“Some people say they will not believe in anything they can't see. What a catastrophe to not have any faith at all! You live only less than a half of life…”
- C. JoyBell C.
All of us have some of those “Show me!” genes. Our demand for proof dooms us to boredom and fear, because what excites about living, what brings us hope, and what nurtures love within us exists in a realm beyond rationality. Admission is free; all it takes is faith.
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Here’s more of the opening quote, which we’ll expand on: “Some people say they will not believe in anything they can’t see. What a catastrophe to not have any faith at all! You live only less than a half of life, if you will only believe in the things that you can see. Life is lived by those who have much faith and believe in many unseen things. If you believe in nothing that you cannot see, think about how much there is that you choose to turn your face away from! You can't see your soul and you cannot prove that it exists, therefore if you call yourself one who believes in nothing unseen, then you will forever deny your soul its existence, for the existence of the soul dwells in love, trust, anger, passion, faith, belief, strength; the soul is forever nourished by things that are unseen! And so we have too many empty bodies walking around! Bodies with souls inside that are half-dead and dying.”
Remember when God was pronounced dead by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche? The term first appeared in his 1892 collection translated as The Science of Joy. He repeated the phrase in The Madman, explaining his meaning this way: “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?” 1
This is what C. JoyBell C. was affirming when she wrote, “What a catastrophe to not have any faith at all!” A catastrophe, lived out personally in billions of lives and horribly revealed in the plundering of our human nest, a planet of once pristine beauty now soiled by our God aspiring ambition. Congratulations, we have fulfilled English poet John Milton’s 17th Century prophecy in Paradise Lost: “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.” 2 We may question the existence of heaven but Hell is real; we created it!
It was quite a trick. The clever pretense concerns God with a big G. The reality is more personal. JoyBell wrote, “You can’t see your soul and you cannot prove that it exists…” Here’s the real tragedy, that we would have denied our own divinity, the innate meaning and value of “it,” and “I” and, instead, feverishly labored to produce proof of what we’ve ignored (but, authored by ourselves). No remedy will be found through further striving. What’s called for is a returning to ancient familiarity, what JoyBell describes this way: “…the existence of the soul dwells in love, trust, anger, passion, faith, belief, strength…”
There is nothing to prevent us from that experience, from the remembrance of ourselves and the resurrection of the original God, that One that originates in me and you and you and all living things in every eternal moment. This is not some Grand Being that exists (or doesn’t exist) separate from us in theory, vulnerable to demands for proof. This soul truth is remembered from our dreaming in the Garden of our real birth. Remember?
The memories are there, even if many of us must return to childhood and a sunny day by a stream in the woods, or hear again the kind words of a friend consoling us on a loss that had ripped us open so we could hear and receive a blessing, heart to heart, soul to soul. JoyBell wrote, “…we have too many empty bodies walking around! Bodies with souls inside that are half-dead and dying.”
That’s inevitable and immune to healing until one moment, just one moment is all we need, when the arrogance of “seeing is believing” gives way to the magic of “believing is seeing.” Those two doors beckon and we choose which one to open, not as an interesting idea while you are reading these words but as the opportunity of every moment, consciously choosing heaven over hell and reversing Milton’s glum pronouncement. No, we say: “It is better to create Heaven with faith, than to create Hell with cynicism.”
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1. Friedrich Nietzsche, from The Gay Science, Section 125, tr. Walter Kaufmann
2. John Milton, from Paradise Lost, lines 258 - 263