All right, this one I can respond to. Your feeling of futility is completely understandable. It is late, and quite possibly too late. And yet you choose to persevere, to do what is possible and what might have some positive effects in the full understanding that it might have no effect at all. That is what is meant by “faith,” without which we cannot survive.
Let me explain, but briefly: I am an atheist, and have been for roughly fifty years, although I refused to say so in so many words until fairly recently. Virtually all of the language to express certain realities comes down to us from the Abrahamic Tradition, and since those realities are critically important to our being fully human I use that language.
I wrote a little piece on this very topic in one of these forums within the past week. I can’t find it right now, so one that I have deleted, possibly the one about the Anthropocene. Faith has nothing to do with a “supreme being” who lives on a cloud, or with “belief in things unseen,” or with belief at all for that matter. It has to do with persevering when all seems lost, in preference to doing nothing and waiting to die. In a sense it is also the opposite of despair.
I have always found Kierkegaard, “the father of existentialism,” most insightful, even though he remained in The Church for all his days. He deals with faith in Fear and Trembling and with despair in The Sickness Unto Death. Both are short and often bound together. I need to sleep now, but tomorrow I will see if I can find that earlier essay, which goes into a little more detail.
And thanks for introducing me to Kristine Mattis. I have yet to read the two other articles I saved, but may get to them soon.