The New Faith

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The New Faith is a spiritual movement initiated by Codrin Tapu. It holds that spirituality and materialism are two complementary and compatible ways to perceive existence.[1] It is a movement of believers and non-believers alike, that respect and promote the preservation of all religious identities and spiritual beliefs, stating that people cannot be complete unless they understand all human beliefs.

The New Faith is not a mere interfaith movement, but involves a set of educational, social, and spiritual reforms for individual and social change. It is a vision for education and for society. The movement's goal is not to create a new belief system, nor to unite religions, but to renew religious and spiritual systems starting from their similar and universal core beliefs, fostering the implementation of universal spiritual ideals at the level of individuals and of societies.[2] History has generally shown that the most idealistic and humanistic of moral codes are also the most pragmatic and beneficial for each individual who lives by them, provided that these codes are widely adopted.[3]

The core text of the movement is Teachings on Being. It contains moral teachings and spiritual beliefs inspired by the great spiritual and religious traditions of humanity, including, among others, atheism, Bahá'í, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Taoism, Unitarian Universalism, and Zoroastrianism.

A global change[edit]

Past work on a global ethic includes the efforts of Martti Ahtisaari, Paulo Evaristo Arns, Aung San Suu Kyi, Patriarch Bartholomew I., Joseph Bernardin, Crown Prince Hassan Bin Talil, George Carey, André Chouraqui, Muhammad El-Ghazali, Count K. K. von der Groeben, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, Hassan Hanafi, Teddy Kollek, Franz Konig, Lev Kopelev, Hans Küng, Jonathan Magonet, Rigoberta Menchu, Yehudi Menuhin, Hajime Nakamura, Dileep Padgaonkar, Konrad Raiser, Mary Robinson, Helmut Schmidt, Shu-Hsien Liu, L. M. Singhvi, Rene-Samuel Sirat, Sulak Sivaraksa, Juan Somavia, Cornelio Sommaruga, Sigmund Sternberg, Muhammad Talbi, Desmond Tutu, Carl Friedrich von Weizsacker, Richard von Weizsacker, Elie Wiesel, Mahmoud Zakzouk, and others.[4]

The New Faith not only proposes a global ethic, but also has the purpose of amending spiritual interpretations and educational practices that are detrimental to personal and collective wellbeing.[2]

Teachings on Being (excerpts)[edit]

What is the New Faith?[edit]

The great dangers of today are the opposition to spirituality, attacking from the rich lands of the Northwest, and religious fanaticism, finding shelter in the poor countries of the Southeast. They are the two “bishops” who double check, diagonally, King Human.

These dangers can only be annihilated through a new start. The New Faith is not yet another faith. It is a new way of living the old faiths. A way of not killing for our ideas, of not dueling them, and of not merely “agreeing to disagree”, but of acknowledging that we are all equal, different but together, honoring the traditions of our parents and ancestors. These traditions, put together, are our most precious heritage.

The duel of the two fanaticisms can give birth to death. But the love of the different will make the world reborn.

—Chapter 2

Your beliefs are important[edit]

Your beliefs are important. But so are others’ beliefs. Do not try to convince others of the truth of your beliefs. Be open to arguments, debate, but never give up on what you hold most dear, and never ask others to do that.

If all people believed the same things, we would always be in the stone age. Great ideas were born out of debates. Diversity is the yeast of civilization. Harmony and progress are the fruits of the love between those who are different. Only together we can find solutions. But only if we do not think the same.

—Chapter 4

The greatness of humans[edit]

The greatness of humans lies not in their origin, but in their destination.

In the world, there are a few people who can do a lot of evil, and a lot of people who can do a few things to prevent them. Be one of the latter!

—Chapter 3

Prayer for every human[edit]

Many beautiful years

I kindly wish you today;

As many as your talents, have no fears,

As beautiful as you, I pray.

—Chapter 51

We simply are[edit]

Seen from above,

We are not men and women,

Husbands and wives,

Parents and children,

Dead and alive;

By far,

We simply ARE.

—Chapter 56

If you don’t love yourself truly[edit]

If you don’t love yourself truly, if you don’t trust in your personal value, you are nothing.

Fear and cowardness are mortal dangers that await you. They give birth to hypocrisy, flight from responsibility, undue shame, fear of what others say, lack of mutual help, abandoning the other in pain. Greed is born by fear of not having or of losing. Vanity is born by fear of letting show your lack of worth. Some people change when they conquer power; they become arrogant. They don’t feel powerful, because they know that the power is not theirs. Arrogance is born by fear of not losing one’s status, which is everything for them, because they feel they are nothing. Some people support you as long as they feel safe, and when they see their status menaced, they abandon you or pretend they don’t even know you. They may whisper in your ear: “You’re good, go ahead, but I don’t want to get involved any more”. Others fear that you may take their places, and then they steel your ideas and do not acknowledge that you are better than they are. Envy is born by the fear to try to be as good or as accomplished as the one you envy.

