Episode 2: “Faith”
On the first episode of The Bachelorette this season, they tried that awkward “Two Bachelorettes, One Choice” concept that some staff manipulator thought would increase the number of viewers. They took both Britt and Kaitlyn as potential Bachelorettes and, after a night of socializing and offering sex for votes, the guys then voted on which girl they wanted to continue as the Bachelorette and which they sent packing. Spoiler alert: they chose Kaitlyn.
There was one of the just-got-out-of-the-limo talks when some bachelor hopeful mentioned “faith” to Britt and she responded that faith was extremely important to her. And here starts the lesson…
What is faith? For most people this word means “faith in” something, which is usually “Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.” Michael Jackson self-proclaimed himself “The King of Pop.” In mock of this, Howard Stern throned himself “The King of All Media.” Jesus, the most arrogant of all, not only claimed to be the son of God but also took the word “faith” as belonging to his kingdom.
As a “factual” aside, Jesus once or twice called himself the Son of Man–not the Son of God. According to Wikipedia:
The expression “the Son of man” occurs 81 times in the Greek text of the four Canonical gospels, and is used only in the sayings of Jesus. The singular Hebrew expression “son of man” (בן–אדם i.e. ben-‘adam) also appears in the Hebrew Bible over a hundred times.
But if around the campfire after tossing down one too many glasses of Manishevitz, he ever did call himself the “Son of God” (even though this is not recorded in the Gospels) he never said he was the only Son of God. This is kind of like my brother saying, “I am the Son of Arthur” to which I’d be like, “Big whoop, so am I.” On one occasion, when he was really pissed off at his mother, Jesus did call himself the “Son of Bitch.” Big deal; I’ve called my mother worse.
What exactly is “faith”? Most of us just interpret it as: a strong belief. I was listening to one spiritual lecture where the speaker discussed the difference between faith and belief. Despite listening to that track on repeat, it never fully sunk into my thick skull what the heck was the difference. But let me give it shot.
Belief requires a something to connect it to; you believe that you are the smartest person in the room; you believe that time is linear; you believe that you will be the next Bachelorette. Your belief might be proven right or wrong (wrong in the case of Britt’s belief that she was going to be chosen as the Bachelorette.) If your belief is proven wrong, barring some egoic attachment, it is dropped immediately. Otherwise it is called “delusion” or “fundamentalism,” which mean the exact same thing.
While faith also seems to need an object of faith, I see it more as a life principle that you live through. If a belief is the objects in your apartment–from the television that you watch The Bachelorette on, to your desk, to your bed–faith is the space that actually makes up the apartment; a room is technically the enclosed space, not the items in it.
While faith and belief may be incestrual sisters engaging in an act of lesbianism–which if filmed and put on YouTube would probably go as viral as “Baby Panda Sneezing”–I “believe” there is a subtle difference. I use the word “believe” when I say this in common usage, but I have faith that everything happens for a reason. This doesn’t mean that I don’t get down when my girlfriend dumps me or when I lose a job for urinating in the staff coffee pot. But a part of me doesn’t just believe but “knows” that this is all a part of the process that is forging my spirit into a master of my domain.
Now my belief may be wrong. Perhaps the proper altar I should be praying at is in the Church of Nihilism, where its congregants believe that everything that happens in life is totally random with no meaning–and then you die. But regardless, this belief or faith or whatever definition it wears best, informs every moment of my life–which is important for someone like me who gets dumped and fired more than a hotdog at a barbecue!
I think it can be compared indirectly to the passion of a sense of purpose, which Viktor Frankl, Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor wrote about in Man’s Search for Meaning and used as the cornerstone for his logotherapy. One might have a belief what her purpose is in life (in Britt’s case, to be the Bachelorette), but that is not quite the same as having a strong conviction that, “I incarnated on this planet to…” (in Britt’s case, to be the Bachelorette.) As said earlier, maybe it is this unrelenting conviction that is not dependent on facts that defines faith. Maybe that’s the defining distinction of faith (and fundamentalism): Unlike a belief, which can change based on facts, faith is unmovable, unmalleable and often unbelievable.
Beliefs often are called “faith” and yet they seem little more than fundamentalist hate and a desperate attempt to get to a cloudy place in the sky with either Jesus or virgins sucking your dick. The carpet munchers of faith and belief have gotten even more confused ever since gay marriage was legalized nationally! It was anticipating this added confusion alone why I campaigned side by side with the Westboro Baptist Church against gay marriage.
