Help Me Understand


1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.


2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.


3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.


4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.


5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.


6. the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith.


7. the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.


8. Christian Theology. the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.


9. in faith, in truth; indeed: In faith, he is a fine lad.


1 makes sense, as does 2, 4, 6, 7.

But in each of those cases a more accurate word could be used.

1 Confidence and trust.

2 belief

4 Belief

6 Honesty, loyalty,  obligations , promises, engagements

7 Observance of obligations


All the others a religiously themed, and could also have words like ‘belief’ and ‘loyalty, obligations, promises and engagements’ put in the place of faith.

I do not believe in faith, for every belief is substantiated on a personal level by the individual. Every individual has the evidence they require to believe. Any less is paradoxical.

Help me understand 'FAITH'

smebro smebro
22-25, M
17 Responses Aug 19, 2007

Hopefully we will all make it to "Banana Mon Jambo"... See ya.

The only specific problem I see in these definitions is with definition 8, the "Christian Theology" definition. I think we should get rid of definition 8.<br />
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All of the other definitions seem fine to me, though some seem to overlap each other confusingly, but hey English language is confusing, this would just be one example of that. Just the fact that a word has multiple meanings is mildly annoying. Alas, I understand the convenience of it, it prevents us from having a language full of trillions of words---instead it can just be millions or so, and a little context-inferencing when needed to determine the intended meaning for a particular instance of a multiple-meaning word, where all those meanings are usually fairly similar, which helps us remember, something like that I'm sure, if I were a linguist/language analyst or so.<br />
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"8. Christian Theology. the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved." <br />
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I think definitions 1 and 2 sufficiently define most instances of the word faith as used in the New Testament in the Bible, and on occasion in the Old Testament. I see nowhere where definition 8 works because it has this "extra baggage to it", how to explain it...<br />
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Example: When Peter had tried walking on the water in imitation of Jesus, he did fine until the wind and waves came. And then:<br />
"Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"--Matthew 14:31<br />
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The "in God" of definition 8 is not necessary in this case because the context of what Jesus is saying here already implies that the faith is "in God". And I would say more "In God and his ability to effect miracles", or just "in God's ability to effect miracles" rather than "in God and his promises...." (as definition 8 speaks of), in this example. And then I would certainly say that there is nothing going on here on the water with Peter that is relevant to "by which humans are justified or saved". Peter is just trying to perform a miracle here to see if he can do it, he is not being "justified or saved" at this moment. Depending on which scripture we look at, what the faith is in in specific may vary (in God's power, His ability to effect miracles, His ability to forgive sins, etc.). So definition 8 does not work so well. The only part of it that survives in this case is "trust". And then we might as well throw definition 8 out and use definition 1--"Confidence or trust in a person or thing" (in this account I don’t think existence of God or at least of miracles was in question so that the “not based on proof” of definition 2 would need to be brought in).<br />
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Definition 8 is probably intended to apply to us today, who are looking back at the events recorded in the Bible, and desiring to be "saved" by God. We may come to conclude that in order to be saved we need to have faith, and we may use the word lazily by itself and expect the person interpreting us, perhaps a fellow Christian, to know what we mean. This “Christian theology” definition, perhaps similar to how a dictionary may list a slang use definition for a word that otherwise means something completely else, is I would say specific to certain brands of Christian doctrine, whose correctness I would say is open to debate, and thus is not very relatable of a definition for the average person, and perhaps in this case should be labeled “Christian slang” or something, I’d have to think about that more. The use of the word faith in the book of James is probably the best example of the word faith being used closely in connection with salvation. That is a whole other story, to analyze the book of James, or salvation, etc. But even in that case the word faith is just being used next to the word salvation in this or that scripture, I don't think it is to be considered part of the definition itself, as definition 8 has it being.

Nope, still can't see you. <br />
Thanks anyway, nice to know you care about me in the 'saving' kind of way.

Hey chosenone2003...does this mean I'm unblocked?

I read your store smebro "Help Me Understand" well all i can say is Holy Bible and in the book of Hebrews chapter 10 verse 1 it reads, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I would like to help you understand if i can, but only 1 true person can help u to understand, that is Jesus. he loves you sooo much and die for us all. he wants soo much to put his arms around you and say, Son i have waited for this day for you to expect me in your life, all that you have been looking for he has, and nothing eles in this world can stop his love for you... Smebro Jesus is the only one that gave you life, yes your mother brought you into this world, but Jesus is the one that formd you in your mothers womb... remember there's nothing in this world, why not just talk to him, what would you have to lose??? Just talk to him, he will prove himself to you, just ask him and he will show you... god bless take care. chosenone2003

Well really Marji, If your universe is correct then I am supposed to be doing this anyway right? As in this is 'the plan' for me. So if your universe just happened to be true; I would deserve to burn eternally. IF a Muslims universe was true; I might just deserve some virgins.<br />
I'm living as best I can, but my investigation has led me to hold the position that faith is nothing more than a set of emotions with a different label. Faith has very little use outside of religion. <br />
We could hypothesise about me being ‘open’ or ‘closed’ or ‘receptive’ or ‘listening’ but it won’t change anything; Every God is as unbelievable as every other, because anything that does not exist can not be assumed to exist. When you make bold claims about an invisible dimension; we’d better hope those claims can be substantiated in the real world…and none are.

