“The opposite of faith is not doubt; the opposite of faith is control.”
– Richard Rohr
This quote got me thinking about keeping faith in a secular society. On one hand you have religion, centered around a belief system. On the other hand, you have secular institutions like the economy and government centered around objective and commonly held truths. This realm of society values logic, reason and efficiency; which are very different processes than faith.
Faith, as this quote utilizes the word, is trusting the divine (order or being) with issues or concerns rather than taking them on alone. Instead of worrying, working to control everything and trying to resolve everything; you give it to God with faith that everything will work out as it should. It may not be what you wanted, it may not be what you envisioned, but it will be alright.
This is easier said than done when the norm is locking in a plan to reach a goal. It is hard to ‘let go and let God’ when society tries to sell you a guaranteed 10-step guide to success. That being said, I think the challenge of faith is half the point. Challenge is an opportunity for growth, making way for a deeper faith. Working to keep faith in a secular society opens new doors for one’s faith due to the inevitable challenges.
The yin and yang, the faith and control, bring a kind of balance to the lives of those living in the Western, secular world. Their juxtaposition in secular society allows a greater appreciation of both elements. I may even assert, that in this case, secularism is beneficial to people of faith. This applies to those dedicated to a personal or uncategorized spirituality, as well as members of organized religion. For neither spirituality or religion can exist without faith in something bigger than oneself. A secular atmosphere provides unique opportunities for the faithful, no matter the terrain of the path they follow.