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What Is Faith?

Updated on August 7, 2013

What is faith and Do You Have Faith?

What is faith? So many brave acts, but also too many crimes are committed in the name of faith. Faith is a state of mind, or better said a state of spirit. Hard to swallow, is it? And probably a dangerous definition, because this could somehow legitimate crime in the name of faith. But read on, there is more than that, in fact you can have your own say about all these.

This is an open discussion about faith. The statements on this page disregard religion, culture, gender, or any demographic appurtenance. The ideas expressed here are just personal thoughts, but they are the result of many life experiences, and actively exploring spirituality. This doesn't give my writings more validity, but I am writing this as an invitation to discussion. You are invited to submit any ideas and critique on the comments space.

Photo credit: Jesslee Cuizon via Flickr

Photo Credit: Yavor Doychinov
Photo Credit: Yavor Doychinov

Religion Does Not Equal Faith

Being Religious Doesn't Make You A Person with Faith

Too many times religion is automatically associated with faith and vice versa. While the two do not exclude each other, there is no direct connection of the two, and one does not automatically imply the other.

Being religious does not give someone faith, and someone with faith doesn't need to be part of a religion. Religion is merely a social institution to which followers affiliate, most of the times based on culture, ethnicity and geographic setting. One can be religious but not have fate, and one can be anti-religious but have a lot of faith.

The religion, as a social institution, has the role to encourage faith and the search of God, in other words to encourage thinking. Many times the religious institutions do exactly the opposite, force people to adhere to conventions, and kill the free will.

Religion's biggest role, in my opinion, is to instigate the search for God and faith. Sometimes religion fails to do this.

Religion vs Faith Debate

The world’s faith is changing, and more and more people choose to define themselves as unaffiliated with any religion. The people with no religion is actually the third largest group in the world, after Christians and Muslims.

The nonreligious are not necessarily atheist, they just choose to adopt faith outside the religion, which fails to provide them a proper environment for their beliefs.

Do You Believe In Faith Without Religion?

Photo by Marcin Szala, via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Marcin Szala, via Wikimedia Commons

What is Real Faith

What does having faith really mean?

Being myself a Christian, (my mom is Christian Orthodox), I tend to use terms and references to and Christianity, and refer to Jesus’ teachings, however, because faith is independent of religion, and theological believes, I’ll try to be as much as possible general, excluding any specific references.

Faith cannot be an ideology, hence automatic associations with religion is wrong. An ideology is a rational concept, whereas faith is a state of mind. Faith is not a rational process, although the brain is involved, it is not an emotion either.

Faith is contagious, a person with faith can disseminate it to many other people, that’s why faith manifests better in large crowds, such as church reunions. A sparkle of faith can easily become a flame, if it’s properly fueled. Think about the most successful sports teams, no matter how good the members of a team, sometimes the team fails, because the cohesion is missing. On the other hand, teams with modest members, can outperform better teams if they are lead by a charismatic coach. The best coaches are charismatic.

Faith is amoral, and conscience is not needed to have faith. Hitler and Stalin moved mountains, yet their conscience was the conscience of criminals. More on this later on this page.

Faith needs to act and one needs to do something in faith and not just contemplate. “Faith without works is dead”, summarizes the best this. Contemplation in faith is just a thought exercise, philosophy without application.

FAITH Under Construction - Kindle Edition

Wooden Church

Wooden Church
Wooden Church

Faith: A Novel

Faith: A Novel
Faith: A Novel

The author of "Faith", Jennifer Haigh, wrote the book trying to explore the intricate relation between faith, religion and society. The drama of the McGann family, in the light of many other similar stories, seems like another case of sexual abuse committed by a priest. Sheila, the narrator of the story and the sister of Arthur Breen, the accused priest, strongly believes in the innocence of Art, even though he doesn't want to fight the accusations. Sheila McGann philosophically refers to faith: "Faith is a decision. In its most basic form, it is a choice." She chooses to have faith in her brother, trying to redeem him.

