How do you view faith?

SteveB

Well-known member
Numerous people on this forum have been describing their ideas of faith in terms of what they will not believe.

Some have even been among those who once believed but left, for some undefined reasons.

As part of my own experience over the past 45 years, I've found myself struggling with the nature of faith having a primarily emotional element to it.

Over the years, numerous teachers and pastors have states-- don't trust your emotions. Emotions are like the tide, or the winds. They come and go, rise and fall. They're not something that is dependable for determining your state before God.

In the bible, we read numerous times about being afraid, fearful, feeling like God is angry with us, not being under condemnation, etc....

This question has arisen in my mind because of the numerous people who have described faith in a derogatory manner. Yet in reading their comments, it's pretty clear that they have faith, and believe they're justified in their "unbelief" in God.

E.g., they'll say things like, I used to believe, but something just changed over time and I realized that I no longer believed it, or I could not have faith that it's true, real, etc....

So.... how do you perceive faith?
Does it seem like it's an emotional thing?

E.g., if you have faith, should there be an emotion associated with it?

Whether the emotion is happiness, a genuine excitement, or a sense of calm, etc.....

What is your view of the nature of faith?
 

SteveB

Well-known member
I suppose I should state....

This is about your perspective, not doctrinal accuracy.
So, if you choose to quote Hebrews 11:1, then please provide personal perspective as a key point.
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
I suppose I should state....

This is about your perspective, not doctrinal accuracy.
So, if you choose to quote Hebrews 11:1, then please provide personal perspective as a key point.

I think there are two different ways for a Christian to view faith and both are connected to its object. We know its subject: Ourselves. But faith in what?

1. We can have faith in a doctrine if we consider the doctrine a truth. But even this can be viewed in two different ways. Let's say we are talking about the doctrine of the Atonement. We can:

a. Merely give mental assent to the doctrine as a statement of fact, in which case it is a mental comfort but not much else, or we can

b. Have a deeper understanding of the doctrine as to WHY it is a statement of fact.

Either of these is better than no faith at all, and I think a case can be made for both being initiated by God, as long as we realize that "the devil believes and trembles." So much for mere mental assent. Infinitely better:

2. We can have faith in a PERSON, Jesus Christ Himself. This is faith that is TRUST. Romans 8:28 is no longer a mere doctrine, but a deep abiding belief that affects every step we take, every thought we think in a positive way. Like Job, the motto of our soul becomes, "Though He slay me, I know that my Redeemer liveth."

Let me give an example of the difference between 1 and 2 above;

My best friend wants to test my faith in him. He says he will stand behind me on a concrete floor and asks me to fall backwards in a rigid position and promises to catch me. If I only have type 1 faith I will instinctively brace myself before he can catch me. But if I have type 2 faith I will go limp and fall backwards into his arms.

But I cannot force type 2 faith on myself. It must come from a rather full knowledge of the character of my friend. Likewise, in order to have the kind of faith in God that leads to OBEDIENT trust in Him, we must get to know Jesus Himself in an intimate way.
 

4tune8chance

Active member
Well lets start at the dictionary definition:
1. Complete trust of confidence in someone or something.

So that's a fair enough definition IMO, My view on this definition is its not a reliable method of determining truth. .i.e. you can have misplaced trust or confidence in that someone or that something for a variety of reasons.

2. Strong belief in the doctrine of a religion based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.

Again a good definition. My view, again is that it is not a reliable method of determining truth. i.e. fact, there many many mutually exclusive religions and they can't all be right, non have proofs, and the members all rely on "spiritual convictions" to convince themselves they are in possession of "the truth".

When having faith receives a confirming outcome that experience justifies, wrongly, that their faith is correct, if the outcome is negative, out come the excuses, (heads I win tails you lose).

Faith is just burying your head in the sand.
 

Slyzr

Well-known member
Numerous people on this forum have been describing their ideas of faith in terms of what they will not believe.

Some have even been among those who once believed but left, for some undefined reasons.

As part of my own experience over the past 45 years, I've found myself struggling with the nature of faith having a primarily emotional element to it.

Over the years, numerous teachers and pastors have states-- don't trust your emotions. Emotions are like the tide, or the winds. They come and go, rise and fall. They're not something that is dependable for determining your state before God.

In the bible, we read numerous times about being afraid, fearful, feeling like God is angry with us, not being under condemnation, etc....

This question has arisen in my mind because of the numerous people who have described faith in a derogatory manner. Yet in reading their comments, it's pretty clear that they have faith, and believe they're justified in their "unbelief" in God.

E.g., they'll say things like, I used to believe, but something just changed over time and I realized that I no longer believed it, or I could not have faith that it's true, real, etc....

So.... how do you perceive faith?
Does it seem like it's an emotional thing?

E.g., if you have faith, should there be an emotion associated with it?

Whether the emotion is happiness, a genuine excitement, or a sense of calm, etc.....

