What is Faith?

by Luke Nix

So many times I have heard people say that faith is believing something despite evidence against it. I have heard skeptics of Christianity deride faith based on this, and I have heard Christians claim a higher level of spirituality because they possess this kind of faith. But is this what faith really is? Let’s look at it a little more closely.

When Person A states that they have faith in Person B, they are stating that they trust Person B. Since trust is the issue here, let’s focus on that. In order for Person A to trust, there must be a foundation for that trust. Usually, Person B has established in the past that they are trustworthy (usually by verification of the truth of claims and/or following through with promises). Also Person B knows something that Person A does not know. In order for trust to be exercised, there must be a foundation to establish trust, and something that is unknown to justify acting upon the foundation of the person’s trustworthiness.

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So, as long as there is a foundation of trust established and something unknown to Person A, faith can be placed. If either is missing, then faith is not what is being exercised. If a foundation is missing, gambling would better describe the action. If an unknown is missing, agreement is taking place.

Since faith is basically trust; faith, by virtue of its foundation, is based on reason: “Person B has been trustworthy in several past experiences; therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that I can trust them with this new unknown”. There is nothing “blind” or “illogical” about faith. Of course, there is plenty of room for misinterpreting past experiences (and thus foundations for faith), and this is why many people have misplaced their faith. However, a misplaced faith is different from a gamble…


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A Shot of Faith (to the Head!)A Shot of Faith (to the Head): Be a Confident Believer in an Age of Cranky Atheists


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