Greetings from Spockgirl Musings, where logic rules, but the frailties of
human nature, genetic inadequacies and hormonal imbalances wreak havoc.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Faith or Belief...

Executed May 30, 1431

I was at a friend's antique shop several years ago and started looking through a box of old postcards. In that little box, I found a handful of black and white ones from France, a country that for some reason I have always had a fondness for. There were a couple street scenes from early 1900s Paris, a few of Jeanne D'Arc and a couple more from a country estate in Rouen, if I remember correctly. At some point I decided to make enlarged copies of some of the postcards, from which I took the above photo.  I think even as a kid I was intrigued by the story of Joan of Arc, and still am today.

I have been wanting to post this image for a while, but couldn't quite find enough reason to do so, until a little nudge reminded me that something in the month of May pertained to her life. So.. yes... of course when I checked, it was her death that occurred in May. But tonight as I was thinking about her life and her death, the word "Faith" came to mind. Then.. the question... did she die for her Faith or her Belief? I'm sure there have been many before me who have pondered this very question and who have written about it at great length, but to me, that is neither here nor there at this point. I sat here staring at this, and after surprisingly short deliberation, I came to the conclusion that the answer was slightly more complex than the question. She lived and died for her Faith, but she was executed for her Belief. Something to think about.

The meaning of Faith is something that I have pondered yet not pursued in writing to any great extent, but this may well end up being the little nudge I needed to do so.  If only my thought processes would return to somewhere even remotely close to fully functional, I might be able to proceed.


thormoo said...

SG-I had high hopes of getting up this morning with nothing important to do, nothing to really think about and just go out, walk perhaps hit a golf ball or two...and now you've got me thinking about Faith or Belief!

I'm kidding of course...that is the type of question (faith or belief) that I often find myself thinking about. I think about it in my own life because there was a time, not really that long ago I felt almost as if I possessed neither faith or anything!

Yep, I just thought I existed, much like a rock for no apparent reason..alas I couldn't have been more more...

Spockgirl said...

Definitely something to think about in great detail, but also something that can be pondered on the golf course as well.

DaveO said...


Belief facilitates faith. Her faith in her belief caused her to act in the name of her belief. Actions can be justified, or excused by faith and belief, or in spite of one's faith and belief.

Jeanne d'Arc was murdered for neither. She died because she was a nuisance to powerful people. May I recommend an examination of the fates her immediate subordinates and peers.

Neither faith nor belief lead her to be murdered. Her actions did.

A modern analog is rai (sp?). Faith vs. belief vs. action. An example you may enjoy is Cheb Klaled's "Aisha."

My two cents, adjusted for international exchange :)

Spockgirl said...

Ah... You are more black and white than you would appear. "Belief facilitates Faith." I will disagree with you on that point and will say part of a comment I made elsewhere was "Faith transcends Belief." In this case I removed her from the political machinations and power struggles (of which my knowledge is marginal at best) from that time and place, and looked at her solely as a human being having both Faith and Belief. Certainly her actions resulted in the manner of her death, however what was the impetus for her actions? Faith or Belief? I look upon the essence of Faith or Faith in its purest form unsullied by the interpretations and definitions of man within the parameters of religion, or of "Belief".

Thank you for your two cents. Can't buy much for that these days. It might actually payoff for a complete post regarding "Faith".

DaveO said...


My riposte is to respectfully disagree with you, unless I'm respectfully misunderstanding you.

Faith's other name is Trust. Joan of Arc trusted in her belief that she was called to act on G-d's behalf. She made the decision to put herself 'out there' and be used by the political forces of the time. She made the decision see her initial decision through to the end.

Her faith and belief did not force her decision. To say that faith and belief force anyone to do anything denies the person his or her free will. In denying one of their free will, they can not put faith in a belief, or even come to belief initially. :)

Faith doesn't transcend belief. One may have more faith than belief at times. At other times one may have more belief than faith. They ebb and flow as a countering balance to each other, and together they serve as a counter-balance to spiritual vacuum.

Yes, my comments are rather stark. You presented a position that seemed without nuance ("or"); and the opportunity to engage in a discussion lacking discernment of the many shades of grey was too good to pass up.

En garde

Spockgirl said...

Bring it! Just kidding... sort of. I will... at some point... apply this to an essay regarding "Faith" and take Joan out of the equation. By the time I get around to it however, I may not still be blogging.

Yes... no... I agree to disagree and will pursue this in due course. Fascinating it is and ever shall be.

DaveO said...


Yes, bring it! :)