What is your view of the nature of faith?

Perhaps? ... and that is debateable.

I'll toss this out there. Faith was meanst to be a help?

Seems that is the way the faith hall of fame reads.

"Who through faith" .... did this or that.
 
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Electric Skeptic

Well-known member
Well lets start at the dictionary definition:
1. Complete trust of confidence in someone or something.

So that's a fair enough definition IMO, My view on this definition is its not a reliable method of determining truth. .i.e. you can have misplaced trust or confidence in that someone or that something for a variety of reasons.

2. Strong belief in the doctrine of a religion based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.

Again a good definition. My view, again is that it is not a reliable method of determining truth. i.e. fact, there many many mutually exclusive religions and they can't all be right, non have proofs, and the members all rely on "spiritual convictions" to convince themselves they are in possession of "the truth".

When having faith receives a confirming outcome that experience justifies, wrongly, that their faith is correct, if the outcome is negative, out come the excuses, (heads I win tails you lose).

Faith is just burying your head in the sand.
It is, IMO, that when you point out some complete impossibility, inconsistency or contradiction in Christian doctrine, the response is often a shrug and "You've just got to have faith." In other words, believe despite contradictory evidence. That way lies crazy.
 

Faithoverbelief

Well-known member
Numerous people on this forum have been describing their ideas of faith in terms of what they will not believe.

Some have even been among those who once believed but left, for some undefined reasons.

As part of my own experience over the past 45 years, I've found myself struggling with the nature of faith having a primarily emotional element to it.

Over the years, numerous teachers and pastors have states-- don't trust your emotions. Emotions are like the tide, or the winds. They come and go, rise and fall. They're not something that is dependable for determining your state before God.

In the bible, we read numerous times about being afraid, fearful, feeling like God is angry with us, not being under condemnation, etc....

This question has arisen in my mind because of the numerous people who have described faith in a derogatory manner. Yet in reading their comments, it's pretty clear that they have faith, and believe they're justified in their "unbelief" in God.

E.g., they'll say things like, I used to believe, but something just changed over time and I realized that I no longer believed it, or I could not have faith that it's true, real, etc....

So.... how do you perceive faith?
Does it seem like it's an emotional thing?

E.g., if you have faith, should there be an emotion associated with it?

Whether the emotion is happiness, a genuine excitement, or a sense of calm, etc.....

What is your view of the nature of faith?
"We must here make a clear distinction between belief and faith, because, in general practice, belief has come to mean a state of mind which is almost the opposite of faith. Belief, as I use the word here, is the insistence that the truth is what one would “lief” or wish it to be. The believer will open his mind to the truth on the condition that it fits in with his preconceived ideas and wishes. Faith, on the other hand, is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings, but faith lets go. In this sense of the word, faith is the essential virtue of science, and likewise of any religion that is not self-deception.

[…]

The present phase of human thought and history … almost compels us to face reality with open minds, and you can only know God through an open mind just as you can only see the sky through a clear window. You will not see the sky if you have covered the glass with blue paint.

But “religious” people who resist the scraping of the paint from the glass, who regard the scientific attitude with fear and mistrust, and confuse faith with clinging to certain ideas, are curiously ignorant of laws of the spiritual life which they might find in their own traditional records. A careful study of comparative religion and spiritual philosophy reveals that abandonment of belief, of any clinging to a future life for one’s own, and of any attempt to escape from finitude and mortality, is a regular and normal stage in the way of the spirit. Indeed, this is actually such a “first principle” of the spiritual life that it should have been obvious from the beginning, and it seems, after all, surprising that learned theologians should adopt anything but a cooperative attitude towards the critical philosophy of science"

From Alan Watts.

I have faith. There is no emotion that I know of, but I agree with Alan Watts on the difference between faith and belief.
 

Furion

Well-known member
What is your view of the nature of faith?
The basis of biblical faith is simple. Believe what He says.

A very simple example is love.
God says love is the way, so you must exercise faith to walk in love. Rather than taking the little punk and beating him round about the head, for instance.

So as you agree with God, love is the most excellent thing, you must ignore your nature to not love, and walk in faith and love as Christ demands.

You have no earthly reason to think the punk deserves love from you, you must walk in faith believing love is the way, believe what God says about it.

I find it interesting that this is such a contested concept. I would go as far as saying the more complicated someone makes it, the more likely they'll just get confused.
 

5wize

Well-known member
"We must here make a clear distinction between belief and faith, because, in general practice, belief has come to mean a state of mind which is almost the opposite of faith. Belief, as I use the word here, is the insistence that the truth is what one would “lief” or wish it to be. The believer will open his mind to the truth on the condition that it fits in with his preconceived ideas and wishes. Faith, on the other hand, is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings, but faith lets go. In this sense of the word, faith is the essential virtue of science, and likewise of any religion that is not self-deception.