Do you envy anyone? If you hate yourself so much that you can’t admire them, then try to do just a small part of what they did. But you don’t do that, because you are lazy, or you don’t think you can. If someone is much poorer than yourself, instead of thinking you are better, help them get on their feet, so that you can learn to walk too. But you can’t, because you don’t have the time for that, or you’re ashamed. You can’t, because your soul is smaller than the point of a needle. If someone is much richer than yourself, and you know that they have stolen, then better turn them over than complain.

Some truths do hurt. Some truths don’t suit us. Some truths are like drilling a hole in the top of our heads. If we will not try to be honest with ourselves, if we will not start to know and accept our true worth, we will drown in the pitiful swamp of our own fears, we will continue to live our worthless illusions, we will think that we are princes and queens, owners of castles, when in fact we beg for a cigarette in the street. If you will not treat yourself as human, you will not be able to be mere animal.

—Chapter 5

The hands of women

The hands of women[edit]

Brothers! From so many wars, the world will perish like a body consumed by illness. You can’t build peace on the balance of terror.

Do you want to save the world? Put it in the hands of women. They will never send their children to die in war.

—Chapter 6

How to travel through life[edit]

How to travel through life

The one who steps over dead bodies arrives soon on the mountain top and, getting dizzy, falls from a great height. The one who sits on others' shoulders sees far away, but soon stops, because the others get tired of carrying him.

The one who holds the others' hands tight and pulls them, leaning on them when he gets tired, goes far and starts a new country, where he will be the king.

—Chapter 7

The good teacher[edit]

To want to make the others be like you, because you think that’s the right thing to do, it’s not a duty, it’s not a proof of love, it’s showing off your vanity, and a sign of unhappiness.

If you make someone repeat what you say, you turn them into a stone that will echo your dry voice. Better help them hear in themselves the echo of the words of the One who made them. Better help them listen their soul beats. Help everyone to find within themselves the way to the truth of the their life, because you can’t live in their place. That’s the true way to teaching.

—Chapter 8

The story of life[edit]

The life of every one of us is a story of which we are the main authors, but that we always write in collaboration. How beautiful that story is, that depends on our talent, but also on theirs. Sometimes, the others want to pretend that they are the main authors, thinking that they know better how the story should go, or they try to take away all the rights and benefits of the stories of our lives. The best authors are always the most imitated, and they are proud that they can serve as role models for other lives. But, as always, plagiarism is not the recipe for success. Everyone must write their own lives as they know best, or they will never be themselves, they will only live half a life.

Write a good story for your life. It is the story that lasts into the world. It’s the story that you will read forever.

—Chapter 9

Don't tell me you can't![edit]

Don't tell me you can't!

Maybe some people told you that you are too young and you have nothing to say. Maybe some people told you that your sun has already set anyway. Maybe you feel that you’re not so special, that you’re not important, too, and this very thought hurts you. You’re wrong in sharing this view; in fact, the opposite is true. You can be as good as the best. Even if I’m like everyone, there’s no duplicate, I’m unique, it all depends on how I can communicate! God created the world through will and words, remember? Of this world you are a proud member! It only takes one word, and you can do the most wonderful things on Earth! If you don’t feel OK where you are, search for a place where to follow your star. If you don’t go to the sea, I bet no fish will enter your net. If you settle for less, your life is just a mess. The one who wants more, lives more, for sure! Maybe they don’t let you. Maybe, until now, nobody cared about you. Maybe you just don’t want to take your head out of the sand.

But don’t tell me you can’t!

—Chapter 10

Past does not end[edit]

If you fear tomorrow, think of yesterday. Good or bad, our history is everything, and we should cherish it. It can never be erased. We will all eventually die, but the fact that we lived can never be wiped out. Being is the real gain that could not be lost. If we didn’t exist, we would have nothing; since we are, we have it all.

You are sad that time passes by? Shouldn’t it pass, you would not be. You are sad that time doesn’t turn back? Should it turn back, it would be like you never lived. Time can pass, but is never lost. Future dies out becoming present. Present ends up being past. But past does not end. So, let’s try to make the most of our history. Let’s try to make history.

—Chapter 11

"She is with you!"[edit]

When my mother left me, I asked God: "O, Lord, please, bring her back at least for a day, or for good!"

Of course, I didn't expect Him to do that, not even to answer me. But He answered, and He did what I asked, in a "dream experiment". Even now I cannot understand why He did it, given that my request was so shallow.

Here is His answer, translated into words:

"If I bring her back to you physically, you will not be well, even if you don't believe it. It would be too scary. Believe it or not, you got used to her physical disappearance since the moment she died. Moreover, she was old and sick. Now she's not anymore. Would you rather want her to be like that again? If I brought her back younger and healthier, it would be as if she never lived part of her life. She would not be herself. Would you want a mother as unwise as yourself?

But the toughest part would be for you to know that you had to separate from her again. The second separation would be much tougher than the first. It would be unbearable. And inevitable. Because I love you all too much to enslave you to matter or to eternity.

Believe in the miracle, but don't put your hope in the supernatural! I do not cheat. I'm the One Who made the rules of the game!

She is with you!"

