Faith is a state of openness or trust. To have faith is like when you trust yourself to the water. You don’t grab hold of the water when you swim, because if you do you will become stiff and tight in the water, and sink.
You have to relax, and the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging, and holding on. In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe becomes a person who has no faith at all.
Instead they are holding tight. But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be. – Allan Watts
The point that I wish to make most strongly, is that behind a vital religious life there has to be faith which is not expressed in things to which you cling. In ideas, opinions, to which you cling in a kind of desperation. Faith is the act of letting go, and that must begin with letting go of God. Let God go.
But you see, this is not atheism in the ordinary sense. Atheism in the ordinary sense is further hoping that there isn’t a god.
And we still have going into our common sense the nineteenth century myth, I call it the myth of the fully automatic model of the universe.
Namely, that it’s stupid. It’s blind force. Hekels. Gyration. Fortuitous congress of atoms, is of the same vintage as Freud’s libido. The blind surge of lust at the basis of human psychology.
But when you consider this attitude, Man is a little germ that lives on an unimportant rock ball that revolves about an insignificant star on the outer edges of one of the smaller galaxies. What a put down that was.
But on the other hand, if you think about that for a few minutes, I am absolutely amazed to discover myself on this rock ball rotating around us of the spherical file. It’s a very odd situation. And the more I look at things I cannot get it rid of the feeling that existence is quite weird.
You see, a philosopher is a sort of intellectual Yokel who gawks at things that sensible people take for granted. And sensible people who claim that existence is nothing at all I mean just basic and go on and do something.
But you see I don’t know what question to ask when I wonder about the universe. It isn’t a question that I’m wondering about it’s a feeling that I have.
Imagine if you had an interview with God, everybody was going to have an interview with God, and you were allowed to ask one question what would you ask. You will soon find that you have no idea what to ask.
Because I cannot formulate the question that is my wonder the moment my mouth opens to utter it I suddenly find I’m talking nonsense.
But that should not prevent wonder from being the foundation of philosophy. Because it strikes you that existence is very very strange.
And then moreso when this so-called insignificant little creature has inside his skull a neurological contraption that is able to center itself in the midst of these incredible expanse of galaxies and start measuring the whole thing.
That is quite extraordinary.
And then furthermore when you realize, that in a world where there are no eyes the sun would not be light. And that in a world where there were no soft skins rocks would not be hard. Existence is relationship and you are smack in the middle of it.
So there is obviously a place in life for a religious attitude in the sense of awe. Astonishment at existence. And that is also a basis of respect for existence.