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Time to talk about the ‘F’ Word that is Faith

Popularity 1Viewed 2283 times 2018-9-10 01:18 |System category:Life| Faith, Bread, Circuses, Belief, Government

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Over a decade ago, there was a science fiction film called Serenity.  It was based on a brief television series call Firefly.  While its time ‘on the air’ was short, in comparison to other properties like Star Wars, Star Trek, and others, it still had the ability to provoke some serious questions about the real world it took it cue from.  One of those questions was bluntly asked by one of the side characters (a stand in for most religious clergy around the world) to the main protagonist (an archetype anti-hero ‘space cowboy’) when he was having a moment of crisis:


Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: “Ah hell, Shepherd, I ain't looking for help from on high. That's a long wait for a train don't come.”


Shepherd Book: “When I talk about belief, why do you always assume I'm talking about God?”


Later in the story, as the Shepherd was dying in the arms of the Captain, he uttered these words with his last breath:


Shepherd Book: I don't care what you believe in, just believe in it.


As much as some would like to believe otherwise, we as humans are defined by ability to have faith, whether it be in each other or some other intangible purpose.  The adage that ‘Faith moves Mountains,’ is very much true, as it also alters the course of rivers and allows us to observe and harness the very fabric of the Universe we live in.  Moreover, it is the underlying principle that defines every civilization that mankind has founded – from People’s Republic to Republic, and Monarchy to Democracy.  So when there appears ‘cracks in the civil structure’, one has to make sure that the underlying faith is merely strained or bruised, and not shattered and broken.  No amount of fear and suppression, or bread and circuses, will be able to replace that lost faith.


I have been reminded of that these last few weeks here in the U.S., as folks at places like CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and others appear to be perplexed at the state of political affairs.  They seem to not understand why ‘their people’ are not revered as they once were and why they cannot seem to sway the general populace as they once had.  They act as if they were able to ban certain ‘heretics’ from speaking in public or private forums, people would ‘come around’.  I do believe that they will be asking that question, time and time again, after the November 2018 and 2020 elections here in the U.S., and in other places in the world.


Yet, I do have trepidation as to what will come of groups like this, as they attempt to hold on to what power they perceive to have.  If nothing else, we could see a spike in political violence, as evidenced in Brazil earlier this week.  But viewing it from the long lens of history, it could be like the last few Emperors of Rome, fighting to retain some sort of ‘order’ as the barbarians sweep into Europe.  The last emperor could only watch as the Seven Hills of Rome were sacked, for the faith of general populace had long faded, and the treasury was exhausted from the last vestiges of bread and circuses.  Much could be said for the Emperors of China, from their seat in Beijing and elsewhere – whether it was the Mongols, the Manchu, or simply a host of foreign invaders.  So as the Dawn 21st Century fades to the mid century, what will be said about the powers to be Beijing, Moscow, Washington D.C. and elsewhere will every much hinge on how much faith they are held in by the people that they are supposed to govern.  Woe to those that say out loud, “Why don’t they believe us?”

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This is never a substitute for any government that wants to stay in power. It either has the faith of the people or it does not. There is no in-between.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Reply Report tradervic 2018-10-18 03:50
Liononthehunt: Do you, by any chance, know of the insightful treatise by Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene? If you do, you may want to change your mind on the statem ...
Hm... the other take on the theory of natural selection?  I have to take a look and get back to you on this.

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