I am still talking about faith, but not in the way that I have been. I have been talking about why and what people put their faith in. Some put their faith in science and some in religion. Others put their faith in themselves and, still others in God.

Each of those objects of faith has its own value to the person who is putting his faith in it. In other words, when I approach a cow for milk, I am demonstrating my confidence in the cow's ability to provide that milk. I think that the cow is the sort the produces milk and I think the cow actually has milk in her. I may see that the cow's utters are full and may have even seen other people or a calf retrieving milk to help bolster my faith in her milk producing ability. By demonstrating that I am trusting the cow to provide milk, I am proclaiming that cow's trustworthiness to provide milk.

if I put my faith in a worm to produce milk, I will be sorely (Sorely: To a very high degree or level of intensity especially of an unwelcome or unpleasant state or emotion) disappointed. But, if I put my faith in a cow to produce milk, I may be pleased with the result if all things are in place as they should be in order for a cow to produce milk.

A cow can produce milk, but not for those who attempt to extort the milk from the cow. We have to approach the cow in the proper manner to extract the milk. Threatening, or pleading with the cow will not result in even a glass of milk. Even if we approach the cow in a correct manner and the cow has no milk at this time, we will fail to gain the result we expect. But applying the hands to the utter that is full of milk, will give us plenty. Even though the faith in the cow to provide milk is legitimate, if our manner of extraction is not the correct one or it isn't time for the cow to produce milk, we will fail.

When we fail to get what we are expecting from the source of our faith, we may find that we become afraid to put our faith in that source. The legitimate source of our faith is still there and is still legitimate, but we have failed to approach  the cow in a manner that will produce the expected result of our faith.

When I fail to gain any milk from a cow that otherwise provides milk for others, I won't necessarily notice that it is my own approach that is at fault. Instead, I may blame the cow or say that the milk is only for some, but not for me. When I fail in my approach and then blame the source of the faith for my failure, I tell the story of a cow that doesn't produce milk. The result is to dishonor the cow's gift and reputation.

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Whenever we talk about faith, it is a sure thing that the Bible will be referred to and this isn't any different.

There are different examples of faith exhibited in the Bible.

There was a man who had leprosy. This man was not a believer in God. Rather, he was a believer in many gods. One day, someone whom he had captured in a war with Israel told him about a man in Israel who knew the God who is all powerful and could heal him of his disease. The man's faith in this God was not based on a promise from some authority whether written or learned. It was based on his knowledge that this God was the one who created all. The one who created all would be able to heal one of those He created.

The man who needed healing did not believe in or trust this God. He thought his gods were superior to this one because the people who trusted this God were conquered by him and his gods. The only thing that he had going for him was that he knew his disease was incurable and that he would die with it and that this one person claimed that this God could heal him. So he went.

One day, while Jesus was walking with a crowd, a woman who had an issue of blood for several years argued with herself that if she could but touch the hem of his coat, she would be healed. This belief didn't come from anyone in authority who told her this. Nor did it come from something she had read about Jesus. It appears that she just believed it. Jesus told her that her faith had made her whole. There was apparently some understanding of Jesus that made this woman have faith in his ability to take care of this situation. And - she had no other hope available to her.

Another time a Centurion came to Jesus to tell him that his servant was paralyzed and suffering. After Jesus offered to heal the servant, the Centurion told Jesus to just say the word and it will be done. There is no indication that the Centurion was anything other than a Roman officer who worshiped and served many Gods, one of whom was Caesar. So, now that this man has heard of a healer close by, he came to him. The man believes in Jesus' authority, but not necessarily that Jesus is his savior.  There was no solution to the suffering of his servant unless this man could heal him. So, he went to Jesus and Jesus proclaimed this man as having more faith than all in Israel.

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My observation of faith is that is is usually available when we have no other choice except to rely on it. This is not a bad thing because some might believe in something simply because it is the convenient thing to do. No. That motivation for faith doesn't make the faith or the act of trusting right or wrong.

For the most part, I don't simply do whatever anyone tells me to do. I don't even necessarily believe everything that those who are supposed to know say I should believe. I don't know if that is just a quirk of my own, or if it is what everyone does.

When I go to the doctor, and I find that I have some disease that is incurable and could, ultimately, result in my early demise, I may not believe it right at first. Even if I believe that I have the disease, I may not believe that it is all that serious or that it is incurable. But, if the doctor describes ways that I can stave off the attack, I may decide to do those things in order to avoid the end I would rather not participate in.

I may eventually believe that the disease and the effects of the disease are real and cannot be avoided. But, until then, I may attempt to do things that others say I should do in order to recover from it. I will believe and try these things because I have no choice other than to ignore the warnings and advice. After I have found that those things don't really help, then I may give in to believing that it is as bad as reported and that the solutions are provided through those who know more of the disease.

