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whiteliondreams's avatar

How would you define "faith"?

Asked by whiteliondreams (1698 points ) June 10th, 2012

Would faith be something you feel in your heart?
Is faith something you know in your mind?
Does faith require logic or thinking?
If people live without faith, what would be the attributing factor?

I ask these questions to know whether faith in religion is required because there are no definitive, authoritative, or rational answers. There are no right and wrong answers and this isn’t a test of faith. I want to see what as many people can answer explain on behalf of their current knowledge and explication.

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32 Answers

King_Pariah's avatar

Faith (to me) is a steadfast, unwavering, belief in something. Logic, reason, evidence are all unnecessary to have faith in anything (Ex. religion in general I suppose you could say). An example where faith can be based upon reason or logic is when it is applied to people (having faith in one’s self or in another) as this sort of faith can be based upon experience of knowing a person or knowing what a person can and cannot do (Ex. Jane has never left a friend hanging so I can have faith in her to have my back).

tups's avatar

Faith probably has a lot of different definitions. It depends on who you ask. To me, faith is something I feel that I know without required knowledge. Meaning, there doesn’t have to be evidence, logic reasons or stuff like that. It can be something I really feel that I can be certain of in my life, even though I probably can’t if it needs rational reasons. The beauty about faith it also that it doesn’t need rational reasons. Just like love. I don’t know if this makes sense.

whiteliondreams's avatar

I understand both of your perspectives, but why wouldn’t you want to justify an emotion or experience? Why wouldn’t anyone want to use their mind and question things that people affirm to be true without actual evidence? Why have faith if you can be living a lie? Why would someone want to live a lie and not improve society for the better with information that can be substantiated and corrected? This is despite any information that cannot be justified, but for what can be.

tups's avatar

@whiteliondreams Well, I believe it’s really all about faith. One can simply chose to believe that nothing is real. So faith is really something we all need in life. Faith in science, religion, love, certain people etc.

But I do question almost everything in life. Sometimes I chose to stop questioning something, maybe just for a little while and believe in it. That’s when faith appears.

Blackberry's avatar

If one looks at the tenets of religion, it is very difficult to approach them with logic and still believe in them. This is what faith is for.

On the other hand, someone can distort “science” for their own faith-based point of view.

whiteliondreams's avatar

@Blackberry I agree with you on that. However, the same can be said about the interpretation of religious texts and the “reasoning” behind omitting apocryphal scriptures, which will be my questions for tomorrow.

ucme's avatar

It’s a George Michael song.

Aster's avatar

A strong belief in something with no real proof it exists.

Only138's avatar

Faith is putting your trust or belief in something that is not a sure thing, or something you cannot physically see or touch.

MilkyWay's avatar

@ucme Simplest right answer ever, lol! :D

mazingerz88's avatar

Faith could be assuming and hoping something is true but with a much stronger conviction.

augustlan's avatar

Faith must exist without proof, but in some cases there is a lot of evidence that your faith is well placed. Faith in a certain person’s actions, for instance. I mean, we have no way of knowing the future, but predictions can be made based on past behavior. If your husband has never hit you, even during your most extreme arguments, you have faith that he never will. That is faith without proof (since certain knowledge of future actions is impossible), but it will probably be borne out.

Carol's avatar

Uh oh. Goat has been gotten.
Not to ruffle any feathers here but…...........

Faith is belief unsubstantiated by fact.
Faith is hope without reason.
Hope is another word for wish. It may have factual elements or not.
Faith is not logical, nor is it rational. If you have fact, reason and logic there would be no reason to have faith.

Does faith require logic or thinking?
Well, thinking goes with just about everything including belief.
Faith however does not require logic.
I can look at you and see you and say “you are there” as fact.
Caveat: This is fact in my mind though is based on what signals my brain is sending.

If people live without faith, what would be the attributing factor?
My speculation: 1)Logic based on fact. 2) They don’t need it. 3) They see it as detrimental.

I would ask you “Faith in what?” Faith that because you showed up 19 times in a row that you’ll show up the 20th time? This has to do with probability, not faith. Faith that the world will be better in the future because of belief that man if good? This has to do with hope or, perhaps distorted cognitions.

I ask these questions to know whether faith in religion is required
Required for what?
because there are no definitive, authoritative, or rational answers.
To what?

What the Sam Hill is faith in religion? Religion exists. The evidence that religion exists is seen in the existence of churches and references to god. Therefore, it is a fact that religion exists.