My parents weren't particularly religous at all. My mom did send us to Sunday school when we were very young, but as soon as I was old enough to feel I could say I didn't want to go (age 5 or 6) I stopped going. I know adults in my life talked of heaven, but none ever talked of anything like reincarnation. I first learned of that when I read Siddhartha as a teen.<br />
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I really can not tell you where my core beliefs came from, but the furthest back I can recall believing something that was different from what adults were trying to teach me, was when I was about 9 years old. I knew that the God of my understanding was not vindictive, was not angry and would not condemn a soul to eternal damnation.<br />
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The first time I ever saw anything in writing that closely mirrored what my heart knew, was when I read "Conversations With God", by Neale Donald Walsch.<br />
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You pose some questions, "Should we strive to align our beliefs with the real world, or maintain this supposedly beautiful thing that is faith?"<br />
Why should anyone strive to align their beliefs with something other than what they themselves believe? You aren't being true to yourself, nor do you really have faith in whatever it is you believe, if you are trying to make it line up with someone else's perception of the world.<br />
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"If faith holds us back, is it a good thing?" Holds us back from what? There is nothing I can think of that my faith would hold me back from. If one feels their faith is holding them back in someway, maybe they need to re-examine what their beliefs are. We are all constantly evolving, our day-to-day experiences may cause us to choose, what is best for us, differently from day-to-day as well.<br />
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You ask if it is virtuous to maintain your faith in something in spite of evidence to the contrary. Personally, I would not call it virtuous. In fact, virtuous is not a word I would attach to the word faith at all. What I believe, what I have faith in, just is. I would never imply that my beliefs are better, or more right, than anyone else's.<br />
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I have not read TardyDodo's story regarding the soul, but I will and I'll get back to you on that.

Were you told by an adult during your childhood that there is an afterlife? Is it a belief that you’ve held since you were a child?<br />
I respect it, I don’t mock it. I would like what you are saying to be true, I do…although some would encourage otherwise. I don’t long for an afterlife, but I would not turn it down.<br />
What do you think of TheTardyDodo’s story in ‘I understand the soul’ ? <br />
Yours is the kind of faith that doesn’t hurt anyone wittyone, you’re not out to spread it like a virus, you simply believe what you believe and that’s cool.<br />
We all have faith in ourselves and what is true for each of us, but undeniably there is a reality that contradicts some of our base beliefs. Should we strive to align our beliefs with the real world, or maintain this supposedly beautiful thing that is faith? If faith holds us back, is it a good thing. If we know (or ignore) hard evidence that implies otherwise…is that virtuous?<br />
My understanding of faith widens to <br />
“Religious faith is an irrational emotionally based conviction maintained IN SPITE OF powerful evidence that disputes or refutes that position, and/or, a lack of supporting facts”

You ask, "Can one hold faith without some tangible reality that seems to back up the faith?", I would answer, yes they can. Much like definition #2, I have faith or a belief, that there is more to my existence than what I am experiencing now in this lifetime. That when I die, there will be more to come, I won't simply stop existing. What form will I be once my body dies? I don't know, but I believe in the soul.<br />
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Can I prove any of this, no. Can I point to an ancient religious text that backs up what I have faith in? No, though it may exist, but what I know to be true for me, does not come from any one religion or religious text. I know I will never be able to prove that there is an entity bigger, more powerful than any single human being. but that doesn't stop me from having faith in myself and what is true for me.

Faith does not have beauty for me, and I do disagree with some things Tardy says, although it was very eloquently said.<br />
One point I’ll not here even as I have a customer on the line.<br />
“Faith is an irrational emotionally based conviction maintained DESPITE accepting there is powerful evidence that disputes or refutes that position”<br />
I’ve never found a faithful person who actively accepts that there are other possibilities(they deny them); in fact, the only people who seem to do this are agnostics and atheists. I can say I will accept other evidences, but I doubt I’ll hold the original belief strongly if the evidences are powerful. In which case I am the most faithless person on earth. <br />
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.<br />
More later.<br />
The first part of your definition is sometimes correct, but not all faiths are irrational or emotionally based. I have faith in people, because I’ve had good experiences with people…this is neither irrational nor emotional. Maybe it isn’t faith, perhaps it is an opinion. <br />
You might say “Religious faith is an irrational emotionally based conviction maintained IN SPITE OF powerful evidence that disputes or refutes that position”<br />
Yes, that sounds much more accurate to the faith I know.

