About the Issue

 

The Promise of Faith

Imagine our ancestors, millennia ago, roaming the wilderness. Painting a cave, chipping a stone, gazing into the fire. What faith means to them we cannot know but undoubtedly: they did believe in something. In their ability to confront deadly beasts, to trust their fellow humans, to forge alliances… that they and their children might survive another day.

There is always the promise of light in faith, but this light often proves to be a will-o’-the-wisp that leads its followers into the bog and not the clearing. The border between faith and fallacy blurs easily. When our modern cynical mind thinks of faith, it often pictures false priests, inflamed sects, toxic ideologies. But there is much more to faith than this.

We can believe in anything: we can believe in God, in ideas, in love, in ideology, and believe in our own truth. We can believe in spirituality, just as we can believe in the rationality of science. We can believe in a higher power, but we can also place our faith in ourselves, too, and we can call that self-reliance. We can believe in others, and we can call that trust. Or we can believe in the future, and call that hope.

We all need faith in some form. Routine suffices only for the familiar. We need faith to venture into the unknown. Particularly when risk analysis, logic, and a sober mind contradict us. Without faith there is no revolution, without faith man could not have walked on the Moon.

Without faith, there is no inspiration, hence there is no art. As the life and work of any artist illustrate, art is as much the product of faith as its source. Writer and spiritual leader Marianne Williamson and artist Imre Bukta, keynote contributors of this issue, were born a month apart and almost share their birthday around the time this issue was printed. Could they, one born in Houston, Texas, the other in the small Hungarian village of Mezőszemere have got to where they are now without faith? Could the young Williamson imagine that one day she would inspire thousands seeking faith? Could the young Bukta believe that his pictures would capture the imagination of his whole country and take him to America? Whatever the answer, the dream of the artist – be it the American or the Central European Dream – cannot be achieved without faith.

The Continental Literary Magazine’s focus, “Faith”, is published in the shadow of the global pandemic, the economic and ecological crises, and the war. The writings shared here remind us of the many and changing faces of faith—for which we have greater need now than ever.

FROM THE ISSUE