Metaphors for Faith and God Belief
As the American writer and satirist, H. L. Mencken put it, 'We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.'
I agree with this idea whole-heartedly. For me, the most important thing about other people's faith and religion is that one should not assail, ridicule or censure them as long as they pose no threat to society in general.
On the other hand, the evangelical nature of a faith or religion rarely pleases me. Protagonists of a religion should not try to forcefully convert other people to their faith, nor should they intrude on their privacy to spread their agenda - as trying to impose a religion, or idea on a person is more likely to cause that person to oppose the idea than to accept it.
In this article I collected various metaphors for faith and God belief. Some are religious, while others approach religion from an atheist perspective.
Religious Metaphors for Faith
My favorite faith metaphors are in favor of God-belief. I like them because they talk about the usefulness of beliefs and how they can empower us to work towards a good cause and make the world a better place.
The thing is, you don't have to be sure there is a God, it is quite enough to just choose to believe it. Once you've done that this belief can serve as a vessel out of which you can evoke the courage to do the right thing even in situations that would otherwise render you powerless.
Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.
/ Kahlil Gibran
Reflection is learning and personal growth. Thinking is not the only means of reflection. Feelings are just as valid and valuable. They are there because certain puzzles can never be solved by logic and thinking alone, and some forms of expression can't be appreciated.
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
/ Martin Luther King Jr.
Natural philosophy is the progenitor of modern science. Newton, Galilei, as well as almost all scientific revolutionaries - even Darwin, the father of the theory of evolution - had one goal in mind. It wasn't the advancement of science or technology, it wasn't the desire to make everyday living easier, it wasn't even their own fame and fortune, but the aspiration to figure out the mind of God through dissecting the universe he created to understand its workings. Their minds wouldn't have been captivated by the thought of investigating the laws of a pointless, godless world.
Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings while the dawn is still dark.
/ Rabindranath Tagore
Faith can inspire us to believe that even in the midst of the greatest tumults of our time it is worthwhile fighting for a better future. Because God's purpose for us is that those who have faith and labor endlessly for mankind will all see the light eventually.
Faith is a bandage that man has invented to protect a soul made bloody by circumstance.
/ Theodore Dreiser
This faith metaphor is probably the most important one for me. It says faith is a bandage that we invented for a purpose. It is a bit atheistic but it still manages to convey the message that if we choose faith, we can use it to a good end. God-belief can give a purpose to an otherwise aimless existence and make one keep going in the face of all hardships by inducing the thought that they are only there to make us better.
Zeal is a volcano, on the peak of which the grass of indecisiveness does not grow.
/ Khalil Gibran
This is my favorite metaphor for faith, because it's plain and simple, yet beautiful. If you really believe in something and put yourself to it, you will achieve it. No hesitation, no second thoughts - where there is a will, there is a way.
Below, you can find more metaphors for faith and religion collected from various sources.
Atheistic Metaphors for Faith
Here are a few funny atheistic faith metaphors. They too contain a grain of the truth, and even if they don't, at least they can be laughed at.
Faith is a placebo in that it falsely represents itself, but still yields results.
Faith is a bitch in that it makes too many puppies.
Faith is a tunnel in that it narrows the mind from the big picture.
Faith is a gag reflex in that it keeps you from swallowing the truth.
Faith is a giant pillow in that it suffocates us all.
More Faith Metaphors
Doctrine is nothing but the skin of truth set up and stuffed.
/ Henry Ward Beecher
Chance is the pseudonym of God when he did not want to sign.
/ Théophile Gautier
Coincidences are spiritual puns.
/ G. K. Chesterton
God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It’s as simple as that.
/ Joseph Campbell
A prayer, in its simplest definition, is merely a wish turned heavenward.
/ Philips Brooks
Religion is probably, after sex, the second oldest resource which human beings have available to them for blowing their minds.
/ Susan Sontag