—Chapter 12

That's what he told us[edit]

We didn't understand what was happening to us. We were never prepared for this. No one could ever be. You can be prepared for anyone's death. You can be prepared for your own death. But for this, you can't be. We thought that our little boy was no more. We thought that it was too little time. We thought that all was worthless. We thought that it would have been better for him if he had never been born. We thought that it would have been better for us if we had never been born.

But we didn't know back then that duration does not matter. We didn't know that there was no destruction, there was only passing. We didn't know that passing was not destruction. We didn't know that past never dies. Those minutes when we have hold our hands and looked each other in the eye were the most important time of our lives. It was then when we learned what love means, what communion means. It was then when we first felt that the whole thing was Whole. Then we felt and we understood. That's what we told to each other. That's what He told us. That's what he told us.

—Chapter 13

Missing someone[edit]

Missing someone

When you miss someone, you miss your relationship with that person. You miss “you two”. You miss your own past. But you are your past. You can’t leave it, even if you want. In fact, you miss yourself. So, if you find yourself, you don’t miss them anymore. Then, you can go on. Until other person will miss you. Our whole life is nothing but a series of misses. We miss and are missed. To miss is not to suffer, but is to end suffering. Missing is the essence of need. It’s good to miss and be missed. That means you exist.

Now you just have to also… live.

—Chapter 14

A word of God[edit]

The law of common sense is the oldest, and the only law that unites us all. After that came the laws transmitted to us through prophets and holy people. And after that, the laws created by people.

But the message of God is not easily transmitted and understood. He does not tell us to harm or oppress other people. He does not tell some of us that we are the best, or that only we are right. Any message, no matter from whom it comes and who transmits it, can be misunderstood and misinterpreted. However, the message sent into the world with every man and woman, on their birth day, never fails. Each one of us is a word of God. Let's listen.

—Chapter 18

The "revelation"[edit]

Birth and life are undeserved rewards, just like inheriting a fortune or winning the lottery. “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised”, says Job. We have nothing to say in that matter. We can’t ask for more than we have been given, it would be rude, it would be like when someone makes you a gift, and you say “I don’t like it, it’s not enough, I want something bigger and more expensive”. We are not afraid that the gift we received will be taken back, because we know that’s not possible (life already lived can’t be wiped out), but we want more, we want an eternal life, we want to be like God. But, in fact, this life is the “eternal life”. It’s “eternal” just because time can’t be turned back. What we lived remains lived. It depends mostly on us what and how we live. The great revelation is that it’s not the continuation that is important, but the “Existence” as a whole. All that has been simply Exists, there’s no need to “continue”. There is no denial of known religious truths here, but, on the contrary, there is a deeper understanding of them.

To reach this truth you don’t have to be virtuous, read mystical literature, go through certain life experiences, nor to practice asceticism, although all of these may help some people. There is no need to be a religious person. This truth can’t be understood and lived under the authority of someone’s teaching, nor through personal effort, but is rather something that comes spontaneously, and not through learning. It is a truth that insiders know, and that can be misunderstood by those who do not live it. You can teach others, but you can’t turn them into “enlightened” people. Each person is enlightened by him or herself. Some people say that this truth must not be said, that it produces turmoil, being misunderstood. In the past, people were burned alive if they said this kind of things, being accused of “heresy”, but the true reason was revealing a secret that could lead to social unrest. I think now we are more educated, and we can understand. I respect you as I respect myself and I think you are at least as intelligent as I am. I would like you to reach this truth, without having to go through what I did.

—Chapter 19

The Eternal Testament[edit]

I'm just a man who, like others, received a heritage and passes it on. I leave as a heritage to my descendants a man who was a stranger in strange land, and who now is home, in his homeland. A man who loved his friends so much that he gave them his life, and whom his friends loved so much that they gave him back their lives. A man who said that kindness is a mark of faith, and he who has not kindness, has not faith. A man who found the way not in the sky, but in the heart. A man who showed how simple is the life that people make complicated… They are Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Confucius… All of them, like others, are “a man”.

The Man.

—Chapter 20

Moments of eternity or the great secret of the insiders[edit]

Most people say that they believe in the afterlife or in eternal life. But how many of them really know what that means? Life is deed, it is action. After your life ended, can you do anything anymore? Can you still work or play? Can there still be time, after your time has passed? Great religions say that after life we continue to exist, but we can’t do anything to save ourselves, if we didn’t do that while we were living. That means we remain with what we lived.

This existence is all that matters. It doesn’t disappear, but it is not continued. What we didn’t do, we can never do, and what we did, we can’t take back. After we die, life does not continue, but is completed. Do not be afraid of darkness! Only children fear it. Do not be afraid of rest! Adults really need it. People would like an extra time after life, when they could do the same things they did in their life: eat, drink, have fun, and if possible, even steal or lie. But if they could do that, then life would be worthless. The value of life lies in that it is a one-way road, that you can’t erase and correct, you can’t do takes, like in making a movie, until you get it right. Every moment is as important as eternity, because it is part of it. There is no eternity without moments. God is eternity, and He gave every human a piece of His eternity. Let’s take care and keep clean our piece of time, in order not to be-speckle the eternity of God.

