Theology Thursdays: A Plea Of Faith: To All Those Who Would Be A Part Of Establishing The Ten Ministries Of The Millions More Movement by Ausar Ma'at
Last October 30th, the Honorable Louis Farrakhan delivered an extremely powerful lecture at Mosque No.45 in Houston. In preparation for the key instructions of Wisdom we were to receive, South western Regional Minister Robert Muhammad admonished everyone to "Listen today like you have never listened before..."
In so doing, it was possible to clearly discern a central theme based on what is the natural response of any human being when faced with great adversity, and little chances of succeeding against nearly impossible odds: Faith.
This was made all the more evident when the Minister issued the following statement, "The Millions More Movement drew the line in the sand and the Battle in the Sky has begun." As everyone took in a deep breath to let those words sink in, he was very right in adding that, "You weren’t thinking like that when you went to D.C. because you were thinking of only ending our suffering—but ending our suffering ends their power to rule."
To mentally tackle, conceptualize and process a statement like that, then to internalize it to the point where you prepare yourself to face what comes with accepting the weight of responsibility it bares, unequivocally and irrefutably takes a lot of: Faith.
But what is Faith? An important part of the answer to that question involves the notion of "Belief". Because when beliefs are not directly observable through empirical methods of verifications, we usually associate them with the concept of faith.
This is also why many people reject this concept, since they claim that more often then not, having a Faith or a Belief in something is based on a presumption that cannot be proven in any way, shape or form, and that it is unfounded, therefore it is baseless.
Most proponents of that position will use the "Faith in God" as a prime example. Then, it is alternatively suggested, as another example, that to believe in a heliocentric galaxy would in turn be considered a "sound" belief, because it can be proven and be observed. Hence, it cannot be considered faith, but rather an acceptance of concrete and tangible facts, established on scientific principles.
Nonetheless, in actual practice, one cannot escape the concept of Faith, particularly when we look more closely at its definition. It is said that Faith is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen".
Since most people associate the unseen with ghosts and parallel universes where demons have horns and angels are white toddlers with wings on their backs, religious skeptics tend to dismiss that definition as naïve and ascribe to it the notion of mass control, often by the agency of religion and religious institutions in general. In light of such "Faith", who can really blame them?
But the above definition has of course, much broader and more pragmatic implications. In fact, were we to see everything about the world through firmly established theoretical methodology, which relies on a scientific experimental process filtered by the critical thinking rules of observation, hypothesis and verification, and as a result, if we as Black people, had or were to be or become completely faithless according to the above definition of the term, how would we have a basis for the aspiration of our liberation, especially in light of the enormous opposition we have to overcome in order to attain it? This is one reason the Honorable Louis Farrakhan said, “if it were not for the Black Church, we would not have survived.”
So the latter question is relevant, because justice, freedom and equality, as far as we have been concerned over the past 400+ years, are all still founded on hypothesises without any empirical verification in our lives. They are concepts of an ideal, but based on a real need, which emotional, logical and too often even physical observations have lead us to conclude were valid ones, but it is primarily based on the complete or near-complete absence of them in the societies in which we find ourselves, since we've never actually experienced them.
Therefore, when we consider that throughout history, human beings have demonstrated an intrinsic need for justice, freedom and equality, it naturally produced a cry and a yearning in ourselves to find and generate the way to materialize those principles.
Over the centuries, this produced the various organizations, churches, political parties, mosques, temples, revolutionary attempts and programs that we found, in great measure, mobilized and organized at the Millions More Movement on Oct.15th, 2005. On this platform, for the first time in our history, ALL spectrums of Black Thought were represented on ONE united platform.
However, due to the fact that none of these ways, individually and of themselves, have verified our complete liberation yet, in some cases because these ways lacked the efficiency to do so, where as in other cases, or in one case in particular, it is we who lacked the proper will and discipline to pursue the way in question, all of them represent an hypothesis for liberation.
Not to mention that ever since we have set foot on any of the soils of the Americas, we have suffered from the antithesis of every one of those principles we yearn for, namely enslavement, injustice and unequal treatment. So their diametrical counterparts also constitute, since we still have not enjoyed or taken advantage of the proper channels to substantiate and secure them for ourselves, our common goal as a people.
In sum, because they remain, in essence, an ideal that we do not yet see, touch or feel at this point in our history, they are the "substance" of "things" "hoped" for, as well as the "evidence" of things "unseen".
Consequently, it follows naturally that all those who would be a part of establishing the Ten Ministries of the Millions More Movement, will be required to fully internalize the above meaning of the word: Faith.
This unprecedented time in our history represents a great turning point for all of us. It is the initiatory and seminal stage of a complete liberation process, which the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad termed the “Resurrection”.
