Faith is perhaps the most personal of human conditions.
While we may find it acceptable to not be totally honest on all occasions with others, including family, friends and loved ones, we must always be completely and brutally truthful when it comes to being honest with ourselves and our own faith.
To seek one's faith must be a pure journey, devoid of all distractions to the mind and the heart; all thoughts of material things, personal passions and desires must first be discarded.
Whether we identify our faith through providence, deity or God, is really irrelevant. These are just labels, as are the thousands of other names by which every culture describes their faith.
If we believe that mankind is bound together by the highest of powers, then we have faith in something far beyond our normal existence and perhaps, even our understanding.
Discussions and questions of faith cannot be conducted using logic or scientific analysis for faith is based in personal belief. Our connection to our God, through our personal faith, is immutable.
However, if we do apply logic in a priori acceptance of God, and in the fact that we are all held equal before our God, then it is undeniable that no one individual can have a better/closer relationship or connection to God than anyone else; that is, no one knows God any better than you.
This is where faith and religion separate.
Our religions give us guideline for living our lives. Our keepers of our religions administer the written words and stories of our respective religions to help us to better understand these guidelines. This is a wonderful concept.
It is also, however, a business concept.
This may be a very difficult conclusion to accept for one's own religion, and may be not so difficult when it is applied to some one else's religion, for one culture's scripture is another culture's mythology.
Faith is each man's individual connection to God, while religion is man's attempt to quantify, clarify and distribute God's words in a business plan based on administering or exploiting faith.
Through religion we accept placing other men above and ahead of ourselves in their ability to better connect with God than us. We voluntarily accept these Holy men as our liaison to God.
This is unwarranted. It may be true that these Holy men may be able to discuss the written words better than some of us; however, God does not need Holy men as translators or middle men to reach each of us.
There is nothing wrong in following these Holy men of God. True Holy men of religion, like the Klingon priest, can set misdirected souls, like Worf, on the proper path to answers with their words of wisdom.
In the end we need to realize that we are each just as worthy of reaching God by ourselves as anyone else who presumes to show us the right path.
For the sake of completeness in the discussion of faith and religion, it would be remiss to not include the beliefs of Atheists, that is, those who do not believe in the existence of God.
Perhaps the best all encompassing statement for Atheists on this topic was delivered by the British Atheist celebrity Ricky Gervais, who closed the 2011 Golden Globe Awards show with the statement 'Thank you to God for making me an atheist.'
Within the one statement he managed to proclaim his disbelief in God - by expressing his gratitude to God.
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