—Chapter 21

The creed of humankind[edit]

I believe that I Exist.

I believe that time gives us life and stops it, but does not take it back, because time only goes forward.

I believe that death is an end, and the end is fulfilment, completion, and not destruction.

I believe in the power of belief to change the reality, I believe in love and friendship.

I believe in faith that is not deception. I believe in knowledge, not in illusion. I want to know more, but i don’t hope more than I know today.

I believe in projects, but also in unpredictable future. I believe in life lived every minute, I believe in blue sky, in green leaves, in the sunset that announces a new sunrise, but I also believe in the last sunrise and in the last sunset.

I believe that all has an end that only makes things complete. But above all, I believe in what my ancestors did good and in what can I do to make Today be tomorrow an Yesterday that will be as good as possible for me and my descendants.

I believe that my ancestors believed the same, because perhaps otherwise I would not have existed and believed. I expect that my descendants would also believe that, so when the world will end, it will all be a fulfilled belief.

—Chapter 23

The Ten Commandments for everybody[edit]

1. Being born is the most important thing.

2. If you live with illusions, you don’t really live.

3. If you hold nothing sacred, you can’t live.

4. If you don’t rest, you can’t enjoy anything.

5. There is always someone better than you.

6. If you take someone’s life, you can’t use it.

7. If you ever think that you deceive someone, that’s yourself.

8. Something that does not belong to you can't ever be really useful to you.

9. If you lie, that means that you hate reality as it is, that is, you hate your life.

10. If you would rather be in other’s shoes, then you feel that there is no place for you in this world.

—Chapter 24

People, in a few words (a view of science)[edit]

God did not ask for people's permission before creating them. There was no one to ask.

When creating people, God asked them: Do you want to be simple and immortal, or complex, but mortal? They chose the second.

After creating humans, God asked them: Do you like life? They said: Yes, but not too much. Then you will live, but not too much, said God.

After creating man and woman, God asked each one of them: do you want to be alone, and immortal, or not alone, but mortal? They chose each other.

God asked man and woman: do you want to be just you two, and be immortal, or to be many, but mortal? They chose to share life with others.

If they remained at the stage of simple cells, people, like other living beings, would have been alone and immortal. But they "wanted" more and, at the same time, less.

God made man and woman as good as they wanted to be. He made them so good that they shared the gift of life with descendants, at the price of death.

—Chapter 25

The meaning of life[edit]

Birth is our greatest reward, and death – the worst punishment. We don’t deserve neither one nor the other. Do not believe in those who send you to die, telling you that you are immortal anyway. Do not believe in those who punish or fight death with death. Do not believe in those who want to force their beliefs upon you. Do not believe in what I say. Only believe in your good will.

Only believe in your good God.

—Chapter 26

Man and the clothes[edit]

"Clothes do not make the man”, they say… But how we look is perhaps more important than we could ever think. If you improve your looks, you can be treated like a prince; if you change your look for the worse, you can be treated like a beggar. Whoever you are, if your looks get bad, you can feel that people treat you like trash, even if they look at you wearing fake smiles on their faces. People can stare at you like you were a strange object, a curiosity, and not a human being. Most often with apprehension, even with fear, in rare cases with pity, and in most cases with a persistence that defies common sense. And most seldom with the respect every human being deserves. Some laugh, display shock, make comments without caring that you can hear them. Other turn their heads to the other side, to show you that they can’t stand to see you. Sometimes you may be labelled as incurably ill or homeless, even if you are not, only by the way that you look. Even people close to you can start looking at you differently. If you are dressed in shattered clothes, you don’t get recognized, even if you are the president. Other times, people are surprised to see you well dressed, if your face tells them that you could rather be homeless. Just try to go out into the street dressed in filthy or hardly worn clothes, and see how people look at you. Not clothes make the man, but his character and the respect he shows others, no matter how they may be looking. And knowing that misfortune can strike at any time.

And then, depending on your character, you can end up wishing your death, saying: “Thank you, God, for not making me worse”.

—Chapter 27

The people within[edit]

Me at home, me at school, me at work. Me with my friends, me with my love, me with myself. Me yesterday, me today… we tend to believe that we always behave in a certain way: that we are either daring or shy, either logical or emotional, that we are who we know we are. But, in fact, we are a bit of everything. When we have to save someone’s life, the most coward of us can become the greatest “hero”. And the one who is usually ruthless can “faint” when someone bothers him just a little.

We have many faces that we show willingly or not, depending on our mood and the situation we are in. Are those just masks? We are always fake, we are just playing roles? Or do we all have multiple personality? Not at all. As it is true that a group of people can behave like a single being, it is equally true that each of us holds all the others within. We he made us, God asked: do you want to be alone, or together? And we answered: together, because alone we will get bored. Then, He made us so that we can only be together. And He said to us: In order to always remember what means to be together, I will put a bit of others in each one of you.

—Chapter 28

People and power[edit]

People and power

Humankind has not survived thanks to its leaders. Most often, they have promoted war, fighting, and sacrifice. All peoples, states, and religions live through simple men and women, not through those who go to sow and confront death on the battlefield, or only send others to do that, nor through those who give their lives for the believes that only death can take away from them.

