• We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately. -Benjamin Franklin, Freedom Fighter

  • We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. -Martin Luther King, Jr., Freedom Fighter

  • Let us be cautious in making assertions and critical in examining them, but tolerant in permitting linguistic forms. -Rudolf Carnap, Philosopher

  • A clash of doctrines is not a disaster—it is an opportunity. -Alfred North Whitehead, Philosopher

  • If we could read the secret history of our enemies we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Poet

  • Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. -Rumi, Mystic

  • If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things. – Rene Descartes, Philosopher

  • A house divided against itself cannot stand. -Abraham Lincoln, President

  • Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. -Albert Einstein, Scientist

  • Be the change you want to see in the world. -Mahatma Gandhi, Freedom Fighter

Thanksgiving, 2014

Thanksgiving … A time of faith

I want to write about faith.

About the faith of the Pilgrims that first Thanksgiving. A faith strong enough to take them to the New World and see them through that first brutal winter when nearly half of them died.

About the faith of Adams and Jefferson, lawyer from Massachusetts and planter from Virginia, writing those revolutionary words: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I want to write about faith.

About the faith of Washington and his soldiers at Valley Forge in that cold winter of 1777.

About the faith the founders had in self-government, their faith in the blessings of liberty.

About the faith of Lincoln that we are conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

About the faith of those who gave their last full measure of devotion so that you and I could live free.

I want to write about faith.

But it is hard to write about faith this Thanksgiving.

It is hard to write about faith when I see America continuing to split into two cultural camps. LGBT rights. Abortion vs. Freedom of Choice. Obamacare. Immigration. Two camps. In Washington. In the media. In the country. Shouting. Arguing. Talking past each other. Not listening. Not even acknowledging each other’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What reason have I for faith?

It is hard to write about faith when I see America’s deep racial divide. Ferguson, Missouri. Trayvon Martin. Clivan Bundy. The rise of hate groups. Look at the differences of attitudes. Of perceptions. Of realities. A tragic legacy of America’s slave history affecting both Blacks and Whites. How are these differences to be bridged? When? What reason have I for faith?

It is hard to write about faith when I see war and tyranny around the world. ISIS. Israel / Palestine. India / Pakistan. Putin. North Korea. Iran. Iraq. Afghanistan. What reason have I for faith in a world seemingly gone mad?

I want to write about faith.

About the faith of my grandparents, immigrants who came to America, escaping from an Anti-Semitic Europe, full of faith that here — in America — they could be free.

About the faith of Newton and Einstein. Darwin. Socrates. Plato. Hawking. The faith of those who have taught us reason.

About the faith of Rembrandt and Monet. Beethoven and Mahler. Rumi and David Whyte. Bird and Diz. Miles and Monk and Trane. The faith of those who show us the truths lying beyond our reason.

About the faith of Martin Luther King. And Gandhi. And Jesus and Hillel and Confucius and the Buddha and Lao Tzu. The faith of those who grasp that most important of all truths that — whether by God or by accident — we are all created equal and that, therefore, we have an obligation to love our neighbor as ourselves.

I want to write about faith.

But it is hard to write about faith this Thanksgiving.

It is hard to write about faith when I see a shrinking middle-class.

It is hard to write about faith when I see so many of America’s young men and women unprepared for work in the 21st century.

It’s hard to write about faith when I see my brothers and sisters dying from starvation and disease; when I see the effects of climate change and deforestation and the acidification of our oceans.

I want to write about faith.

About my faith that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth but shall endure.

About my faith that we can, indeed, make the world a better place.

About my faith that the day will come when all humans will glory in the blessings of liberty.

I want to write about faith.

I want to write about faith,
about the way the moon rises
over cold snow, night after night,

faithful even as it fades from fullness,
slowly becoming that last curving and impossible
sliver of light before the final darkness.

But I have no faith myself
I refuse it even the smallest entry.

Let this then, my small poem,
like a new moon, slender and barely open,
be the first prayer that opens me to faith.

— David Whyte

Let Freedom Ring.

Copyright © 2014. Stan Stahl. All Rights Reserved. Except Faith, Copyright © David Whyte. http://www.gratefulness.org/poetry/Faith.htm. Permission is granted to republish this essay in its entirety provided its source is identified asThe Agnostic Patriot at www.agnosticpatriot.org and this copyright is included.

Join the Agnostic Patriot Email List

Get these essays sent to your inbox:

Speak Your Mind

*