As an Agnostic Pantheist, I feel it is important to define what I mean by Faith, and its hypothetical perfection. First and foremost, the “Perfection Of Faith” is a very tangible and concrete goal for me. It is a goal that outweighs the vague and ephemeral notion of happiness, although for the sake of simplicity I will refer to my goal as if it were a pursuit of happiness.
The three definitions that align with my personal understanding of faith are:
Confidence or trust in a person or thing.
Belief in anything as a code of ethics or
standard of merits.
The obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise or engagement.
Faith as defined here is a way of life that is not limited to dogma or belief in arbitrary authority. As for its perfection; that would be a life thoroughly permeated, shaped and defined by my own healthy conscience.
By focusing on happiness as a goal, I am acting under the impression that I am capable of unflinchingly standing behind my deepest convictions of right and wrong, as well as living those convictions out completely.
This assumption lays emphasis on three important aspects of my capacity as a human being. My ability to soberly study and filter my experience with Reason. My Will to define what is right and wrong, and my ability to live with an attitude of sustained effort toward my convictions and goals. I’ll call that Vitality.
So, in focusing on happiness, I am assuming
Responsibility for my Experience, Perception and Relationship to the world. I am also daring to affirm my Will, as opposed to automatically conforming to the behavioral patterns and ethical code of others. Implicit in all of this and in relation to my supposed pursuit of happiness, is my Vitality. To think, to feel, to reason, to take up responsibility and affirm my will in matters of right and wrong all amount to an unfledged effort and a premature outcome without Vitality.
Vitality is the consummate lifestyle in which all of the previous mentioned implications of my pursuit of happiness are grounded and continually brought to life. Vitality is a kind of discipline that gets me passed the finish line, ultimately with a sense of peace. But Ironically, what I assume to be happiness cannot be prognosticated as the eventual cause of the aforementioned peace. In fact, happiness is the most permeable factor among all of the other included factors. The more involved I am with growing as an individual the more happiness may take on new textures and tones; therefore what seemed like a tenable path toward Nirvana yesterday may be deemed inadequate in less than a few months.
Knowing this, focusing on happiness is like betting on that lucky butterfly in Venezuela to deliver the perfect wave behind the shoreline of a Far Rockaway beach. In explaining Chaos Theory, one scientist said that there are two ways to look at the potential affect of small changes on big systems. We can either walk away with a dream about a butterfly, disregarding the reality that the flapping of most butterflies amount to nothing special, or we can take away from the theory that initial conditions matter.
I think its the same with happiness. Living a life of reason, will, and vitality is my way of consciously focusing on the initial conditions. If those are satisfied then I see no reason to regret, complain, or worry. For me, this is what comes closest to the perfection of faith.