Humankind has lived through those who, without betraying themselves, knew that the head that obeys is not cut off by the sword, but instead can find ways of melting swords of steel and hearts of stone. We live through those who live their lives and work daily with modesty, or put their geniuses to the service of others. God only gives us the mind, people give us the power. Let’s not try to take all of it, or else we will not be able to carry it and it will crash us. We can praise power, but power will not lift us up. If you want power, beware that power will own you, and you will not own it. World cannot be governed by individuals, but by myths and institutions alone. There are no “historic figures”, but only “legendary people”, built by others. Theirs is the power. However intelligent we may be, without others we are nothing. Interest groups are even more powerful than leaders of vision, but the “interest group of humankind” is more powerful than any other. In order to live and to be ourselves, we don’t need models of heroism, sacrifice, and suffering, but models of measure and hard work, of good will and cooperation, of sincerity and creativity. We are all different, but united, vital organs in a living body. We are people. We can’t do without people, nor against them.

—Chapter 29

Heroes[edit]

Heroism and martyrdom lead to justifications like: “People died for that; we can’t give up”, which only increase violence. What shall we choose: the courage of sacrifice, or the modesty to get back, knowing that death only leads to death?

To be a martyr is to continue to believe that you are talking to someone who ceased long ago to listen and understand you… maybe that without heroes and martyrs we would not have fierce perpetrators or bloody conflicts. With “mad people” you can’t have a dialog, you can’t take them seriously as listeners. If they threaten you, you better say what they tell you and think like yourself. If someone puts the knife against your neck, you may oppose them, or, on the contrary, beg for mercy, but they will still cut your throat. It’s best to stand still and do what they say. That does not mean that you agree with them. That’s what people always should do when they are attacked by other people. With respect to maturity and reason, we are still in our childhood. Don’t you think?

—Chapter 30

I will not sacrifice myself[edit]

I will not sacrifice myself just to please the one who wants me dead. That would mean for him to win. But if he will still kill me, I shall win. Because after that, he can’t do anything bad to me anymore. Instead, he will remain alive, and others will be able to harm him. And anyway, he too will die one day.

But wouldn’t it be better if we both won?

—Chapter 31

We are not guilty[edit]

I'm not perfect. I’ve done a lot of mistakes. Maybe I don’t know enough: then teach me. Maybe I’m not intelligent enough: then enlighten me. If you are more aware, then wake up and wake me up. I know that it’s hard for you to do that. The one who is mindful can easily be mindless. Some people, the more intelligent, the more mean they are. But try! Maybe you have more faith than me. Live your faith! Some people just believe that they believe, doing many wrongdoings! Maybe you have more soul than me: if I have not enough soul, then you put it. But I’m not guilty. Nobody can convince me that if I feel bad, others will be better. Nobody can’t convince me that suffering is good. If somebody is in a coma, they don’t wake up if you slap them. If you torture me, you don’t heal me. And you don’t heal yourself. If you take my life, you don’t make yours longer, or better.

The feeling of guilt is a bad judge: it condemns good people and acquits bad people. The morning has come: it’s time to wash your face, and you will see more clearly. If wee see that we are not tainted, the world becomes cleaner. If wee see that we have no guilt, then the world becomes better.

—Chapter 32

People, be modest![edit]

People, be modest! You are the crown of creation, but that does not make you the kings of the world! When was the last time you hurt a human being with your words? You are the only beings that know they will die, but that does not give you the right to not let others live! Your soul is like the Maker, but you behave like a breaker! Don’t forget that every one of you is a vital part of the body of humankind! What happens with the body if the liver fights against the brain? Or if the heart gives up? Don't they all die? Wicked people, “animal” is a noble title for you… You think you are better than the lion? It kills to eat, not for fun. Better be animal, than venal.

You are not beasts… You are the children of God, but don’t you forget for a minute that even the virus is your elder brother…

—Chapter 33

Our home, what we made of it?[edit]

Our home

Us, people, are like some teenage brothers and sisters that the Father leaved alone at home, to take care of the house. But we, seeing ourselves “masters” of the house, we misbehaved. We called our friends and got drunk, got high, fought each other until we covered our faces in blood, had unprotected sex, ate all the food in the house, cut down the trees in the yard and started a fire with them, and we tortured terribly all the animals around the house.

Some of us fear that the Father will get back and punish them. But they don’t know that the Father will never get back. Because he does not punish, but only sets free. We will stay and live with our sorrows in this devastated home until we will realize that we should have listen to Him, that we should grow up and not be the same restless and reckless teenagers.

—Chapter 35

The journey of life[edit]

The journey of life

Life is like an ascent on a narrow mountain path, where your balance is always at risk between the stone wall of the world and the abyss of your own mind. On this road you face two great dangers: the panic produced by the inner void of helplessness, that makes you grip desperately on every break in the wall of reality, and, on the other hand, the temptation of “suicide” by jumping in the mental cliff of useless dreams. Sometimes, panic paralyzes us, reality travelers, pressing our face against its wall and stopping us to go forward towards the peak. Some other times, the thought of “jumping” through an escape from reality makes us waver, balancing like insecure acrobats on the edge of the inner void. But we find strength in the belief that, once we reach the mountain top, we will meet God, like Moses did.