There are no right and wrong answers
There can be. There are also are right and wrong questions that lead to right and wrong answers.

Sunny2's avatar

We all live with a certain amount of faith because to question everything would cause considerable chaos. We have faith that the sun will come up everyday, that the ground under our feet is not going to capsize suddenly, that the car will start. Except for the sun, none of these things is known for sure and can we really trust the sun? Faith is taking something for granted that may not be true. Probability and wanting something to be true makes us decide, consciously or not, what the truth is to us personally. The decision is not the same for each individual. Arguing about religious faith is futile and a waste of time.

ragingloli's avatar

Believing something with absolute certainty, without any supporting evidence and/or despite evidence to the contrary.

gailcalled's avatar

What remains after you eliminate hope and charity.

Rarebear's avatar

Blind belief in something without evidence.

whiteliondreams's avatar

@Carol
Me “I ask these questions to know whether faith in religion is required”
You “Required for what?”
Since I asked faith in religion and it was supposed to be faith in a deity, the context may have changed. You did very well answering the first four questions, but you got all Sam Kinison on me and that wasn’t quite as resourceful.

Me “There are no right and wrong answers.”
You “There can be. There are also are right and wrong questions that lead to right and wrong answers.”
There can be whatever you want there to be. I simply wanted some answers and it didn’t matter whether they were wrong or right. In fact, you just contradicted your own claims. If faith is hope and hopes are wishes, which may in turn be factual or not, then faith can be factual whereas, you clearly stated that faith is belief unsubstantiated by facts. I am not reiterating for fun, but if you are going to be critical of my questions, you should be logically cognizant of your answers.

whiteliondreams's avatar

@ Everyone here, you all provided excellent answers because the answers represent what you know, what you think you know, what you feel, what you feel is right, what you feel is wrong, and I am appreciative of the time you took. Thank you all.

Paradox25's avatar

I need to have at least some evidence of something before I can have a bit of faith in it. Religion has never appealed to me, because like I’ve said above, I need at least some evidence. Ironically I do believe that our minds survive the physical death of our bodies, I believe that ghosts/spirits are real and I take other paranormal phenomena seriously (not all of it though).

I came to these beliefs not because of religion or blind faith (I was once a diehard sceptic) but because of personal experiences, experiences of others that I knew, reading about near death experiences, twin telepathy and research through the likes of great scientists such as Crookes, Lodge, Josephson, Penrose, Planck, etc, etc.

linguaphile's avatar

Faith to me is that small voice in me in my darkest moments, when life seems to be at its worse, that says, “Keep going.”

That’s it. No religion involved, just that strength in me that continues to seek tomorrow and look towards better things.

Hope is different—hope, to me, is the expectation that things will become positive, will be better, will improve, will eventually reach an optimal state… Faith is different- it’s that last ounce of strength that makes you look up and try again (without any positivity or negativity) when you have almost no will left.

mattbrowne's avatar

A belief combined with confidence. Scientists for example have faith that the natural laws still work in the year 2050 without being able to prove it. Faith doesn’t necessarily have something to do with religion. People can have faith that humanity evolves to a level that wars are no longer happening.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I would say that faith is when we believe in something without sufficient evidence to warrant our belief. It involves a certain amount of trust in the unknown, and so objects of faith cannot also be objects of knowledge. That is to say, it is inappropriate to say both “I have faith that x is true” and “I know that x is true” unless “know” is being used emotively in the second sentence to express not literal knowledge but some form of strong confidence (e.g., faith).

I have specifically left the word “proof” out of this because the standards for proof are often held very high. Some go so far as to assert that absolute certainty is required before we can say that we have a proof of anything. A belief can be warranted and reasonable, however, without being absolutely certain. Therefore, I contrast what is held as a matter of faith not with that which is certain, but with that which is warranted. This is not to denigrate faith, but only to show how it fits into the larger epistemological landscape.

