As It Is - Faith & Knowledge blog for the month of July, written By John McDonnell
Faith & Knowledge
Faith is not an uncommon thing. Every day we put our faith in someone or something – the bus driver who takes us to work, eating food in a restaurant, and people respect the traffic lights. All these and more we put our faith in to some degree.
We also put greater faith in people we know, such as our family members, friends, neighbours, work colleagues, mostly due to the fact that we have a deeper relationship with them. We have, for the most part, built a relationship with them over time and have come to know what they are capable of. We trust them, usually.
Let’s look at what definition of faith means:
Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
This is an interesting definition. For many of us that faith may not be there in God. Can any of us genuinely say that we have complete trust in God, even in His existence? And if not God then who do we have faith in? Many atheistic people have no faith in God. So why do we find it difficult to put our faith in God? To have faith in God is a big step for most of us. To even accept that he exists is demanding. Why? Most of us have not developed a relationship with Him. We have little knowledge about Him, experience of Him, and we are not sure if He even exists at all. In fact many people claim that He does not exist and have no genuine desire to find out. So how can we put our faith in someone who we are not sure even exists?
In order to have faith in someone or something we first require some knowledge about it. The person whom you completely trust is most likely someone very close to, a personal friend or family member whom you know well. Similarly we need to first acquire knowledge about God in order to develop some faith. This knowledge comes to us through books such as ‘The Holy Bible’ and ‘Bhagavad-gītā’. Then we take the knowledge we have learnt and put it into practice. From that a result will come. If the result is in accordance with what is being told to us in the book then our faith develops, even slightly. In the Bhagavad-gītā (15.15) Krishna says:
I am seated in everyone’s heart and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas I am to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.
Here we see the word knowledge in this verse. Krishna is stating that all knowledge, including that about Him is coming from Him. Who else would know more about God than Himself? And through the Vedas (which means knowledge), the authorised scriptures, He is to be known. So hearing and reading about God are very important steps in knowing God.
Other ways of developing faith in God are through association with like-minded people, following a bona-fide practice, and direct experience. If you have ever wanted to get to know a person then you would have had to follow one or all of these things. We have to do the same if we want to develop our faith in God.