The journey is long. Let’s not hurry, as to not lose our breath and our… brethren.

—Chapter 36


The road of life[edit]

The road of life has the same length for everyone. It’s just that some do not go on this road well equipped. Some forget to take their food with them, others run out of fuel. Some get confused at crossroads and take wrong or winding roads; others don’t stop often enough to rest and can end up in terrible accidents. Many stop along the road, just a few reach the end. Let’s do all we can to reach the finish line in the journey of life.

It’s like in traffic: our life, as well as other’s life depends on us. But let’s not forget: life is a leisure cruise, not a business trip. So the road is the prime destination for all of us…

—Chapter 37

About friendship and love[edit]

Friendship and love

You can stand next to me even if you don’t believe what I believe, or if you don’t do what I say and do. Even if you always disagree with me, you can be with me. If you will do me wrong, I will try to stop you. I will not hate you. I will try to understand why. I will be hurt, not because of what you do, but because that shows you do not care about me as I care about you. Maybe you don’t like something I say or do; maybe I don’t like all that you do. But I like you. And I will like you even if I will learn that you don’t like me. If you want to stay with me, I’ll be glad. If you leave me, I will not try to force you to stay: it would be useless, and an illusion. But I will try to show you that you have no reason to do that. If I don’t succeed, I will suffer, but I will find consolation in the thought that maybe you are right, maybe we will be better that way.

Whatever the case, I will not try to change you. I like you the way you are. Nobody could do a better job than The One that made you.

—Chapter 38

Eulogy to sleep[edit]

Sleep… the full rest. Sleep is the conclusion and fulfilment of all the ideals of humankind. Deep sleep. Dreamless sleep. During sleep, reality is not suppressed, but becomes virtual. It is the perfect quiet, the perfect balance. It does not deny what you did while awake, but sort of fulfils everything, for then you are separated from your work, you are not involved in it anymore. It’s like when we turn off the computer after we finish a paperwork: information in it does not disappear, it’s just that it is not… awake anymore. Sleep is not just rest, it is achievement, it is perfecting, it is perfection. God was glad after He made everything, and then He rested. Because He knew there was someone else to be glad of what He did. But we can’t rest just when we want. There is a time for sleep, like it is a time for everything. You can’t sleep all the time. You can only sleep after you are awake. Nobody is born sleeping. The one who tries to provoke his own sleep, mistakes it for destruction. But sleep is not destruction, it is continuation. Sleep does make sense only after being awake, after action, after creation. It saves you from exhaustion and finishes your work. And when all is exhausted, sleep will come again to save us, without calling it. “To sleep, perchance to dream” says Hamlet. Dreams… To sleep, that’s all. Not when you want, but when the hour comes.

Good night!

—Chapter 39

The strength of a woman[edit]

There is no stronger being than the woman who says: “This will not kill me… I will go on”, while gently sweeping up, with the back of her hands, the lonely tears on her cheeks. Let’s learn from her.

And, above all, let’s try to keep her from ever crying again.

—Chapter 41

The wisdom of a child[edit]

The wisdom of a child

Sometimes, the adult that says: “You don’t know… You’re only a child!” is more immature than the child she is talking to. The child is not always right, but he is always honest, even when he is pretending. He never hides his hunger for love. He never accepts reality as fate, nor separation as a necessity. The child asks: “Why is the sky blue? Why I can’t see grandma anymore? Why is sun rising? Why are people mean?” She wants an explanation for good and also for bad, and she wonders how God honors us with both. He never asks “Why me?”, only “Why not me?”.

If you beat a child, he never asks “Why are you beating me?”, but always “Why aren’t you loving me?” It takes a lot of maturity to achieve the wisdom of a child.

—Chapter 42

Codrin talks God with an unbeliever[edit]

CODRIN: If we understand God in the broader sense, as the idea of absolute, that is, of the unchanging, then there are very few people who do not hold that absolute does exist.

THE UNBELIEVER: Well, the problem with this is that you are taking a common word that means a specific thing, and simply renaming it "God" as if that changes anything. The only thing it does is allow believers to smuggle in meanings (tied to the word "God") and apply it to a context of something that exists and is true. But what is absolute anyway? How do you know a certain God concept is real versus those that are not? Do you think the Hindu god Shiva exists? If not, how do you distinguish your idea of God to that idea? Your decision? It's popular? This is why we need actual evidence, because that way we don't just have to take your word for it. Or a Hindu's.

CODRIN: You are right. We can't define the absolute. But we know it exists, the same way we know "something real" exists. There are many views on the divine, depending on the country and place of one's upbringing. Those who only believe in matter say that matter has no beginning and no end. Sounds familiar? For a believer, those are the attributes of God.

THE UNBELIEVER: That is physics. It's not a decision that a materialist makes for the sake of ideology. But materialists actually have matter to point to. You have no God to point to. So we go with where the evidence is: materialism. Your theology can mimic materialism, but until you have something real to present, it is just pretense.