whiteliondreams's avatar

@SavoirFaire If you can accept a warrant based on an equal term you accept, then you have fallen victim to the conformity. If the warrant is convincing or persuasive, then it requires no backing. However, if I agree with your warrant, but do not trust it to be absolute, then I definitely require backing to substantiate your claim. Faith, at this point, is out of the question and we have arrived at my point which is, what is the point of having faith when there is room for logic? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I understand and agree that not everyone wants to be a scholar or learn anything beyond the remote control and a recliner, but what is wrong with questioning someone’s belief if there is no absolute certainty to back the claims? Why can’t we logically speculate without warring? We can leave it as is done here in Fluther, as an orphan and get back to it later. Why must culture be so influential on the lives of individuals that norms must be set, met, and standardized in order to live a controlled, limited, moral life? This doesn’t go on to say that morality is good or bad, but morality plays a major role in the game of life and without it there would absolutely and certainly be chaos. The snowball effect from manifesting, realization existence, surviving, suffering, not suffering, aging, and repeating the cycle doesn’t start or end with the same person, but the cycle happens to everyone, everywhere, and all the time. To end my short retort, I hope to not have offended, disrespected, or insulted any of the people within this forum and I apologize for any perceived antagonism against theists, atheists, polytheists, pagans, or those whom I would like to consider a friend one day. Have a wonderful evening.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@whiteliondreams I’m not sure I understand your response. My claim is rather unambitious. There are different levels of evidentiary support that we can have, and there are words to describe the epistemic status of beliefs held on the basis of those different levels. Beliefs held on grounds insufficient to warrant them are said to be held by faith. This is just straightforward philosophical taxonomizing. It says nothing about the permissibility of questioning beliefs or the possibility of rational disagreement. For my own part, I am completely in favor of questioning everything and engaging in reasoned debate.

augustlan's avatar

^^ Dueling philosophers!

whiteliondreams's avatar

@SavoirFaire I know and I enjoy your postings. I just want to learn more. I don’t have time to read books because I take online courses and they take most of my day; of course, aside from cooking and child rearing responsibilities.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@whiteliondreams Okay, fair enough. I still find part of your reply confusing, though. You say that if a warrant is convincing or persuasive, then it requires no backing; but warrant is backing. If we are warranted in believing something, then it means we have evidence to back it up. How much evidence we have determines the degree to which our beliefs are warranted. Perhaps, then, you mean to say that the amount of evidence that convinces me might not convince you. This is true. It is, in fact, central to one of the key issues regarding faith: some are willing to accept things on faith—despite the fact that it falls below the threshold for warranted belief—while others are not.

Indeed, the problem with faith is that it is non-transferable. In the case of a warranted belief, we can explain our evidence. In the case of faith, we can only cajole others to believe and hope that the experience of the belief itself somehow convinces them of its truth. What is the point of this? Some would argue that faith comes in precisely where there is not room for logic. Consider theistic existentialism, for example, which we discussed in relation to one of your earlier questions. Someone like Kierkegaard would argue that some beliefs cannot be given rational support but are still too important to go without. Thus they bring faith into the picture in the hope that the results will justify the leap.

whiteliondreams's avatar

@SavoirFaire Warrant isn’t back and I just learned this in English writing LOL. However, I see you realized my point after you wrote that it was. Which is, how much evidence. Warrants are considered assumptions that people agree upon, your backing supports your warrant if I do not agree with it. Although, most of the time I am agreeing with you.

Carol's avatar

Hello Lion.

—-Since I asked faith in religion and it was supposed to be faith in a deity, the context may have changed.—
Sorry I was so concrete. It was late.

—-Me “There are no right and wrong answers.”—
You “There can be. There are also are right and wrong questions that lead to right and wrong answers.” There can be whatever you want there to be. I simply wanted some answers and it didn’t matter whether they were wrong or right.
Of course there can be whatever you want Lion. You made a statement that was absolute and I provided alternatives.

In fact, you just contradicted your own claims.
Not really.
If faith is hope and hopes are wishes, which may in turn be factual or not.
In “fact” there were no contradictions. Wishes are not factual. They can however, be based on prior factual knowledge from which hopes are born.

then faith can be factual whereas, you clearly stated that faith is belief unsubstantiated by facts.
Faith by definition is not factual. Fact, in contrast to faith, is something that is indisputably the case, something known to exist or to have happened. Faith, as such, is not factual.

I am not reiterating for fun, but if you are going to be critical of my questions, you should be logically cognizant of your answers.
It was not my intention to be critical of your questions but to offer a strong point of view. I do apologize if my response was taken that way. I can be a real bitch. I appreciate your feedback.

whiteliondreams's avatar

@Carol Your intelligence and mellowness is attractive lol

Yetanotheruser's avatar

My personal faith is somewhere between the foundationalism, as described by Augustine of Hippo, and a sort of non-theistic version of faith as a noetic virtue.

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