However, as we embarked in this process, we also initiated an opposite and equally determined counter-process by the antagonists of our aspirations. That means our FAITH in those aspirations and the resolve on which it stands will be greatly tested.
Hence, to solidify it, as it represents, according to the Book of Ephesians, the shield of our armor, it is indispensable for us to analyze the foundational constituents of its intellectual and spiritual fabric, which will enable us to strengthen that shield.
In order to help us to do so, the next part of this article will deal with an examination of the worth and weight of the five key words that make up its definition; substance, thing, hope, evidence and unseen.
In the first part of this article, we concluded with the need to analyze the five key words that make-up the definition of Faith, namely; substance, thing, hope, evidence and unseen.
According to Mr. Webster, sub·stance is defined as "that which has mass and occupies space; matter. A material of a particular kind or constitution. Essential nature; essence. Gist; heart. That which is solid and practical in character, quality, or importance: a plan without substance. Density; body: Air has little substance. Material possessions; goods; wealth: a person of substance."
The word thing is given the following definition "An entity, an idea, or a quality perceived, known, or thought to have its own existence. The real or concrete substance of an entity. An entity existing in space and time. An inanimate object. Something referred to by a word, a symbol, a sign, or an idea; a referent. A creature: the poor little thing. An individual object: There wasn't a thing in sight. Law. That which can be possessed or owned. Often used in the plural: things personal; things real. Things. Possessions; belongings: packed her things and left. An article of clothing: Put on your things and let's go.
And Hope is "To wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment. Archaic. To have confidence; trust. v. tr. To look forward to with confidence or expectation: We hope that our children will be successful. To expect and desire. See Synonyms at expect. n. A wish or desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment. Something that is hoped for or desired: Success is our hope. One that is a source of or reason for hope: the team's only hope for victory. often Hope. Christianity. The theological virtue defined as the desire and search for a future good, difficult but not impossible to attain with God's help. Archaic. Trust; confidence. Idiom: hope against hope. To hope with little reason or justification."
The word ev·i·dence is said to have this meaning, "A thing or things helpful in forming a conclusion or judgement: The broken window was evidence that a burglary had taken place. Scientists weigh the evidence for and against a hypothesis. Something indicative; an outward sign: evidence of grief on a mourner's face. Law. The documentary or oral statements and the material objects admissible as testimony in a court of law. tr.v. ev·i·denced, ev·i·denc·ing, ev·i·denc·es. To indicate clearly; exemplify or prove. To support by testimony; attest. Idiom: in evidence. Plainly visible; to be seen: It was early, and few pedestrians were in evidence on the city streets. Law. As legal evidence: submitted the photograph in evidence."
And finally, for un·seen we are told, "adj. Not directly evident; invisible. Not previously read or studied: an unseen translation." Also, "adj. 1: not seen or perceived; "unseen natural resources" 2: not observed [syn: unobserved] n : a belief that there is a realm controlled by a divine spirit [syn: spiritual world]"
These definitions bare a consequence on a bold question the Honorable Louis Farrakhan asked during his lecture, to quote him, he said "How will you know if the idea of our liberation is the right idea?” Remember the man who is asking this, has been fighting incessantly for our people over the past 50 years leading up to that moment.
He asked that question after addressing our beloved agnostic, atheist, nationalist and socialist Brothers and Sisters regarding the belief in God. He did so, because whether you are religious or not, both the notion of our liberation and the notion of God are inextricably intertwined with the concept of Faith.
What serves as the basis for one, serves as the basis for the other, in the sense that neither are "said" to be empirically observable and demonstrable at this point. As dedicated freedom fighters in the cause of our people, we need to re-examine the Minister’s question carefully.
Particularly those of us who have accepted the idea of agnosticism or atheism, and who have done so as a rejection of the false concepts and ideas imparted by our former slave-masters’ religion, which was meant as a control mechanism.
Hence, by adopting new ideas, which, in all honesty, were also forged by our former slave masters, namely those of Darwin, Nietche, Marx and others, stating that since religion is corrupted, the concept of God must be false, it implied that all beliefs should be substantiated by empirical knowledge.
The latter part of that proposition is perfectly sound within its contextual boundaries, but the former one needs further re-examination. Also, if one is not careful, it may get in the way of the kind of faith one needs to have in order to take on the battle we engaged ourselves in on Oct.15th. Willingly or not. Because often, a dogmatic and rigid understanding of that idea could lead to what is called philosophical positivism; or the belief that there is no difference between something that exists but is not observable and something that doesn't exist at all.