CODRIN: What is "something real"? Nothing we know or say is pure reality. All is the result of a mental construction, which depends upon what one has learned. No one can prove that we exist. This goes without saying. All we do, including science, is based upon it. As for a personal God, there are scholars who doubt that people are persons.

THE UNBELIEVER: What scholars? Who are they?

CODRIN: John Watson and Frederic Skinner said that words like consciousness and person should not be used, because the realities behind them, should they exist, cannot be measured. The same thing can be said about God. But many people think he exists. The notion of person is as unclear as the notion of God. But, at least for practical purposes, we all speak of ourselves as persons.

THE UNBELIEVER: That is a problem of language, not of existence. People are known to exist. Gods are not.

CODRIN: Since we use thought and language to define what exists and what doesn't, a problem of language is also a problem of existence. It is mostly a matter of language. God is Being: "I Am That I Am", He said to Moses. Nobody can deny existence. The beliefs of human beings may not be so different after all...

THE UNBELIEVER: Tricky language you have there. It's almost as if you think language can force God into existence. It is notable that believers talk about Gods, but they don't show that they exist outside their mind. Why is that?

CODRIN: For the same reason you and I can't show that all our knowledge exists anywhere outside our minds. Or in our minds, for that matter.

—Chapter 43

The Guide to Life[edit]

Behave as if the fate of the whole world depended on your behavior.

Treat the other person as if she were the only person living on Earth besides yourself. If something happens to her, what would you do all alone in this world?

Let’s treat one another as is best for all of us. Being good to others is being good to yourself. You cannot be good to yourself unless you are good to others. What’s the use of cleaning up your backyard, if your neighbour’s is full of garbage?

Don’t blame anyone, not even yourself. Do not punish the fault, but correct the one who faults. If they are mean, try to make them better; don’t make them meaner by accusing and inflicting pain on them.

Even if you feel despised by all and treated like the last person, you can still become the most respected.

How you are depends greatly on what you do. So, do good things, to always be good.

Keep your loved ones always in your heart, and they will live forever.

Put your hope in the power of belief and love, in the world we build together with our minds and hearts. Even if body fails, culture prevails.

Listen to your ancestors. They are hundreds or thousands of years older than you.

The fact that you were born and you exist is the greatest gain. It all depends on how you manage it. The biggest loss would have been to never be born. One who wasn’t born can’t even die. But one who was born can’t lose everything. Not even death can wipe out the fact that one lived.

—Chapter 47

Key ideas and reforms[edit]

The New Faith proposes a series of educational, social, and spiritual reforms that should lead to a more peaceful and equitable society for all, a society where all people and cultures are valued fully.

Critique of guilt, shame, and sacrifice[edit]

Guilt, shame, and sacrifice should not be "taught" in school, family, and society. The notions and the feelings of guilt and shame are seen as dangerous, and their cultivation should be abandoned, as they legitimate and perpetuate violence, failure, and resentment. Guilt is misleading and useless: it is often felt by "good people" who have no reason to feel guilty, and can lead to self-punishment and even to suicide, whereas people who usually transgress norms, rarely feel guilty. Shame enslaves people to the opinion of others. Justice and ethics should be voided of emotion and resentment: the ideas of crime and punishment / sin and atonement should be replaced with the concepts of fault and correction.[5]

Sacrifice and self-sacrifice perpetuate violence within society. The cult of heroes and self-sacrifice is not encouraged. Nothing deserves people's sacrifice. Sacrifice is never needed. Where there are will and reason, there is no sacrifice. Martyrs are victims, and they should not necessarily serve as role models.[6] Sacrifice is frustration (e.g. the notion of 'sacrificed generations'), and always implies an expected reward (e.g. paradise promised to those who die in combat, or the often heard phrase 'I sacrificed myself for you, and that's what I get in return!'). To do something one loves, or to do something for someone dear must not be viewed as sacrifice, but prioritizing.

Learning from evolution[edit]

Culture and consciousness do not necessarily make people superior to other animals. Culture is not a perfection of nature, and when culture deliberately goes against nature, it is inferior to it. People should modestly see themselves not only as the most complex and evolved animals, but also as the youngest brothers of all living beings.[7]

When they cannot behave humanely, people tend to behave more destructively than animals. Specifically human shortcomings, such as social passivity, apathy, lack of involvement and solidarity, greed, vanity, arrogance, cowardice, dishonesty, all originate in fear of losing what some people do not really possess: a true sense of their value as humans. People's value does not lie in their social statuses, but in what they can actually do. People should give up living isolated in an imaginary world with artificial values (e.g., status), where they feel important and superior, and start living in the real world, where their true value lies.[8]

Evolution shows that increased complexity and differentiation are generally attained at the price of reducing the lifespan of organisms. Simple organisms are less functional, but virtually immortal. Sexual reproduction is a form of biological altruism, that can help complex organisms multiply, but also brings them mortality.[9] Human consciousness is a very complex phenomenon, and cannot be very long-lived. People are the only beings that know they will die, but that does not give them the right to not let others live.[10] People should not be addicted to consciousness and obsessed with immortality; although consciousness may be addictive, it need not be eternal in the traditional sense. Throughout history, people have generally accepted their biological mortality, and decided to get along and be altruistic enough to share with descendants the gift of life.[11]

