Faith for the 21st Century The 21stFaith projects researched Faith as understood by its etymological viewpoint (‘Fides’, defined as ‘to command, to persuade, to trust). This led most of the participants to view Faith as a feeling. Therefore, from an etymological point of view, one could be expected to question their emotions on questions of faith: where could one be persuaded? Where does one feel commanded? Where could one find trust? If Faith relies on emotions, then Faith may be first instinctively interpreted individually through an emotional level. To understand Faith for the 21st Century, one may investigate the influence of Faith on the individual. What does Faith inspire? What does Faith bring? This paper will argue that, in the 21st Century, Faith drives actions; Faith becomes identity, and Faith can evolve into truth. Faith defines actions; Faith drives actions. This theme is a key finding of our project. Feeling the raw power of Faith in the everyday, in purpose and desire, was investigated several times during 21stFaith with one project using it as its main concept. Alexandra and Theodore’s thought-provoking piece asked the question: ‘How significant is Faith’s drive to motivate us in our work?’ Together, they used the brief to test their own Faith in the creative process. They used it to challenge their practice, focused on time and surface. See 21 , p. 80-83. What are the motivations behind actions? Do beliefs define the individual? How much can one achieve with the support of Faith? Faith can be harnessed to reach goals, going further than the expectations anticipated and help the individual and/or collective to have faith the action has purpose. Faith merges with identity; Faith can be heard as a call from within. The relation of faith to identity highlights how Faith can give courage and drive. Faith can be derived from an identity, as identity can be derived from Faith. However, with a new generation of people facing a faith-less pursuit of false identities in the 21st Century, how can we be sure of Faith’s significance, and indeed its existence, in a new world of identities. Kevin questioned his own Faith in the anime culture and what the myths and narratives of anime brought him. Anime is considered a source of inspiration to Kevin, becoming a driving force to face his fears, to believe in the unbelievable, and to move forward at any costs. In this sense, Kevin found Faith within an identity; he felt an emotive response from a cultural set of values and used those values of said identity to motivate him in everyday life. See 7 , p. 50-51. Which identity can you create a bond with? How can Faith lay the path to a fulfilled identity? How can Faith help the identity grow? Myths, if understood as a collective knowledge stored in stories, help to guide the individual in understanding their position in life. Faith becomes truth; Faith as a moral compass. If what an individual believes in has the power to create the reality in which they experience the world, then Faith creates a bond between the person and their way of making meaning out of the world. To change the myth is to change the reality, because reality is malleable through stories. Grace’s piece investigates ancient knowledge to find the truth she feels, understanding faith as plural to invite compassion, especially in the women’s bodies. Ancient knowledge of the body can be merged with current views, adapted to fit today’s narrative, so as to embrace the past to reshape the future. See 1 , p. 36-37. What knowledge do you choose to believe in? What defines right and wrong? Does knowledge shape reality? If Faith becomes knowledge, then Faith shapes the world surrounding the individual.
Before continuing the exploration of the 21st Century’s perception of Faith, and the differing artists’ responses to the question, we will briefly define Faith as we are using it: Faith is not a word directly linked to theology or religious practices. It is a word used to describe our investment in certain practices and actions, emotional and physical, which shape our identities and lives. Faith and Social Dynamics During 21stFaith, a keen interest in researching the cultural aspects of Faith was expressed by many participants. This gave a layer to the understanding of Faith as a collective phenomenon. Faith, when exhibited within a collective, needs to be organised, often with a set of myths, narratives, artefacts and rituals behind it. When the organisation becomes easy to share and interpret, those collective Faiths can be referred to as a ‘beliefs system’. The beliefs systems are behind many cultural habits. Is it an independent choice to decide what to have Faith in? How is Faith shared? How does Faith influence the social sphere? What seems common in the social aspects of Faith is its desire to answer the existential questions of why love, joy, pain and death exist, and to find solace in the need of feeling loved and to belong. This section will investigate Faith as a binding contract, Faith as common goals and ideals, and Faith as a way for the individual to belong within the collective. Faith unites societies; Faith creates collective bonds. Through collective stories, different Faiths help to relate themselves to one and other, giving a sense of belonging and importance to those who understand them within their communities. Faith links people from differing social backgrounds by a common belief. Yusta’s project explores the death memorials left in the secular city; their ephemeral aspects filled with hope and unity crossing multicultural Faiths. Those memorials are often for the humans, not for Gods. The existential question of death humans have asked about for thousands of years have not yet disappeared and Yusta highlights their possibilities. See 6 , p. 46-49. How can faith make sense of these existential questions? Can faith be the binding link of communities? The collective understanding of those existential questions relating to love, purpose and death will help create new societies for the 21st century. Faith is shared; Faith expresses itself through common goals and ideals. Faith creates connections between communities and individuals, but how? Different Faiths, at their core, are often similarly comprised of people who want to be heard. Rituals, organised meetings and the re-telling of stories illustrate how Faith can be used to connect people. Through the investigation of rituals surrounding Christmas, Kelly highlights the influence of food within the relationships of the individual to families and communities. Food becomes a shared ritual. Kelly questions the role of the cook, the ingredients and the presentation of such rituals. How does one respond to artefacts of tradition, as opposed to tradition itself? See 22 , p. 84-85. What is the outlet of Faith? How is Faith materially shared within closed relationships? How is Faith materially shared to the broader communities? By sharing rituals with the collective, individuals connect to one another and develops identities. 13