If I have enough money or have insurance to cover the expense of the medications or procedures that will result in slowing down the disease, then I will spend the money and claim the insurance in order to avoid unwanted pain. But, if I don't have money or another way of acquiring the medical relief, then I will know that I have God to rely on. In relying on God, I may be trusting that he will heal me, or that he will supply the needed medical resources to help me or that, even if I suffer and die, He is going to help me endure and move through with the path I am on.

Even if the very first thing that I thought of was to ask God for help and healing when I first heard the news, if the healing wasn't immediate and obvious, the other steps would still be taken until I came down to no other help but God. I may have asked Him to make the doctors wrong, or to heal me of whatever it is at first. But, eventually, while continuing to ask for the healing, my faith and dependency on him will show up when I have no other options at my disposal.

There is faith all through this scenario. There is faith that God may make the doctors wrong, or that He heal me. There is faith that he has provided means not know by the doctors to give me healing. There is faith that He will provide relief to me through medical procedures and, finally, there is faith that He will personally give me relief and help during my ordeal. All of these things are a trust that I put in him to accomplish things that I have hoped for.

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Putting trust in something or someone is essentially what faith is. The result of that trust is some sort of action which comes from decisions based on the faith.

If I believe that the steps are not reliable, then I may attempt to avoid using them. Or, if I do use them, I will step gingerly. However, if I trust the integrity of the steps, I will not hesitate to step with all my weight on each stair going up or going down.

Another funny thing about faith is that we attempt to have faith in the things that we really don't have faith in. If we have faith in it, then we live accordingly. Here, in the Willamette valley, we have very little faith in the weather predictions. They are very nearly always wrong. It's probably the same in other places, but I live here and I know it is true about here.

I want to ride my bike today, so I am looking at the weather report to see if it is a good idea. If there is going to be a snow storm, I should avoid riding. I see that the weather prediction is for light rain. That is reasonable weather to ride a motorcycle around here, so I am planning on doing that instead of driving my car.

My decision to ride the bike is supposedly based on my faith in the weather report even though I just said that it can't be trusted. What I am doing is choosing to trust the weather report because, what I really want, is to ride my motorcycle. If the report is wrong and we have a major storm while I am out riding, I will have still ridden the bike and I can just complain about how unreliable the weather predictions are when I am done.

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Believing in Santa Clause was not a difficult thing to do. As far as I know, he existed in my memory for my whole life until the day I lost faith in him. I can't really say what day that was, or even what year. I just know that I didn't believe in him when I was in school and I wasn't surprised that he didn't exist and that everyone who proclaimed his existence while I was younger were now all of the same opinion that I was.

I wasn't happy about the lack of faith in this person because the results were not as pleasant as when I believed in him. I no longer received gifts from him. Instead, I was now to take part in the giving of gifts myself. It was a natural conversion just like moving from the time before thought into that time I thought about things. I never realized that time was coming or that it had passed, but it did. One day I had a difficult time communicating with people and some time later, there was no problem doing so. These changes were just a movement from one room to another in ease and that is what it was like moving from faith in SC to knowing that he doesn't and probably never did exist.

I don't remember a time when I started trusting my parents or my teachers or my friends. I think that is because trust is not a difficult thing to have. To not have faith requires work while having faith is just a natural process of living. When I drive my car, I don't refuse to get in to it because I think it will blow up or it will break down. I just get in it and start the engine and drive it. I have faith in that machine. When it doesn't run right, I am surprised.

But, if the car never ran when I tried to start it even after getting it repaired, I would begin to doubt its claim that it can be reliable and start looking elsewhere for a form of transportation I can rely on or have faith in.

When we sit down to a table to eat, we don't test each item chemically to determine if the food is spoiled or poisoned. This is even true when we eat at McDonalds or Taco Bell. We just trust that the food is good to eat and are surprised and even angry when the food wasn't as we expected because our trust was violated and we can even feel vulnerable. We need faith in order to live our lives. It's when we are always afraid that we aren't able to live.

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We all believe things that we have neither seen, heard, or touched and our level to the commitment of those things is determined by a at least a couple of possible factors. Remember that this is what is in my mind, so I could just be skipping over things that my mind decided was not important. Sometimes, it does that all on its own without even asking my permission and, sometimes, I get to be very involved in the discussion and decision. I am not sure which is best.

One factor in determining our level of commitment to a belief we have is the perceived effect this belief has on our lives. Most people probably wouldn't die for the cause of thinking fish just because the result of that belief has no benefit to anyone who believes it. I imagine that it has some benefit to people who want everyone to believe that animals are just like humans. So, those people will defend the notion of thinking fish if they have related the two concepts and feel like the human-like animal idea is important enough that it warrants defending the thinking-fish belief.

