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February 08, 2015

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Laughing to myself. Excellent post. I think I know this Protestant minister. I mean. This is what I heard over and over and over when I was a kid. But in the late 60s when I discovered Alan Watts and read this about faith and belief in his book "The Wisdom of Insecurity" my mind opened and my whole outlook changed

"We must here make a clear distinction between belief and faith, because, in general practice, belief has come to mean a state of mind which is almost the opposite of faith. Belief, as I use the word here, is the insistence that the truth is what one would “lief” or wish it to be. The believer will open his mind to the truth on the condition that it fits in with his preconceived ideas and wishes. Faith, on the other hand, is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings, but faith lets go. In this sense of the word, faith is the essential virtue of science, and likewise of any religion that is not self-deception.

The present phase of human thought and history … almost compels us to face reality with open minds, and you can only know God through an open mind just as you can only see the sky through a clear window. You will not see the sky if you have covered the glass with blue paint.

But “religious” people who resist the scraping of the paint from the glass, who regard the scientific attitude with fear and mistrust, and confuse faith with clinging to certain ideas, are curiously ignorant of laws of the spiritual life which they might find in their own traditional records. A careful study of comparative religion and spiritual philosophy reveals that abandonment of belief, of any clinging to a future life for one’s own, and of any attempt to escape from finitude and mortality, is a regular and normal stage in the way of the spirit. Indeed, this is actually such a “first principle” of the spiritual life that it should have been obvious from the beginning, and it seems, after all, surprising that learned theologians should adopt anything but a cooperative attitude towards the critical philosophy of science."

When I went to this minister with questions and to talk about the things I was reading and the way I felt. I mean what did I know I was just a kid and he was supposedly the authority.

What did he tell me. Oh, you kids, when you go off to college you get all kinds of crazy ideas, and we know that we've lost you!!

Needless to say I haven't darkened the door of a minister, priest, guru, etc. etc. since. Thank you Mr. minister and thank you Alan Watts. Once you mind opens it can't be closed again.

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