SONGSOPTOK: «Belief is simple acceptance that a proposition is true, without regard to reason(s) while faith is the acceptance of a proposition rather than an epistemological (evidence-based) reason.” Does this reflect your understanding of the two words? If so, why? If not, then how would you distinguish between the two?

MARY: Basically I agree that belief is reliant on proof, whereas faith is dependent on trust. If you are forced into a spiritual crisis, faith is when you totally release the human confines of your beliefs. I believe it is a step closer to the divine. True faith is when you finally accept, without intellectual reasoning to support it.

SONGSOPTOK: Each person can inherit, adopt or construct her own set of beliefs and faiths, or it is a combination of the two. How would you qualify your own personal set? Were your faiths and beliefs handed down to you by someone? Who? Or were they acquired? If so, how?

MARY: During my childhood, my father played a principal role in laying out the foundation for my faith. Because of the tragic loss of my two siblings at young ages, my father searched for answers. As he journeyed the vast highway of   religions to satisfy his better understanding, his beliefs would change. It was a rocky road I traveled with him, often, seeing his frustration.  Then my mother’s health failed, and the whole family’s faith was dearly tested. This was when I truly understood his need for answers, because now I also shared them.  As I rode the rollercoaster where beliefs failed me, I felt an anger build inside me.  As the years progressed, and my mother became totally bedridden it further became a wedge that blocked the road to faith. Little did I know, that my husband’s constant failing heath would lead me to that ‘leap of faith’ that to this day affects my life. Unlike me, my father had long since overcome his need to have all the answers. 

SONGSOPTOK: In your own personal sphere, do you consider worship as a religious act involving rites, rituals or other types of practices? Or is it related to something that transcends religion? Can you explain your position with some examples?

MARY: I was raised primarily as a Baptist, but when I married a Catholic my eyes really opened up to the practices of another faith. Even though both were Christian based religions, each taught ‘their way’ was the right way. Worship is where the heart and spirit connect with the truth about God, Jesus Christ and redemption according to the scriptures. There were similarities where communal worship was practiced to encourage a closer relation with God. Both were heavily based on the books of the Bible, but the later relied so much more on rites and rituals foreign to me.  So I consider rites, and rituals to a degree as a certain religions interpretation of scripture.

SONGSOPTOK:  “Faith takes over where reason leaves off” – do you agree? Can you explain your point of view?

MARY:  We are creatures of free will which includes doubt. According to the
Bible in James 4 :7-10 it says, “purify your heart, you double-minded.” Also in Acts 15; 7-10 it instructs us how to have faith by saying “purifying their hearts by faith.”  So I believe the constant need to base reasoning to believing can leave you unfulfilled. It is only by finally gravitating to a ‘leap of faith’ you are no longer limited in your expectations.

SONGSOPTOK: Did you ever face a conflict between your beliefs, reason and knowledge? How do you react to such situations?

MARY: Several years ago, my husband’s health forced me to face my inner most views on all that I had been taught. He had terminal cancer in which two weeks later he was to be told. For those weeks I struggled alone questioning my beliefs and faith. Reasoning where and why again tragedy raised its head. This lead to me confronting God desperately praying that I needed proof he existed. First, this was something you didn’t do. My Christian beliefs had scriptures to back up anything. So instead of offering me comfort, I was so busy trying to reason what I should believe or expect. This is something I can’t put into words, other than to say the day before he was to see the doctor to be told, I finally took that ‘leap of faith.’  I began praying again with my limited, judgmental expectations of the past, until something in opened up inside. I had been so terrified, vulnerable, and alone, I guess it pushed me to a limit in the past I had never journeyed.  You might say I was free at last to understand. All I know was this deep sense of harmony and acceptance.

SONGSOPTOK: Are you a believer? What do you believe in?

MARY: Yes, I am definitely a believer as my ‘leap of faith’ that day resulted in what you could term miracles. My husband’s cancer was gone, and from that day on I felt a connection, and peace I had never before felt. Three months after this event, I woke up a writer.  I remember the first time waking up with words in my head thinking I was losing my mind.  I am far from having all the answers. I believe there is a God, or creator who designed us for a better good. That we are all a part of this design and maybe Heaven is when we are all joined together for eternity in unity and love. After being in a major car wreck two years ago, I also experienced an angel experience. All the circumstances leading up to this wreck made no sense including how I later had seat belt wounds when I had on no seat belt.  The love I felt radiant from the angel was beyond anything I can describe

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that it is essential to convince and convert others to your own system of beliefs and faiths? Why? Can you please describe the reasons for your answer?

MARY: All that I can say is, I’m a simple person who’s only mission is to share what has happened to me. Every day I’m reminded of my faith as I wake up and have to write.  Sometimes I will feel lead to share and leave whatever conclusions up to the listener. I don’t feel the need to convert someone, but I do feel a deep sense of sadness for those that do not believe in any creator or God.

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that each individual has some form of faith or belief, whether related to religion or not? If yes, then what do you think are the main reasons?

MARY: Yes, I think the majority of us have some form of faith or belief to explain the complexity of the universe we live in. It doesn’t matter if it is a faith-based belief system, or a non- faith belief system, they both fundamentally require faith and not rationality as their foundation.

SONGSOPTOK: “A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.” said C.S. Lewis. Do you agree with this view? Or do you think that some form of worship is indispensable for humans? Why?

MARY:  Well, I believe C.S. Lewis understood that no matter how hard you try to deny the possibly of a creator, it is impossible since all five senses are simulated to the possibility. In other words, you can’t deny his glory. It is a personal choice in what form of relationship you have with this creator. According to scriptures such as Matthew 23:28 as I quote” So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” So I believe that worship has to be true of spirit. Something that can be done in a house of worship, or in the privacy of your closet.  But to definitely have some form of relationship on an everyday basis.

SONGSOPTOK: You may or may not choose to answer this – but nevertheless we would like to know who do you worship? Why do you worship? How do you worship? And above all, in what way does it help you in your everyday life?

MARY: I basically still follow in the Baptist religion form of Christianity.  Every morning when I have to write, I meditate. I open myself up to all that that is around me and also pray. It is a very personal thing to me, and I look for guidance from my Heavenly father.  I am a member of a local Baptist church, and try to attend Sunday School, church services, and Wednesday prayer meetings. I usually attend with my daughter, and grandson which I find uplifting. We don’t all share the exact belief system, but enough to be there for each other. So I believe in conclusion, my faith is not so much of having all the answers. It’s the simplicity of accepting God’s love without judgement and worrying about the necessity of having all the answers. The Bible is a complex book in which often scriptures can be interpreted to be taken many ways. I have come to the conclusion this only divides.

MARY L PALERMO:  A poet, songwriter and musician. She lives along the Texas Gulf Coast. Her 2nd poetry book called The Enchanted Poetry Book is due in a few months.  Married to her childhood sweetheart. Her passion is writing songs. Which can be found on You Tube, and ITunes and CD baby. Also loves to garden, travel, hike, and paint. She loves to play the guitar and piano/keyboard. 

We sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support.
Aparajita Sen

(Editor: Songsoptok)


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