I'm still pondering this, response pending.

The word "faith" and the word "belief" contain multiple concepts; they are not necessarily unified entities within themselves. But broadly speaking, I would suggest that most dictionary definitions are too positivist, or perhaps too kind.<br />
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How about this: Faith is an irrational emotionally based conviction maintained DESPITE accepting there is powerful evidence that disputes or refutes that position.<br />
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(Just because it's irrational doesn't mean it's a *bad* thing)<br />
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(The acceptance of evidence to the contrary differentiates it from a delusion)<br />
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(the emotional aspect differentiates it from intellectual dogma)<br />
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Faith necessarily has secondary gain. If you have a conviction that overrides any current reality or past reality then you acquire an emotional and psychological benefit not available to people without this function. In this way, it may well be an advanced survival mechanism. The act of abnegating some aspects of perceived reality can also be an act of courage and a virtue, depending on context. <br />
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(That is why faith is thing that can have beauty).

But you see, that you were originally presented with something that confirmed for you the validity of Mumbajebu and the afterlife of Banana mon Jambo. Once upon a time you believed, and so now you show an obligatory loyalty to Mumbajebu…because you used to believe it and never lost that belief. It became accepted, it became a belief. <br />
I doubt that any amount of evidence could appear that would convert you to Mambajebu nowadays though, you’re older and have a more scrupulous fr<x>ame of reference. Those beliefs are self sustaining by the time they become long held, you have begun to make up your own adult reasons why Mambajebu has treated you as you’ve been treated, and you imagine that he is the monkey behind all the funny events in your life (I guess a monkey religion would be based on laughter).<br />
So it is not the encouragement that keeps you praying monkey prayers, it’s your own cycle of thought which relies so much on an invisible Monkey in the background, you have been influences, changed and now you pray to get into Banana Mon Jambo.<br />
I did some brief Google research on the holocaust and faith, found proverbs about Gods word being the word that keeps one alive (They thought he would protect them) this suggests that they went on to actually believe that God interfered and saved them (While killing the others). All this teaches me is that people have ways of dealing with things. Plus, I found no personal record on the state of faith after the holocaust, but I would be interested if you could find something. <br />
Anyway, I guess the ‘how’ is they thought that God would save them, and when statistical probability chose random people to survive, and they left, the mistakenly saw the outcome as proof that their faith had been greatest. That’s all guesswork on my part.<br />
Faith is impossible without belief. Belief can lead to faith, but only if the original evidence is no longer appealing or believable or is lost. No-one can have faith without first believing in some form or another, otherwise we would conjure faith in ridiculous things on a whim.<br />
I will do my darndest to explain Faith! It’s my duty!

Celainn: Faith cannot exist without encouraging beliefs, no?<br />
"BUT if I had faith that lil green monkey men ruled earth from underground " you would have needed encouragement to get this faith, something that implied to you that there is a monkey leader named Mumbajebu, and that he cares for you to the point where he will let you into Bannana mon Jambo when you pass on.<br />
All faith has come from belief, or some form of belief. Something that was presented as fact.

Thanks Desieyez. It seems you have found personal reasons to believe, not to ‘have faith’. Do you have faith, or do you believe?<br />
I like this “are man-made barriers that are there to divide and highlight differences rather than unite”, I understand where you’re coming from with that, I also believe mainstream religion propagates these problems in society. <br />
Spirituality is really just getting to know yourself and your universe, and how you feel that relates to you.<br />
Do you agree?

To me I don't need my holy book to believe that their is a God, all I have to do is look outside my window or even at myself, the beauty within us and the beauty that confronts us every day, be it the flower on the side of the road or the majestic clouds in the sky. I have been taught to live every day as though it were your last so I do not believe the sun will rise tomorrow, it very well may not, I hope it will rise tomorrow but that is an entirely different thing. This belief that I have in God has nothing to do with religion, for those, I believe, are man-made barriers that are there to divide and highlight differences rather than unite. But everyone is different and people come to different conclusions, I believe it has a lot to do with spirituality, this belief. I hope my thoughts came out clearly and that I did not confuse you further :D

You have no evidence the sun will rise. Prove it... you cannot; but there are plenty of observations that suggest the sun will rise. It can be a belief.<br />
Ask a Christian why they believe there will be an afterlife, they will bring up the bible, as a reference and base of 'faith', I prepose that their 'faith' is no more then belief. They treat the bible as if it were evidence, they cannot have their faith without it, just as I cannot have my belief in evolution without background reading on the topic. <br />
Can one hold faith without some tangible reality that seems to back up the faith? E.g. can they believe it without seeing the bible or being taught the beliefs? And on from that, if they needed conditioning to be brought into faith, doesn’t that mean they have been shown enough to ‘believe’, they have been provided with evidence?