My belief in Santa Clause comes by very authoritative sources indicating that he exists and, does indeed fly through the whole earth in one long night distributing rewards and punishments. To consider no longer believing in this fellow, I consider whether the belief has benefited me in some way or will in the future. I may determine that belief in this guy would bring me pain and misery in the future. I may realize that it wasn't he who gave me the gifts I received every Christmas Eve. Instead, it was someone else who took it upon themselves to attempt to bring some joy into my life while we celebrated this special day each year.

The authorities I speak of are my teachers, parents, grandparents and - even more important than these - my older friends and relatives who would be considered my peers. Trust in these people helped me have trust that SC will come every year and bring me gifts if I behaved myself in a worthy manner. Later, I realized that it was even the governments of the world and the churches who helped solidify this belief in my mind. I never saw him. I didn't talk to him or touch him, but I believed in his existence and his mission.

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Now that I've told the whole store about my thoughts of faith in the speaker, I don't know if I am not going to lose some steam on this subject. But, I will give it a try anyhoo.

The speaker seems to have some sort of authority or special knowledge about fishes that we humans don't have. Those things give the speaker an aura of authority that gives the listener an out when it comes to accepting or rejecting things it says. After all, why would it say things that need to be rejected? Does it really matter if the speaker thinks the fish think? Or does it really matter that we think the speaker thinks?

This believing something that is unbelievable under normal circumstances, is a kind of faith. It is a trust in the speaker because we assume the speaker is just reporting the truth as it was created to do and that truth is scientifically verifiable and can be trusted as well. This is the kind of faith that relies entirely on the source of the information we are trusting. The source of the information isn't really the speaker. The speaker was just saying what it was told. The real source of the information given to use are the people who study and get paid to research these animals. We trust that these people aren't going to mislead us because they are trained scientific professionals and we all kind of put stock in those three words here in the US of A.

This, of course, is the same faith that people have when they believe that the sky is falling because we feed our cows to much grass, or that the earth has never ever been as warm as it is now and that's because we live in houses. Even though these things are really nothing more than superstition, people are adamant about them. Even people we would think should know better because they have had very expensive educations.

But, when it comes to this kind of faith, there is no amount of expensive education that will keep us from believing.

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The voice in the speaker at the aquarium that December a few years ago told me something very interesting about fish that I had never really thought was more than something contrived by story tellers to make movies more interesting. The speaker said that the fish did some things after they considered other things and, basically, deduced that this action was the best of several they could take.

The speaker said that the fish thought about what it should do and made a decision based on that thought. The rest of the visit that day had me trapped in thought about all the different things that these fish were actually thinking. It was quite funny. I know because I was reporting the fish thoughts to people and then I would laugh at the fish for thinking those things.

That is why one of my daughters suggested that I name my blog "In the Mind of a Fish". Or, it is why I thought of naming it that if they hadn't actually suggested it as I imagine they did. In any case, the name has to do with faith.

I imagine that some people who go to the aquarium believe the speaker when it tells them that the fish have thoughts like we have thoughts and that is curious. Some people, I suppose, already think that fish are really people and they have thoughts because they read about that in stories and saw it on TV. But, some probably just take the words of the speaker as if the words were actually accurate in describing how the fish came to the point of doing one thing instead of another. (I personally think that the fish do what they do because they don't know that they can do something else.)

What is happening in this situation is that the speaker (the actual electronic speaker mounted in the wall) seems to have some kind of superior knowledge about fish that us humans couldn't possibly have attained while eating our dinners, going to work and raising our families. I don't know if it is because the speaker doesn't have a body, or if the speaker speaks with such confidence. But, for some reason, no one at the aquarium that day seemed to feel that the statements might actually be inaccurate when reporting the thoughts of the fish.

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As this isn't really a topic of interest, I think I am going to be finding other things of more interest to me, so there will be more put into these entries that have less to do with the subject matter of choice. They say that less is more and more is less. Now I know what they mean.

The thought comes immediately to mind that I first thought of calling this blog, "In the Mind of a Fish" because that is what one of my daughters suggested for the name. At least I got the idea from her, so as far as I can tell, she actually gave me the name to use. It seems like it could have been Helen's suggestion, but it seems like Summer would be more likely to come up with such a fanciful name.

LaFonda and I were together with all of our daughters and their families at a resort on the Oregon coast for our Christmas get together. I believe we all enjoyed our time together and it provided a lot more of the living conversations that can be had instead of the rushed, thought out type that you usually have to come with during short visits. Those are difficult for me, so I enjoy the longer visits for better strung out conversations.

While we were on one of our outings one day, we went to the aquarium out there and looked at all the fish and water life that they had captured in their displays. We were able to enjoy seeing and hearing our grandchildren as they got to see animals that they had only read of, or saw on TV at best. At one of the walls where there were lots of different animals and a voice was talking out of the speaker at us so that we could know what it was we were looking at, the speaker said something quite funny.

I don't really remember what it was that the speaker said, but, as I said, it was quit funny.

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