Doubting Faith

The Ugly Face of Doubt

“Practice the true way of faith and eliminate doubt. You are allowed to live in the midst of divine virtue.”

– Konko-Daijin, III Shinkun 1-33

Today I write about an issue which has affected myself and others I care deeply about. It has most likely affected you too if you are reading this post. That awful and unwelcome feeling: doubt.

Doubt can really be the undoing of a faith-full person. As someone who worships Inari-Okami, I used to have doubt. Sometimes it still raises its ugly head. “Why am I worshipping a block of wood? What is this elaborate ritual for? Am I insane? I’m not even Japanese, why am I doing this?”

Inari-Okami will often crash down and remind me of my faith during these times. Indeed, faith is really that strong. Focus not on why you shouldn’t be doing this, or how silly you feel – real faith will overcome these feelings. The strong and energetic feeling of divine communication is something that transcends this reality. It is warm and electric, it makes you feel truly alive. It removes fear of others hurting you, of death. It reminds you that you have a divine protector who will help you pave your life path.

You Are Not Alone

You will never be alone when you have faith – even when you feel that the gods* have forsaken you. It may be that their message is not getting through to you, or that you are so wrapped in negativity that not even the words of a god can penetrate your shroud. When you feel awful, why do you think that taking a moment to relax – lighting some incense, mediating – can calm your soul so much? It is because you have opened your heart to the gods and their energy will caress yours into calm. Incense and meditation can be invaluable for being attuned once again to the gods.

When you feel doubt creeping in, try to replenish your devotion to the gods. A simple walk in nature or a prayer can boost your spiritual psyche a lot.

Faith is Not Out of Reach

One important thing I must stress is that faith is not something that has to be attained. Just simply recognizing that we are not alone and that there is a higher power is showing faith. Some people might only increase their faith after a particular event in their lives, but it shows that they had some faith to begin with in order to increase it.

I feel that a lot of people try to get the gods to do things for them and not realize that they must also put effort in. Please do not expect the gods to be miracle workers. For example, you could pray and pray for money but without an oppotunity for the money to come in then how can the gods help you? If I was praying for money I would increase my chances of getting such money by trying to sell on new platforms, trying new products, maybe even buying a lottery ticket. These are ways I can increase the chance of the gods helping me.

Often people pray against what they need and then lose faith when the gods do not provide them with this. The gods are not genies – they will bring you what you need, when you need it. Remember, ‘need’ and ‘want’ are very different.

Keep Faith and Keep Positive

I hope that this small blog entry may have inspired and helped you, even if just a little. If you are feeling lost then try go back to the basics. Thank the gods for food and water, for shelter and good health. Think positively and do not allow negative thoughts your time.

Show faith in the gods and your life will be more positive and more prosperous!

– Fox of Inari




* = I usually use the term ‘kami’ but I understand that not everyone refers to deities as this. I consider all gods/kami/deities of equal importance, and so I have chosen to use the more universal word ‘gods’.

(Written with the help of Inari-Okami)

2 thoughts on “Doubting Faith”

  1. I try not to let worries of faith interrupt my practises. From what I can gather from my own studies and observations, faith isn’t really the be all and end all of Shinto; ritual for its own sake because of tradition, or because it feels good, or because it just seems “right,” seems to be pretty common in Japan. I find that the less I worry about whether or not I have faith, and concentrate more on my understanding of my religion through research and simply through practice, the more spiritually at peace I feel. I think that faith is something one works gradually towards through ritual and prayer – doubt is both natural and healthy, and I think the best thing to do is just not worry about it and carry on doing what feels right for you. That’s my opinion!

    1. Yes of course, particularly with Shinto 🙂 I am speaking from my own opinions, and as a Shinto-Pagan, not just Shintoist. Your comment makes a lot of sense to me though, thank you very much!

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