Perhaps it’s like United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said in the 1964 case Jacobellis v. Ohio when weighing in on whether Jacobellis’ film should be declared “hardcore pornography,” that while he couldn’t define it directly, “I know it when I see it.” And I always thought that the definition of hardcore pornography was the presence of both anal and the “money shot” to the face. Go figure!
Example from The Bachelorette
The example I am using is the one with which I started this piece. Britt declared how faith is so important to her and then when she didn’t get chosen as the Bachelorette, the waterworks started flowing full force and she seemed to, at least for the moment, “lose faith.” I hate to sound all God-y, but perhaps the proper response for one who is faith-full would be, “Due to my ego’s limitations, I believed this was the way I was going to meet my life partner–despite the fact that out of 30 seasons there have only been 4 marriages–but I have faith that love will present itself to me at the right time and place.” If she said that I would have thought, “Now there is a woman who is a lot more than permanent lipstick.
I discovered on YouTube a poster called Darkmatter2525 who creates animated atheist cartoons, ridiculing the Bible and Christians, and immediately fell in love with his work. In one episode he has a “faithful” Christian in the hospital with a huge lump on his head. The doctor says, “I have good news and bad news. The good news is: you have a brain tumor. The bad news is: it will take at least six months to kill you.” The patient is furious. “You’re telling me with all the modernization of medicine, I have to wait six full months before I can go to Heaven!” In the parking lot, walking to his car another car slams into his daughter, killing her. Brain Tumor Guy says, “Thank you so much for sending her to Heaven!”
I am not a big Nick Viall fan, the guy from last year’s season with Andi who Kaitlyn invited late onto the show because “This is for the rest of my life and I didn’t want to leave any stone unturned.” But there was one moment I thought he was spot on, other than knowing that sticking his penis in Kaitlyn’s vagina was a straight out of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.
During his first sit-down grilling with the other guys, who already had invested four weeks in their relationships with Kaitlyn before Old St. Nick decided to make a guest appearance in the audience at the bachelor rap battle competition in my backyard, New York City, to which Kaitlyn was like, “I’m so confused!”, Nick made an analogy to the previous season he did with Andi, saying that if Josh–the guy she chose over him, resulting in him outing her on national television that he had stuck his penis in her vagina–came in late, he would have been happy because that is who she ended up being with. One guy in the show was like, “Why would you be happy about that?” He answered, “Because that is who she wanted to be with.”
We get so caught up in competition that many of us rather “earn the job” or “get the girl” because nobody else showed up, rather than having an attitude that, “It doesn’t matter how many other job applicants or contestants show up–if I’m meant to end up with the job or girl then that will happen.” While it this may require a belief in The Bachelorette process, it has faith in the Universe that, as I expressed before, everything happens for a reason and in the perfect time. Perhaps that’s another element of faith, that faith is a belief in something that is all-encompassing.
Alan Watts, spiritual entertainer, Zen teacher and author (and one of my favorite people to listen to on spirituality!) said there are two ways to look at the world. One is through the eyes of fear. With this, you constantly look over your shoulder and avoid eye contact–because if you engage eyes with someone they will probably want something from you or maybe attack you; you lock up your bicycle and you make sure your wallet is in your front pocket because their are thieves out there; you prepare all your own food because you heard that once the salad at TGIF’s had E. coli in it from a food preparer not following the sign “Employees must wash hands after taking a dump”; you look at people as users and abusers and not just the drug addicts.
The other way is to look at the world through the eyes of trust. You walk around with a smile on your face and make eye-contact and, yes, every now and then some pervy douche asks you for your number (in my defense, she was smiling and made eye-contact with me); you don’t lock up your bicycle or keep your wallet in the equivalent of a denim safety deposit box and, yes, as a result there is the possibility that once in awhile you will get ripped off; you believe in human kindness and see everyone as a child of God, perhaps a few being the retarded children–but since you are so pro-“life”, you don’t believe in aborting the chance to see the good even in these goofy little bastards.
So, which choice will you make, ye of little faith? Here’s a little secret: Whichever eyes you look through, that is most of what you are going to see in the world.