What do you think of when someone says, “Have faith”? For different people, faith can mean many different things. There’s no right or wrong answer because faith is whatever gives you the strength to stay in the game, to pull through rough times, and to stay positive when things are bleak. Conventionally, when we talk about faith, many will associate faith with spirituality, with God or a divine being.
Some associate faith with the power to be strong and positive in the face of adversity. Some even associate faith with a connection to a group of people where they feel empowered and strong together. Again, this isn’t wrong. The very fact that people have different perspectives on what faith is a good thing!
Here’s a quick guideline to what faith means:
Faith can mean faith in a supreme being, in God. But then, psychologists of religion would say that this is more of belief. In a more naturalistic and psychological sense, faith is really about the innate sense to search for meaning, purpose, and significance. Every human person has a strong sense that there’s more than what meets the eye. In other words, there’s something more than just ‘me,’ and as human beings, we all discover what this might be. Some of us go all out, while some of us are content with the information we have at the moment.
Do you feel more comfortable seeking a deeper meaning, purpose, and significance through exploring your faith? How do you connect faith to your lives, relationships, and all the things that occur around you? This is the very basic striving of faith and the universal role it plays in our lives.
While we think that only people who believe in divine intervention or God seem to have faith, even atheists have faith – a belief, trust, or confidence. Everyone has the gift of faith. Some of us have strong faith, while others have weaker faith, but it depends on the context we talk about.
Belief is a representation of truth claims that you make on your spiritual journey. Beliefs are what tell you what’s true and what’s not true, and this is based on your experiences to satisfy your sense of faith. Your beliefs are what you hold to be true in your journey to fulfill your faith by engaging in various spiritual pursuits, such as pilgrimage. Belief is exploring a deeper connection with Biblical phrases and events or scriptures from holy books. It’s also trying to understand what certain words or people represented in the words we read. For instance, you may be wondering why https://www.neverthirsty.org/bible-qa/qa-archives/question/eunuchs/ form a large part of the conversation in the Bible. Through deeper reading and understanding, you come to know that eunuchs represent the level of connection and devotion to God.
Understanding Faith and Belief in Life
- Maintaining the balance of our mind
A negative mind is already at a disadvantage, but even a healthy mind can run into its own set of problems. For the enabled mind, a person may think that because they pray to God, all their prayers will be answered, and that God is just, and He will set things right. The positive mind will say that if we firmly hold on to our beliefs, God listens and will favor us.
- Knowing that culture and upbringing form our belief
But then, what is it that we believe in? Our beliefs are rooted in our culture and upbringing. This is the first thing that separates our faith from our belief. Often, what we believe in may directly contradict everything else we know to be true and right. It can be universally acknowledged that we arrive at the crossroads of faith and belief when we go through a life-threatening crisis ourselves, and when this happens, we end up changing our stronghold beliefs.
- Changing the way we think forms our beliefs.
Changing our minds to adapt to crises is to change some part or elements of our beliefs. It’s perfectly normal to shift our beliefs because our beliefs are modeled on personal and communal experience. A belief can necessarily be not true even when it has been handed down to us. In other words, a belief isn’t necessarily the only truth.
- Belief is a product of the mind; faith isn’t.
Faith is the product of the spirit. Our mind also tends to interfere with the process of faith, rather than contribute to it. Having confidence in the most depressing of times will require us to quiet the mind because the mind can run amok when we let it, especially when we have every negative thought clouding our mind.
- To have faith is to believe.
Faith comes in when our beliefs run aground. Be wary that our beliefs can sway our spirit. Think of Galileo and how everyone thought the world was flat until he came around to prove that the world was indeed round. The belief that we humans have held for centuries can come and go throughout a millennium.
- Beliefs come and go.
True faith isn’t a statement of our beliefs, but it’s a state of being. Faith is trusting beyond all reasonable doubt and beyond all evidence that you’ve not been abandoned. Faith is achieved through commitment, and to commit to faith isn’t the same thing as committing to a series of beliefs. When we’re in a moment of crisis, faith tells us it doesn’t matter whether it’s God or circumstances.
At the end of the day, faith and belief are to help guide us to make the right decisions and choices in life. To have strength and belief is to remain humble and open to learning because when faith and belief don’t fill in the cracks of a crisis, fear will set in, and that’s where things go awry. Faith is an attitude that we create where there’s an acceptance of not knowing.