the general value of faith as something in itself.

But unlike real currency, a particular form of faith is not exchangeable outside the spiritual and intellectual milieu in which it evolved and to which it is native. You cannot, on most accounts of such things, be at one and the same time an Islamist and a Christian. They are mutually exclusive forms of spiritual 'money', though both are equally legitimate forms of spiritual currency.

Faith is a tool, not an end. I believe in currency, but I see 'money' as nothing but a tool to be used in order to achieve my objectives. "Christianity', 'Islam', 'Hinduism', 'Seikhism', 'Jainism', 'Zoroastrianism', 'Ritual Magick' - these are all forms of 'spiritual money' and all alike are accessible to the one who knows how to deal with them, as tools to achieve whatever end is desired by the one who engages in manipulation of them.

As an example, tomorrow night is the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, and an event recognised in all Solar Myths as a profound moment of change, of renewal and rebirth. I intend to perform Ritual tomorrow night, a Ritual which will engage with these profound concepts and turn them to my own use and advantage. In order to do so I will invoke certain of the Names of God that are known within the Christian tradition (with which I'm most at ease and most familiar). But I could just as easily and with as much faith invoke Names that are known in other traditions.

We all know that currency works to achieve our ends. We also all know that certain forms of currency work more acceptably in some places, and less acceptably in others. But they all work. Faith works too, and in just the same way. Should it be necessary, I can be a Christian in the morning, a Hindu in the afternoon, and Muslim in the evening.

Because all the gods are dead - and all the gods live forever.

Faith is a tool, not an end."

Comments (Page 1)
on Dec 22, 2007
I like your thinking, what you say about faith being a tool, not an end. I agree that too many people seems to just be satisfied with themselves once they've given their lives to Christ. It's like they stopped living, even though that new path is supposed to be about them living in a new and better way. Some people then find it hard to live the life that they have committed themselves to because they have made that declaration and commitment to Christ. Where did he ever say that we can't live anymore? Why does anyone who becomes a Christian have to even change their lifestyle in such a drastic way that they seem to be lost? I think it's the Christian ideal that messes with a lot of people's mind (no offense to those who follow these ideals).
on Dec 22, 2007
Thank you for your reply, fs. I posted this at the wrong time, really. Added to which, I'm now afflicted with whatever foul disease Sabrina brought back with her from her parents in Ohio, so I'm not feeling up to my best. I am, in fact, sick as a dog and shall be going back to bed (where I've spent most of the day) very shortly.
on Dec 24, 2007
one can make real any beliefs one chooses, including contradictionary beliefs.


Wouldn't this be the same for anyone who believes in whatever it is they believe in, just putting their mind to it can make it happen, without being a magikcian?


It is vain to seek solid ground on which to stand. Solidity is an illusion, as is the foot which stands on it, and the self which thinks it owns either is the most transparent illusion of all.


In essence life itself is an illusion? We could all be clinging to life in a big machine like the Matrix while someone creates our thoughts, lives and future for us, more or less! I'm having deja vu with this discussion! No bad on you of course. It's all interesting and I have more questions and opinions but it's late and I'll check back again!


Feel better soon Simon!
on Dec 24, 2007

I hope you and Sabrina have a wonderful Christmas this year, Simon!

on Dec 25, 2007
To: foreverserenity

All faiths are a form of Magick. Most 'magickians', in this sense, have no idea that their faith is an act of will which, when joined to the wills of their fellow-believers over time, create a spiritual reality that has an existence which is independent of their own existence. For two thousand or so years, Christians have believed in, worshipped, and sometimes died for, their 'Jesus Christ'. That makes 'Jesus Christ' a god-form, a spiritual reality that depends for its existence on the will and faith of its believers. I've never denied the reality of 'Jesus Christ': all I've denied is that 'Jesus Christ' is God.

And the reason that I deny that 'Jesus Christ' the godform is God is simple to understand - anything we can imagine as god is less than we are simply because we can imagine it. All the 'gods' that have ever been believed in are nothing but exaggerated reflections of ourselves. God, on the other hand, is always more than we are - and because It's more than we are It can never be anything except incomprehensible. "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the world and established it in its place?"

