When we’re younger, leaps of faith are all the rage. Take a stand for something you believe to be true, whether your religious tradition or your favorite band. As both Blaise Pascal (sort of) and Neil Peart put it, “You bet your life”. We take a leap of faith in the sense of choosing something to believe in, and believing in it passionately.
As we grow older, something else often becomes more important. Valuing other people, spending time with those we love, cherishing moments rather than arguing about ideas – even if ideas remain important to us (and I’m not saying they shouldn’t), values can come to take a more prominant place.
To value human beings, to defend their freedoms just as you would want yours defended, to protect their right to explore their own path in the way you want to be allowed (and hopefully encouraged) to explore yours – such things also take a leap, a committment beyond what can be proven. No amount of evidence can prove scientifically that human beings are valuable. Ultimately it comes down to a leap, but this time it is not a leap of faith (at least not in the modern sense of that word), but a leap of love, of compassion, and of kindness.
Kierkegaard famously spoke of a leap of faith that involves the “suspension of the ethical“. I think rather, ultimately, it comes down to (or should come down to) making a leap that creates and sustains the ethical.
You may or may not have taken a leap of faith. Are you ready nevertheless to take a leap of love?