 
Auto Da Fe - in Madrid
Auto Da Fe - in Madrid

Blind Faith - Is it Really the Way?

How Blind Should Be Blind Faith?

I personally am a rational person, and tend to find an explanation to any concept, idea, event, dogma, etc... I will try to find the reasoning of an idea, or concept, even if it's wrong, or stupid. Sometimes the explanation is just too empiric to even share it.

Starting from this you will understand why I despise blind faith. In the 18th century, Francisco Goya said that "the sleep of the reason produces monsters". And indeed, blind faith in anything, or anyone is proved to have brought only destruction and misery. I am not going to go in detail about historical events to support this, but let's remind only about "hitler", and "stalin", or the Christian crusades, or the inquisition. The burning of the "heretics" in the inquisition times was considered an act of faith, (auto da fe).

Now, I hope I am not going to contradict myself when I say that there is a dose of blindness to real faith, otherwise it wouldn't be called faith, it would be called knowing, or certainty. Is faith intuition? I think so, it must be some sort of sixth sense. How can someone take up on a huge project, or even small, without faith? We never know what is going to happen to our project, yet we still start our projects, hoping that we will end up with a positive result. It is also the case of the big scientific discoveries. At the beginning is always only a hunch. Faith is blind, you never know the outcome of an action, yet you do it because you believe is the right thing to do.

Blind Faith Debate

How do you see faith?

Blind Faith Album by Blind Faith

Clive Harris - Faith Healer - By Radosaw Drodewski
Clive Harris - Faith Healer - By Radosaw Drodewski

Faith Healing - Does It Work?

Blind Faith vs Modern Medicine

Does faith healing really work? Someone comes to you, they bless you and you are healed? Hmm. That doesn't work like that. Even the most famous healer in the history, Jesus, said "your faith has healed you". So what makes a faith healer special, what give them this ability to initiate the healing process?

Faith healing is probably one of the most lucrative religious businesses. People's natural tendency to believe in supernatural forces and their hope are exploited by many. Miracle waters, on stage instant healings, live televised healing shows, and amazing knowledge of the attendance's medical problems, are carefully staged and used to gather more paying believers.

Is faith healing a real cure? Maybe not a miraculous cure as depicted by the interested, but it certainly works. Many call it spiritual healing, the religious people call it faith healing, whatever the name, it uses spiritual meaning to heal someone, rather than physical means. In reality, even Jesus encouraged the use of medicines of his time. It is believed that he used the help of medicinal oils for some of his healings.

Faith healing works best in a public setting, where everybody has the same mindset. The person being healed needs to have total belief in the act of healing.

By commenting, you improve this page. Don't be shy, the respectful debate is the fuel of the spiritual discussion.

What do you think is faith? How do you perceive the act of faith. Any opinion is highly valued here, so don't by shy. You can post your opinion anonymously, if you choose.

Guestbook Comments - Your Spiritual Opinion

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      Dorian Bodnariuc 4 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Canada

      @Colin323: @Colin323, I also believe in the God in us. Faith could also seen as a manifestation of the God in us. When we let Him manifest we have faith. Thanks for reading my lens.

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      Colin323 4 years ago

      I don't believe in an external deity, but believe in the good (God) in most people - not all - but the majority.

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      MaryMitchell 4 years ago

      A very interesting lens - I can only say my faith is my bedrock, my comfort and my joy. Without it my life would be totally diminished!

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      kcsantos 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your insights in this sensitive subject matter. I admire your lenses. Keep on sharing info like this.

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      Dorian Bodnariuc 5 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Canada

      @srsddn lm: Thanks for participating srsddn,I would say, faith is too much exploited, but we as humanity get smarter, and there is a powerful trend against religion, as an institution.

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      srsddn lm 5 years ago

      Quite thought-provoking. Unfortunately faith is exploited in some parts of the world. But there also it exhibits the power behind faith.

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