[…]

The present phase of human thought and history … almost compels us to face reality with open minds, and you can only know God through an open mind just as you can only see the sky through a clear window. You will not see the sky if you have covered the glass with blue paint.

But “religious” people who resist the scraping of the paint from the glass, who regard the scientific attitude with fear and mistrust, and confuse faith with clinging to certain ideas, are curiously ignorant of laws of the spiritual life which they might find in their own traditional records. A careful study of comparative religion and spiritual philosophy reveals that abandonment of belief, of any clinging to a future life for one’s own, and of any attempt to escape from finitude and mortality, is a regular and normal stage in the way of the spirit. Indeed, this is actually such a “first principle” of the spiritual life that it should have been obvious from the beginning, and it seems, after all, surprising that learned theologians should adopt anything but a cooperative attitude towards the critical philosophy of science"

From Alan Watts.

I have faith. There is no emotion that I know of, but I agree with Alan Watts on the difference between faith and belief.
An unreserved opening?.....What then, does faith disallow? Didn't you need to discern anything at all to come to a Christian conclusion?
 
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5wize

Well-known member
The basis of biblical faith is simple. Believe what He says.

A very simple example is love.
God says love is the way, so you must exercise faith to walk in love. Rather than taking the little punk and beating him round about the head, for instance.

So as you agree with God, love is the most excellent thing, you must ignore your nature to not love, and walk in faith and love as Christ demands.
Why would we need to refer to Christ to demand that?
You have no earthly reason to think the punk deserves love from you, you must walk in faith believing love is the way, believe what God says about it.
Why would we need to refer to what God says about it?
I find it interesting that this is such a contested concept. I would go as far as saying the more complicated someone makes it, the more likely they'll just get confused.
It shouldn't be. But when you attribute a source with such mythological baggage to such simple ideas you're bound to turn a head or two with such a "complication".
 

4tune8chance

Active member
<snip>Faith, on the other hand, is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. <snip>
You seemed to have skipped over the part of determining what is 'actually true' as opposed to having faith that you think is true.
e.g. Having faith that the god you worship is real is vastly different to that god actually existing. Faith does not get you to truth.
 

Faithoverbelief

Well-known member
You seemed to have skipped over the part of determining what is 'actually true' as opposed to having faith that you think is true.
e.g. Having faith that the god you worship is real is vastly different to that god actually existing. Faith does not get you to truth.
There is no skipping. Faith does not get you to the truth, faith is the opening to see the truth whatever that truth may turn out to be.
 

Faithoverbelief

Well-known member
An unreserved opening?.....What then, does faith disallow? Didn't you need to discern anything at all to come to a Christian conclusion?
That is correct an unreserved opening. Why would you need to discern anything to come to any conclusion? Open yourself to the truth whatever it may be.

Christian is in my opinion an ambiguous word. Just read these forums and the only thing it seems people agree upon is the word Christian. It appears that every individual has there own way. Of course they say is is God's way but that is their opinion.
 

5wize

Well-known member
That is correct an unreserved opening. Why would you need to discern anything to come to any conclusion? Open yourself to the truth whatever it may be.

Christian is in my opinion an ambiguous word. Just read these forums and the only thing it seems people agree upon is the word Christian. It appears that every individual has there own way. Of course they say is is God's way but that is their opinion.
O.K. Subtract out the baggage of the labels (Christian, atheist, whatever...). Why would you need to discern anything to come to any conclusion? I think it would be to eliminate bad conclusions.

Maybe I'm not understanding the use of the concept of unreserved opening. If it means look at the world as it reveals itself to you and your senses, your intellect and your emotions, and don't attach cultural or anthropomorphic analogies (myths) to the stimulus, then I'm a bit closer to agreement with what you are saying.

Is that the concept?
 

Faithoverbelief

Well-known member
O.K. Subtract out the baggage of the labels (Christian, atheist, whatever...). Why would you need to discern anything to come to any conclusion? I think it would be to eliminate bad conclusions.

Maybe I'm not understanding the use of the concept of unreserved opening. If it means look at the world as it reveals itself to you and your senses, your intellect and your emotions, and don't attach cultural or anthropomorphic analogies (myths) to the stimulus, then I'm a bit closer to agreement with what you are saying.

Is that the concept?
Yes, that would be spot on.
 

5wize

Well-known member
Then it sounds like you've resolved any issues you have with hell. Me clutching Christ, you clutching...your ego or something. 😎
I've never had an issue with hell personally. I just believe sanctioning such a message culturally as a method of religious recruitment is a terrible idea that impresses the vulnerable of some notion they need to live supernaturally fearful and guilt-ridden lives, lives lived like that for no tangible reason at all. There is enough mundane guilt and atonement we can address without upping the ante to some bigger-than-life, unresolvable, supernatural, and eternal guilt and fear.

Doesn't clutching Christ serve the thought in you that you'll never have to give up your ego, even in death?
 
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