Or, as I saw printed on a totebag once, "The world owes us nothing. It was here first."
on Dec 25, 2007
"The world owes us nothing. It was here first."


Nice, with every bit of truth in it!



God, on the other hand, is always more than we are - and because It's more than we are It can never be anything except incomprehensible


I agree with your thinking here.


A magickian of this sort, when enaged in what they refer to as 'the great work' is simply seeking the conversation and knowledge of their holy guardian angel.


Intriguing and scary at the same time!
on Dec 26, 2007
Emperor,
I know we think likewise on religion for we are indeed sceptics and we think beyond the now and the common perceptions of man.We should converse more. Your use of Crowley's word "magickian" shows that you are also quite old-fashioned and think beyond basic magic. Great stuff.

To you and LW a peaceful season of cheer. I'll be quaffing vodka fuelled punch
on Dec 27, 2007
And the reason that I deny that 'Jesus Christ' the godform is God is simple to understand - anything we can imagine as god is less than we are simply because we can imagine it. All the 'gods' that have ever been believed in are nothing but exaggerated reflections of ourselves. God, on the other hand, is always more than we are - and because It's more than we are It can never be anything except incomprehensible. "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the world and established it in its place?"


I agree with you here. Mark 13:32 clearly suggests that he cannot be fully G-D.

I look at Jesus as just one tiny aspect of G-D. Just like Vitamin D from the sun. Although Vitamin D has its importance in by no means defines the sun.

All faiths are a form of Magick. Most 'magickians', in this sense, have no idea that their faith is an act of will which, when joined to the wills of their fellow-believers over time, create a spiritual reality that has an existence which is independent of their own existence. For two thousand or so years, Christians have believed in, worshipped, and sometimes died for, their 'Jesus Christ'. That makes 'Jesus Christ' a god-form, a spiritual reality that depends for its existence on the will and faith of its believers. I've never denied the reality of 'Jesus Christ': all I've denied is that 'Jesus Christ' is God.


I want to briefly compare and contrast somethings here.

One of the things I see with the majority of faiths are, "if I name it, I can claim it. " I see this very prominently in Pagan religions as well as the more familiar Christianity. Majority of these begin with 'selfish' origination. The 'order of operation' here begins with the person then they petition to god(s) in order to obtain what they desire. The problem I see with this is that obtaining the ability to 'order' a god elevates one above their god as they can some how manipulate it/them.

In contrast...

I was reading the book of Joshua this morning and noticed that the 'order of operation' begins with G-D and not with Joshua. In order for Joshua to be used as a tool by G-D he was given the instructions of obeying the Torah of Moses. It was upon that agreement that G-D would make him great because G-D could then use him not Joshua to use G-D to get what he (his flesh) wanted.

Just my thoughts.
on Dec 27, 2007
"All it means... is that he thinks he can do anything he likes to get anything he wants."

-C.S. Lewis
on Dec 27, 2007
Faith is a tool, not an end.


You do a good job describing "tool" and "end", but what does faith mean? What is faith?

EOIC WRITES:
Faith is a tool, not an end. An 'end' is a summation, a completion. And most people, when they find a faith, regard it as the 'end' of their seeking after meaning in existence. But not all people. Some, when they find faith, enter into a rapturous 'honeymoon' period in which their newfound faith is in every way sufficient - but, over time, find cause to question what they at first accepted both wholeheartedly and passionately.



Faith, at least according to my definition, is neither a tool or an end. Faith alone does not justify, so it cannot be an end. It's not a tool becasue faith isn't something we use per se.

Given a desire for the truth, faith is an act of the intellect based on rational motives of credibility that will stand any test. Faith is a divine virtue by which we firmly (without the slightest doubt) believe all truths which God has revealed.

Revealed means what has been made known to us. Revelation is a collection of all the truths God has made known to us. Why do we believe----becasue God reveals it even though we cannot see it or even understand it. If we see it plainly then we believe it rather because we see it than becasue God made it known to us.

Suppose a friend told us a house is on fire. We'd believe him if he never told us lies before, not becasue we know of the fire, but becasue he said it. Afterwards, when we read of the house fire, we we have proof of what he told us, but we believe him just as firmly as when he initially told us as when we learned of it from reading the newspaper.

