Friday, February 17, 2006

What is Faith?

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A friend of mine who comes from a different religion than mine asked me,"What is Faith?"

That is a big question, and I welcome your views, folks.

I said that faith is, at its core, trusting.

My faith tradition helps me understand some things I can trust - that I am loved by God is one. That is a big thing for me. That I am forgiven. Also big. And that I do not have to (nor can I) merit either that love or forgiveness, that it is given to me as an outright gift. In my faith tradition we call that "the grace of God". So, leaning into that with both shoulders is a part of trust for me, a part of faith.

Beyond trust, what is faith? What is the differnce between trust and intellectual assent? Is faith a gift, or can one "will" faith?

Chime in folks -- please!

5 Comments:

Anonymous Tom in Colorado said...

Wow. Can you "will" faith? We could perhaps wordsmith it in such a way that it would be willed, but I vote for it still being a gift. You ask for it and you get it. Then you spend the rest of your life hoping that your faith will be rewarded.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

I was reading Abraham Heschel's thoughts on the prophets today, and he made an excellent analogy. He said having an idea of friendship is not like having a friend. Running with that, I think maybe intellectual assent is to faith as the idea of friendship is to having a friend.

I can acknowledge that God has a certain disposition toward me and that he is trustworthy, but that isn't yet faith, no matter how certain I am of the truth of the proposiions involved.

I think faith is more like a relationship (in a technical mood I might call it a "state of relatedness") than it is like a movement of mind or will.

6:03 PM  
Blogger samtzmom said...

Like my very favorite saying says:

"When you have come to the edge of all that you know,
And are about to step off into the darkness,
FAITH is knowing that one of two things will happen;
You will find something solid on which to land,
Or, you will be taught to fly."

For me, faith is realizing that I am not in control, and that in itself, makes me able to surrender to God's grace and see where it takes me in life. We can't control what will be thrown at us each day, but we can control how we respond to it. Faith is what makes me know I'll get through it, no matter how bad it may seem at the time.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Maggie Rose said...

I do believe that faith is a gift and that each of us "knows" faith differently...so when it doesn't look "right" someone might think they do not have faith...but they just don't have someone else's version of what faith might be

so for me, faith is a blind trust that something larger than our selves is not only in control but is breathing life into everything, whether or not we understand the how of the life-giving force

sometimes even human love for two people takes faith to push through to a better place...so a trust in the other but also a willingness to work at something when it seems hopeless

hope these ideas make sense

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Pat Z. said...

My idea is that Faith is a gift, and I use it every day to trust that God will help me. I have Faith that He will hear my prayers and if it's His will to heal me, as He has done in the past. Sometimes only Faith is going to see me through, and bridge the gap.

5:33 PM  

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