Do you believe in God? Or angels? Or technology? Or yourself?
According to a recent survey, around 17% of the UK population have no doubt about God’s existence. Another 18% are sure the whole idea is nonsense. That leaves an awful lot of people in the middle, the people who think perhaps there is something, that we can’t just be doing all this alone, unsupervised by something or someone bigger and more powerful, but unable to put their fingers on exactly what that might be.
As humans we seem to have a desire, an actual need maybe, to have something to believe in, to have faith in something. It makes us feel safer to think we’re not alone, that we’re not completely responsible for our own lives. That something will be different for different people. Some people attach that faith to a God, a higher power with a ready-made set of guidelines for how to behave, a preprepared moral code that can provide that sought after structure and community, and give meaning and purpose to actions and decisions.
Others have faith in something less definable, perhaps just a sense of being watched over or guided. Some people put their faith into more tangible things, like work or families or causes they feel passionate about.
I am one of those annoyingly optimistic people who tends to believe that everything will work out alright in the end. I try to have faith in myself, to trust my instincts, and to allow myself to act to change situations that I know aren’t right for me. I also believe than in order to do this, I have to be aware not just of my own feelings, but of things happening around me, outside my own head.
Although I do believe that I’m in control of my own future, I am also prepared to be guided to a certain extent by outside forces. Sometimes if I’m not sure what to do about a situation, I will look for a sign of some kind. I quite often find that if you open your mind up to a decision, that an answer will present itself.
Perhaps this is just a way of allowing myself to listen to my own instinct – when I take a step back from something, look outside rather than inside, I find the validation I need to make the choice that subconsciously I wanted all along. Sometimes I do it with big decisions, sometimes it’s something silly. Perhaps I feel a bit peckish, and just happen to be walking past a shop selling cookies. Well, that’s definitely a sign isn’t it?
Perhaps this approach is a little cowardly, only part way to really trusting my instincts – feeling the need to have my choices backed up by something external. This is ultimately what any kind of faith is about though isn’t it – having a set of beliefs to justify the things you do and the way you live your life? We choose to believe in things that fit with our instincts about how we should behave, and our faith, whether that be a formal religion or anything else, is what we use to solidify these actions, to give them weight.
Basically, despite my sometimes cynical exterior, I think I really just want to believe in that happy ever after. Don’t we all?