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What is faith?

Faith is probably one of the most controversial topics between religious believers. If you ask any single person who claims to have faith what faith is, you'll find yourself dealing with several different answers.

Is there a more general explanation of faith? Please explain the concept of faith in a general sense as it is widely accepted. If you’d like to add your own ideas about it then feel free to do so.
Posted in Religious Studies, asked by admin, 5 years ago. 979 hits.

1

My opinion on faith

Faith is obviously taught differently and some people wonder if it can exist in such a seemingly relative form.

It’s funny how so many people have an idea or strong opinion on what they (myself included) think faith is, but it’s one of the most common questions in religion. It seems that more people are confused than not.

I’d like to go through the first two points on faith which is if it’s a subjective thing or not. Often people might say that faith is whatever you want it to be, while others claim that faith is something that exists in one way or another regardless of what we think it is. Which is it then?

For me, I don’t think faith is relative, in that it can be whatever you want it to be. I think it’s probably an objective substance. For example, imagine a 20,000 kg rock in your garden and you wanted to know how heavy it was so that you could move it, well even if you really wanted it to be 10 kg, or that according to your opinion it was only 10 kg, it would make no difference to the real weight of it and you wouldn’t be able to lift it no matter how hard you tried. This is because there is an absolute truth about the matter which is independent of what you believe to be true.

I think the same applies to faith, faith is what it is with or without what we think of it. Some of us might be closer to the reality of it and some might have missed the mark by a mile. Either way, I’ll offer what I think it is and I could be wrong, I’m not saying I’m the only right person in town.

I don’t think faith is an irrational thing or that faith should never come without some form of evidence. I also don’t think the opposite of it. I don’t think there should be any rule as to how a person can acquire it if they wanted it.

I recently read a line that said “Without mystery, faith is dead.”, but I don’t think that stands because what about Jesus, he knew many things that were “mysterious” but he still practiced faith. Or what about the scientists, who discovers mysteries about the Universe, is there no hope for them having faith because they learnt something new? What about those who understand God more than others, does that mean they lack more faith?

No, I don’t think knowledge, wisdom or any sort of rationality is incompatible with faith. I don’t see faith as something that is threatened by intellectualism or anything rational for that matter.

For me, the most annoying thing about people who try to “teach” faith to others is that they use all sorts of reasoning and intellectually primed explanations to say why people should have faith and then at the same time say that logic or reasoning is the opposite of faith or that it leads to doubt.

Rather, reasonable thinking can either strengthen faith or challenge it. For example, a person with faith may discovery some new truth which is hard to accept. Let’s say a person who believes in God suddenly discovered that the Church was invented by governments to control people, or that certain miracles were scientifically proven to be false, we’ll if this person had strong faith it wouldn’t jeopardise their belief in God. If they had “little faith”, then perhaps it would cause them to turn away from their idea that God is real. On the other hand, suppose a person who believes in God discovers scientific evidence of Noah’s Ark, well this has the ability to strengthen their faith.

So I don’t see science, rationality or knowledge as a threat to faith at all, it’s the way you respond to it that matters. Some people have a fear for these things and will naturally avoid them.

I don’t think that people who are gifted intellectually have less chances of discovering faith than those who don’t “think about much”. I think that a person should be allowed to think or question and try to understand it as much as they like, instead of having others say that’s wrong or that you’re not allowed to know those answers. On the other hand, a person doesn’t have to be reasonable or rational about faith if they don’t want to and if they want to obtain faith by another way then I don’t see why they shouldn’t.

This is why I don’t think faith is something that prefers people who neglect their rationality over people who are reasonable about it. I don’t think it cares much about the intellectual status of people, or what method people use to understand faith.

I think that faith is something that can meet people on their level and can relate to people through ways that are relational to them.

I don’t think it’s fair for me or anyone else to judge and that “you’re stupid because you have no reasonable backing or evidence for your faith”, or that “you’re not spiritual enough of have no chance of knowing God if you’re going to be intellectual about it”.

If anyone tells you that you ought to neglect your brain, logic and rationality in order to have any possibility of faith, you can tell them to stick it where the sun don’t shine! The same applies to those who claim that people who have faith are stupid.

Inila
4 years ago

1

Some people believe that faith is blind, but I think that’s only the case for those that are “blind” in that sense. For those not blind, faith is a different thing.

It also depends on your religious stance, in Christianity there are different denominations. All Christians don’t see faith in the same way.

Calvinists view faith differently to rational theists etc. Or rather, Calvinists go about “building faith” in a different way as to the way rational thinking Christians build their faith. I don’t think one is better than the other and indeed, you’ll find Christians arguing against each other over who has the right way, but I don’t think that’s for us to decide really. People are different so it should probably be embraced in all its forms.

I don’t allow people to impose their principles of faith on me because faith is definitely a personal thing and not something that’s cloned from one person to another. Everyone has a different story and I think those who are genuinely trying to make sense of it should avoid people who force their ideas or judge others when they themselves are having a hard time making sense of faith.

Amezi
4 years ago

0

Faith is when you don’t know or understand something but then decide to believe that it’s true anyway.
Fito
4 years ago
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