In the same way, God tells us of His truths, we believe them becasue we know that since God is infinitely true, He cannot deceive us or be deceived. But if afterwards, by studying and thinking we find proof that God told us the truth, we don't believe with any greater faith, for we always believed without doubting.

Suppose some other person was present when we were told the house was on fire and that person wouldn't belive him. We'd try to convince him that what he said was true by showing him the account in the newspaper. So, learning does not change our faith, becasue faith is not acquired but is infused in our souls by God. This is why even little children who hear of God and what He taught has as good and strong faith as his teacher who has studied all the reasons why he should believe.

Rational supernatural faith of Christianity is more than mere feeling or emotional sentiment that comes from the excesses of revival meetings. It's an intellectual act guided by an upright will and aided always by God's grace.





on Jan 02, 2008
I'm so glad the Lula's didn't disappoint me by not showing up. My faith wasn't such that I knew she would, but I hoped and believed she would.

For your house on fire analogy, I give you 1/5.

Here's one for you to have faith in or believe in or disbelieve or whatever.

Every singly second, in the center of the Sun of God, 700 million tons of hydrogen are converted into 695 million tons of helium (courtesy of nuclear fusion.) The missing 5 million tons is energy emitted in the process - mostly in the form of light - that begins a long trip from the center of the sun to its surface, and then finally to us. It takes a photon of light in the center of the sun, on average, 160,000 years to reach the surface (and then another short 8 minutes to come brighten our collective day.) The earth, according to fundamentalist Christians is less than 20,000 years old. Now tell me some more about the difference between faith, belief, what is revealed by God, and what is revealed by pulling your head out of your ass, opening up your eyes, and looking...will you, dear?

Speaking of beliefs - I sincerely hope you enjoyed Jesus' birthday this year - regardless of the fact that it isn't really his birthday. Sorry...don't want to overload you with these crazy "fact" things. They'll certainly mess up your faith if you pay attention. Fortunately, I'm certain you'll be just fine.
on Jan 02, 2008
Faith alone does not justify, so it cannot be an end


The end of an act is not the justification of an act. 'Justification', in the sense you use it, identifies a particular facet of Christian theology that has nothing to do with with 'ends' in the sense in which I used the term. Justification is a status assigned us by another (God) as a consequence of faith in Jesus Christ. 'Justification' is the consequence of an act. The act in question is 'faith', which is nothing more than an expression of will. Faith has an end, which is Redemption, of which Justification is a part. The 'end' of faith is found in its completion, its consummation, which is Redemption. Therefore, faith has an end.

faith is an act of the intellect based on rational motives of credibility that will stand any test.


Nonsense.

Hbr 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

If 'rational principle' is a way of seeing, comprehending and organizing the world, which it plainly is - your own comment implying as much - then just as plainly faith is not to be found in it. Because the substance of faith is hope for what is not seen but is believed on.

on Jan 02, 2008
Hello Ock, Does this mean fundamentalist Christians believe the sun is also only 20,000 years old?
on Jan 02, 2008
EOIC WRITES:
Faith is a tool, not an end.


Lula posts:
Faith alone does not justify, so it cannot be an end


Note, here, even though we're looking at faith differently, we seem to agree that faith is not an end.

But here you come to a different conclusion:

EOIC POSTS:
The end of an act is not the justification of an act. 'Justification', in the sense you use it, identifies a particular facet of Christian theology that has nothing to do with with 'ends' in the sense in which I used the term. Justification is a status assigned us by another (God) as a consequence of faith in Jesus Christ. 'Justification' is the consequence of an act. The act in question is 'faith', which is nothing more than an expression of will. Faith has an end, which is Redemption, of which Justification is a part. The 'end' of faith is found in its completion, its consummation, which is Redemption. Therefore, faith has an end.


faith is an act of the intellect based on rational motives of credibility that will stand any test.


Nonsense.


Why is this nonsense? Faith isn't emotional, blind submission to the unknown. Rather, Faith is an intellectual assent of the mind to something not seen with the physical eye; the acceptance of a truth upon the authority of someone else. In Christianity, it's Divine authority, taking God at His word.

