Thursday, January 15, 2009

Faith vs. Imagination

One of my oft-repeated rants is that the odious expression "people of faith" specifically excludes Wiccans and most Pagans. For my pipple, you either have, or do not have, some direct experience of the goddesses and/or gods. Faith doesn't enter into it. And, so, you know, Fuck You! Rick Warren and everyone else who goes around pretending that "People of Faith" includes anyone other than a bunch of old, dried-up Abrahamists.

But, this morning, I was standing on the hard-frozen ground. On ground frozen so hard that the cold migrated immediately up through the soles of my ballet flats and into the titanium of the screws and plates in my left ankle. And I was looking, ears covered in rabbit fur muffs and cheeks stinging from the cold, at my garden. Which is frozen. And brown. And, barren.

And I was wondering, as I got into my cold car, with the already-cooled mug of coffee in my gloved hands, if, maybe my conviction that there will, surely, be crocus and daffodils and purple hellebore is a form of faith. Have I been too hard on the "people of faith" callers?

But once I thawed out in my hybrid, somewhere halfway over the Potomac River, I decided: Naw. I don't believe that the bulbs will sprout because someone told me to. I believe that they'll sprout because they have done, for year and years. Which is not to say that it doesn't require some IMAGINATION to believe that there will be spring flowers about now, when it's so cold that it hurts my toes. But imagination is different from faith and, given a choice, me, I'll take imagination every time. My skin, my bones, my heretic heart are my authority.

Art found here.


Anne Johnson said...

There's a certain amount of imagination, a certain amount of logic, and a certain amount of faith when waiting for the spring flowers.

You are imagining them dormant in the ground, hibernating like bears, waiting for that February thaw.

Logic tells you that they will sprout, because observation over many years proves that daffodills and crocuses sprout and bloom in the spring.

Faith enters in when you pray that the blooms you planted will have lived through the winter. I once planted 100 crocus bulbs, and only ten bloomed. I suppose the squirrels ate the rest. So there is an element of faith (or hope) in the expectation of spring flowers.

sott'Eos said...

The bigger problem with 'Faith', is that when these people use it, they also imbue it with a lot of certainty. Their Faith can move mountains. No evidence could possibly interfere with their Faith. They would order their children (or yours) off to war for their Faith.