That thinking, when it reaches the point where it leads one to renounce to the entire concept of faith, in God or otherwise, and if applied to the colossal challenge set before us as a people, can be a direct impediment to our will for liberation. In the sense that it is a very propitious channel for the generation of doubt, in begging an obvious question; if our path toward freedom, justice and equality, is not a directly evident or observable one, does this mean it does not exist?
Because it naturally follows that in accordance with that thinking, for all intended purposes, until this path is materialized into a physical reality that we can actually see, touch and feel, as many skeptics would say about the existence of God, all we have with us is the faith that it does, and that we will see it one day. This is why we are still fighting. But how can we solidify the resolve on which that faith stands?
In relation to that question, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad saw and extricated the Wisdom of the Scriptures, which insistently ties together the story of the struggle for liberation of the Children of Israel - or the Exodus - with the trials of that people in their own internal spiritual fight to do the Will of, and develop strong faith in, their God.
Clearly, the Scriptures are demonstrating the close connection and complimentary nature of the two by bulking them in the same story line. It also points to the fact that what will give a people the strength and power to stay the course in this sort of battle, literally involves a certain "leap of Faith" into the unseen.
To that degree, the belief in the unseen, as required by both the Bible and Holy Qur’an, does not mean to believe in parallel universes as such, but to have faith in the immaterial idea of a coveted reality promised by God.
These Scriptures, and others throughout the world, refer to this idea as the Kingdom or Government of God, which stands on the basis of peace, freedom, justice and equality. Ultimately, this is at the very heart of our battle for liberation today.
So in the final part of this series on Faith, we will attempt to illustrate how this is also at the heart of our Faith, as we engage on the battlefront to establish the Ten Ministries set forth by the Millions More Movement through the Honorable Louis Farrakhan. But it is also at the heart of what will test that Faith. I believe we will conclude that it is immensely relevant.
And lastly, but most importantly, we will attempt to determine if in fact, there IS a substance for the hope in Justice, Freedom and Equality. As well as if there is any evidence for the “as of yet” immaterial idea of our liberation in general.
In other words, is there truly a basis for our Faith, and if so, how can we challenge it even further, in order to become STRONGER warriors in the face of great opposition?
In any battle, particularly during Great Wars, unless the Generals, Officers and Infantry persons are properly armed and armored, they will suffer great loss and death. Once we cross that battle line, we have officially engaged into the war. It is too late to fall back.
You must stand and fight with courage and your faith in victory against those who fight for an opposite idea of the world. The winner will then be in a position to establish his own New World Order. As it was after World War II, when America won, she found herself in the position to shape the world in any way she saw fit, at the expanse of the will of those she vanquished.
In so doing, it instantly gave rise to what became the worse fear of every American President since that war, the fear of being the one President to loose the unique position of power that America holds in the world. To be the weak link. It has also served as the core catalyst and motivation between every president's consistent line of Foreign Policy over the past 60 years.
If we recall Steven Spielberg's animated film, The Prince of Egypt, this was the obsession of Pharaoh. He constantly felt the pressure to live up to his father and to the Pharaonic legacy that stood behind him. In fact, this was the central motivation for his refusal to let go of the Children of Israel.
Even though he knew in his heart that it was the right thing, he didn't want to be the weak link, and risking to become the one who would end the hegemony of his forefathers' Great Empire. So to borrow the words of President Eleanor Roosevelt to Harry Belafonte, Moses had to "make him do it".
If there is any resonance to this film with today's reality, it indicates that we, as a people, will have to fight until the end and at every step of the way for our complete freedom, justice and equality.
Thus, the Honorable Louis Farrakhan requested that we study his Oct. 30th lecture thoroughly and repeatedly. As it contains the vital instructions we must follow in order to win and survive. He also pointed to the Book of Ephesians 6, which aptly prepares us for the battleground. I have taken the liberty of underlining key words and elements of that passage:
"12. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15. And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
Whether one believes in God or not, or whether one believes in a mystery god for that matter, the above passage describes the quintessential principles we will need for this victory to come.
Since I have faith in this "pas encore" manifested truth, I would like to reissue Minister Farrakhan's challenge and address it particularly to my beloved agnostic, atheist and socialist Brothers and Sisters, but to all religious people in general. This challenge is a plea of Faith.
Not simply faith in our liberation, but faith that there is a God Who is backing this entire liberation process. I would like to challenge you to challenge God through adding your Faith in Him to your Faith in our liberation.
In the same way you challenge the odds against that liberation on the basis of your desire for freedom, justice and equality. Of course, as philosopher John Hospers stated in his book An Introduction to Philosophical Analysis, "Indeed, it seems too obvious to mention that when people appeal solely to faith as a way of knowing, they do so because there is no evidence that what they say is true ...".
