It should be accepted by all that faith can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending upon how it is used. Also – there are too many stories of how faith has transformed lives for the positive to dismiss it out of hand.
There are several ways to look at it. My personal take is that we all have abilities that we normally cannot tap. Through belief in some external entity (or what ever smoke and mirrors we wish), we can free the parts of our minds that are fettered by the cultural reality that binds us day to day.
For me, it’s a question of moving beyond the need for the crutch of godhead – and realizing that I have the ability to change my life for the better. I believe very strongly in personal empowerment, and there is no more empowering feeling then to be able to look at a portion of your life, good or bad, and say “I survived that, I prospered then, I learned the lessons that I needed to learn” rather then “I was to weak – I needed to be carried through that”.
Our culture is steeped in taking power away from the individual, and giving it to the government, the Godhead, the leaders.
“We need laws to regulate how hot our beef is cooked until, because we might get sick if we order it wrong!”
“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you you’d walk with me all the way, but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.” The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
“I was only following orders!”
As a Culture, we need to move beyond laying the blame for our weakness at some one else’s doorstep, and take responsibly for our actions, our choices and ultimately, our feelings.