From this as I said before, Christianity begins with DIvine fiath that will not, in fact, cannot deceive. Seeing that man wholly depends upon God as his Creator, and seeing that created reason is entirely subject to the Uncreated Truth, we are bound to submit by faith our intellect and will to God the Revealer. But this faith which is the beginning of man's salvation, is a supernatural virtue, whereby with the help of GOd's grace, we believe what He reveals, not because we perceive its intrinsic truth by natural light of our reason, but on account of the authority of God who can neither deceive or be deceived.

Speaking of beliefs - I sincerely hope you enjoyed Jesus' birthday this year - regardless of the fact that it isn't really his birthday. Sorry...don't want to overload you with these crazy "fact" things. They'll certainly mess up your faith if you pay attention. Fortunately, I'm certain you'll be just fine.


Thanks, Ock. I sure am "just fine". Ock, would it surprise you to learn that the celebration of Christmas is not about Christ's birthday, but our Savior was born to redeem you and me? It was when God "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us". Yesterday, while the world celebrated New Year's Day, Catholics celebrated the feast of the circumcision of our Lord. "His name was called Jesus and He is marked as a victim for sacrifice. Thus does a New Year begin. Christ sheds a few drops of His precious Blood as a pledge of His complete bloodshedding later one. Christ will take our government ...upon His shoulder. Now it can be said, all the ends of the earth have seen salvation. He gave Himself to redeem us..you and me.

Now, Ock, I don't know about your area of the world, but in mine, the sky was perfectly clear and filled with stars one especially bright in the East. It's not a big mental leap for me to see something as beautiful as this at this time of year and harken back to the Holy Bible's description on the miraculous Star that guided the Magi to the newborn King.

I imagine some of you will cavil at miraculous stars and royalty seeking Wise men and your problem is with everything the Bible contains. My faith accepts the premise in which it's written...that God moves in history...nothing within it is impossible...and all of it hangs together beautifully. The Church celebrates this year in and year out now for over 2,000 years. What is the meaning of life and why are we here in the world? Why is there something rather than nothing? The answer that fits better than anything else is the one that begins, "God so loved the world..."

The miracles aren't the object of faith, they are only signs of it.

You don't much like my fire analogy in understanding faith. How about this one...You are driving down the road, and see a sign that says, Entering Vail, Colorado. If it's a true sign, you have faith that you know where you are.

And then you cited scientific "facts" about the sun. Both Christianity and science demand belief by faith and study. Some kind of faith precedes all study. Whereas Christianity begins with Divine faith, science begins with human faith that is fallible. Science is like Christianity, begins with truths which will never be fully understood. Take electricity. Its has natural mysteries yet its manifestations prove it's existence. Electricity, like the sun and stars and "The heavens show forth the glory of God and the firmament decalreth the works of His hands."

Science is knowing how GOd works in natural order, Faith is knowing how God works in supernatural order. Faith teaches things so profound that they are above reason. Faith in both true religion, Christianity, and true science doesn't teach anything opposed to reason or to those sound principles to reason rightly.

Ock posts:
Every singly second, in the center of the Sun of God, 700 million tons of hydrogen are converted into 695 million tons of helium (courtesy of nuclear fusion.) The missing 5 million tons is energy emitted in the process - mostly in the form of light - that begins a long trip from the center of the sun to its surface, and then finally to us. It takes a photon of light in the center of the sun, on average, 160,000 years to reach the surface (and then another short 8 minutes to come brighten our collective day.)



In science, it is dependence upon human authority that may or may not be right despite its personal integrity. When the faith of science is accepted, and not the faith of Christianity, it is wise to recall the words of Saint John. "If we accept the testimony of man, the testimony of God is greater."










on Jan 03, 2008
Actually, Sodaiho. what I'm told is they believe the universe itself is about 12,000 years old. (Give or take one or two begats that might be misinterpreted in the Book of All.) I was being generous with 20,000.

As for you, Lula, you're confusing faith and belief. Faith is what you have when you don't have observable facts enough to prove a belief that you desperately want to have. Conjecture != observable facts. If I see a sign saying I'm entering Fudpucker, Tenessee, I'll assume that I am - but I'll believe it when I see it.

I have observable facts for what I believe. You have faith. Nuff said.