Therefore, I also challenge you, in the spirit of critical thinking, to re-examine the misconception of God you have come to reject, in light of the knowledge laid by the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, in his book: Message to the Black Man (please order a copy from the Final Call if you don't have one).
From that perspective, within this process of re-examination, it is important to bare in mind the definition of faith provided in part I, along with the definition of the five key words we set forth for analysis in part II of this article.
Because when we consider the idea of faith and the resolve on which it stands, looking back on Oct. 15th, 2005, we can convincingly affirm that the Millions More Movement I>became the substance [That which is solid and practical in character, quality, or importance] of things [or a quality perceived, known, or thought to have its own existence] hoped for [To look forward to with confidence or expectation], which is the acquisition of Freedom, Justice and Equality.
Furthermore, in light of that same definition, we can also strongly argue that the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, through his fastidious persistence and perseverance for the past 50 years, his supremely high moral character, his profound goodness and generosity, his unusual Christ-like Love for us as a people, serves as the evidence [something indicative; To indicate clearly; exemplify or prove. To support by testimony;. Plainly visible; to be seen] of not only the possibility, but the presence of a thing or idea called the Universal Government of Peace or the Kingdom of God on earth, which at this point, remains unseen [not directly evident; invisible.]
So in weighing the evidence for and against the hypothesis of placing our faith in God as we struggle for liberation, consider that if the Minister's stand does, and it does, serve as a favorable indication of the possibility to materialize our just common cause, it should, and does, also, serve as evidence of the Source and the Power that he proclaims to be the core central motivational force of his resolve to stand. That Source is his Faith in God, who came in the person of W.D Fard Muhammad, in July 1930, to raise the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad from among us.
How do we know its his Faith in that Source?
Because when the Honorable Louis Farrakhan stood up, there was no Salaam Restaurant, there was no Final Call Building, no Mosque Maryam, no Farmland in Georgia, nor was there a Million Man March and a Millions More Movement. All there was in 1977, was his Faith in the idea of the Kingdom of God as taught by his Teacher. It was his perfect degree of commitment to this idea, shall we reiterate; through his Faith, that materialized what was at the time only reduced to a thought after the destruction of the Nation. We, all of us, in that regard, are standing on his Faith.
But it is time for us to step out of the sideline, and to help build with that same perfect degree of commitment to the idea of our liberation through intelligent Faith, that we may partake in its realization. In other words, if my Christian Brothers and Sisters will pardon my rewording of the Word and please, read it in its proper context, we must: “let this Mind be in us, the same that is in Minister Louis Farrakhan.” Surely, that mind is without question, the Mind of Christ!
Thus, in doing so, as I respectfully invite you to challenge the God who backs that man’s mind, and consequently, to challenge the idea of God in and of itself, please consider that I am not doing so in the spirit of conversion or proselytism, but in the spirit of love and the critical need for us to empower ourselves in this war by any possible righteous means necessary.
Lastly, in reference to faith and science, neurologists are discovering the specific regions and areas of the brain directly responsible for the spiritual or faith experiences. It is interesting to note their relationship with the brain's serotonin, which we know is stimulated by tyrosine, more present in those with a higher capacity to produce melanin as a result of darker pigmentation (although this is only a sideline observation, its a hint to the wise).
It leads them more and more to realize that belief in God is in fact intrinsic to human cognitive faculties, and not an acquired behavior as was previously conceived. In other words, they are beginning to conclude that we are naturally programmed to believe in a Higher Being. It also forces them to admit, as it was concluded in a May, 2001 Newsweek article entitled Religion And The Brain, that:
"For all the tentative successes that scientists are scoring in their search for the biological bases of religious, spiritual and mystical experience, one mystery will surely lie forever beyond their grasp. They may trace a sense of transcendence to this bulge in our gray matter. And they may trace a feeling of the divine to that one. But it is likely that they will never resolve the greatest question of all--namely, whether our brain wiring creates God, or whether God created our brain wiring. Which you believe is, in the end, a matter of faith."
In light of what we are faced with as a people today, the side of the fence we choose to stand on in regards to that subject has never been more critical. Because it determines what will be the basis of the resolve on which our faith in freedom, justice and equality stands.
On this note, to all those who would be a part of establishing the Ten Ministries of the Millions More Movement, I would like to leave you with the words of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad: "We gotta get up", and since we have done so on Oct.15th, therefore, to conclude the latter part of his instructions, " and we gotta go to work!".
I greet you in peace, Asalaam Alaikuum!
Ausar Ma'at is a writer and a researcher. He is currently completing a book in French called "La Résurrection", as a French introduction to the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, December 15, 2005