A deeper understanding of afterlife is that it is, in fact, this life complete. The notions of hereafter or the world to come do not necessarily refer to other worlds; they can be understood also as referring to this world, seen from outside time and space. Thus, people should concentrate on living a full and good life, not awaiting punishment or reward from the outside. The end of life is not destruction, but completion. As sleep shows, it is important not to always be conscious and aware.[12] Because the world is a whole, people cannot really and completely separate from life and from the ones they love.[13]

Meaning of life[edit]

People do not need salvation from an external danger, but from a wrong take on their own life.[14] The real danger is an "ethics of catastrophe". Life does not necessarily mean suffering or trying to liberate oneself from suffering.[15] To search for happiness means to be an unhappy person. The need for an "eternally happy life" may in fact indicate a deep discontent with life.[14] Life is more than seeking reward and avoiding punishment. Life should be lived primarily for its own sake.[12]

Views on leadership[edit]

Leadership is provided by myths and institutions, and not by flesh and bone people. The legend is always greater than the man or the woman. The power of leadership is in the minds of the governed, and not in the hands of the leaders. Sometimes, the desire to lead is not a desire to help others, but a desire to dominate and to feel important by achieving status, in people lacking the sense of their intrinsic value. Everybody should do their work with modesty, without trying to exercise power on others.[16]

Sharing of values[edit]

Traditional age- and gender-specific values should be cultivated and shared within society. Children's values of honesty, curiosity, and attachment, [17] as well as traditional feminine values of caution and tolerance should be promoted in society, as they contribute to a more creative, kind, and secure world. Personal and family relationships should prevail over patriotism ("women would never send their children to die in war").[18] Also, the exchange of values between people is encouraged (e.g., men sharing feminine values, and women sharing masculine values). A world where men share traditionally feminine values is described as being more peaceful, and one were women share traditionally masculine values as more powerful.[19]

Human interaction[edit]

People are too centered on appearance, and too keen on making evaluations. As soon as they see or meet other people, they tend to classify them as appealing or disgusting, beautiful or ugly, rich or poor, healthy or sick, and ultimately, good or bad. People should learn to treat themselves and others not with admiration, contempt, or pity, but with the respect owed to every human being.[20]

Views on tradition[edit]

Tradition should not be seen as opposing the progress of society. Views on tradition and religion, though different, as they pertain to different cultural and linguistic contexts, are generally complementary. Sometimes, to be "politically correct" means to be humanly wrong, as when someone is ashamed of their traditions thinking they may offend others. To cultivate one's difference is not isolation, and to acknowledge the difference in others is not discrimination.[21] Everybody's symbols and traditions should be cultivated and may be proudly displayed in public, as long as they are common sense.[22]

Diversity[edit]

Diversity is viewed not only as a characteristic of society, but also of the individual. The diversity within every person reflects the diversity of humankind. Everybody is in everyone, so all can be as one: though different from each other, all people can and should understand others and get along with each other, because each person has in them a bit of everyone else's character.[23]

General ethics[edit]

The New Faith promotes an ethics that highly values both the individual and the world: the best way to behave involves feeling responsible for the whole world, and for every person with whom one relates. Every person should behave as responsibly as if they were world leaders that could influence the fate of humankind, and should treat each and everyone as if they were the only other - the person without whom they would be the only living human. Any person, whatever simple they may be, could influence the whole world for better or worse, just like a world leader. For example, a rescuer in a disaster, or a terrorist attacker do influence, via mass media, the state of the whole world.

From an early age, children should do the exercises of imagining themselves influencing the state of the world, in order to understand how powerful, important, and hence, responsible they will be as adults, and of imagining what would happen if they were the only living human, in order to realize that any person with whom one relates, even the worse, is better than no person at all.[3]

References[edit]

  1. Teachings on Being, p 4
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Book of Being, p 31
  3. 3.0 3.1 Teachings on Being, p 46
  4. Küng, H., Bowden, J., editors (1996). Yes to a Global Ethic: Voices from Religion and Politics. SCM PRESS. ISBN 9780334026334.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  5. Teachings on Being, p 32
  6. Teachings on Being, p 31
  7. Teachings on Being, p 33
  8. Teachings on Being, p 4
  9. Teachings on Being, p 25
  10. Teachings on Being, p 33
  11. Teachings on Being, p 25
  12. 12.0 12.1 Teachings on Being, p 21
  13. Teachings on Being, pp. 12-13
  14. 14.0 14.1 Teachings on Being, p 22
  15. Teachings on Being, p 17
  16. Teachings on Being, p 29
  17. Teachings on Being, p 42
  18. Teachings on Being, p 6
  19. Teachings on Being, p 7
  20. Teachings on Being, p 27
  21. Teachings on Being, p 1
  22. Teachings on Being, p 17
  23. Teachings on Being, p 28

Further reading[edit]