What is Faith?

treeplanter

Well-known member
My definition of faith:

Faith is accepting as truth that for which there is no sufficiently compelling evidence
Faith is accepting as fact that for which there is no ultimate proof
Faith is believing without seeing
Faith is trusting without good reason

Whenever I share my definition of faith with a Christian it is automatically, and with a high haughtiness, dismissed
And in it's place, the Christian asserts that faith is:

"confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see"

Can somebody please explain to me how my definition of faith differs from the biblical definition?

How does having 'confidence in what one hopes for'
differ from
'accepting as truth that for which there is no sufficient evidence'?

How does an 'assurance about what we do not see'
differ from
an 'acceptance as fact minus ultimate proof'?
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
My definition of faith:

Faith is accepting as truth that for which there is no sufficiently compelling evidence
Faith is accepting as fact that for which there is no ultimate proof
Faith is believing without seeing
Faith is trusting without good reason

Whenever I share my definition of faith with a Christian it is automatically, and with a high haughtiness, dismissed
And in it's place, the Christian asserts that faith is:

"confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see"

Can somebody please explain to me how my definition of faith differs from the biblical definition?

How does having 'confidence in what one hopes for'
differ from
'accepting as truth that for which there is no sufficient evidence'?

How does an 'assurance about what we do not see'
differ from
an 'acceptance as fact minus ultimate proof'?

Let me employ your terms in bold:

I had faith in my wife's fidelity. For this I had no ultimate truth, though I did have compelling evidence (though not of an empirical nature). I believed in her fidelity without seeing it, as I am not omnipresent and there were times when we were spatially separated. I was trusting WITH good reason. I had confidence in what I hoped for, an assurance about what I did not see.

Last week in driving from my house to my brother's new home, I came across a bridge which I had never crossed. I had faith that it would hold the weight of my car without collapsing, though for that belief I had no ultimate truth, though I did have compelling evidence (though not of an empirical nature). I believed in the bridge's strength without seeing it, as I had never seen anyone cross it before. I was trusting WITH good reason. I had confidence in what I hoped for, an assurance about what I did not see.

I have faith in Jesus Christ's love. For this I do have ultimate truth, and I do have compelling evidence (though not of an empirical nature). I believe in His love without seeing it. I am trusting WITH good reason. I have confidence in what I hope for, an assurance about what I do not see.
 
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treeplanter

Well-known member
I had no ultimate truth, though I did have compelling evidence
Compelling evidence is precisely what negates faith, stigs!

Compelling evidence provides justifiable reason for belief
Faith, once again, is belief WITHOUT compelling evidence

That said, this OP is not concerned with establishing whether or not there is compelling evidence to believe in Jesus - this OP is an inquiry as to how and why Christians regularly dismiss my definition of faith out of hand even though it is one and the same as the biblical definition...
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
Compelling evidence is precisely what negates faith, stigs!

No. Absolutely not. Did you not read my reply? Obviously if I could somehow visually review all moments of my wife's life when I was not around and SAW her fidelity, it would not negate my faith, but only reinforce it. And obviously if I could watch thousands of videos of previous cars crossing the bridge, it would not negate my faith in its reliability, but only reinforce it.
 

Five Solas

Active member
Can somebody please explain to me how my definition of faith differs from the biblical definition?
Verse two, following the verse you quoted, Heb 11:1, says This is what the ancients were commended for. Read the remainder of Heb 11 and it should be obvious that your four-point definition of faith does not fit the examples of the ancients cited in Heb 11 when you consider their OT accounts. IOW, the meaning you're pouring into Heb 11:1 is impossible given the fleshing out of verse one through the rest of the chapter. For instance, Abraham, the exemplar of faith in the NT, had compelling evidence, had sufficient proof, did not believe without seeing (or in some cases hearing), and trusted with good reason.

The version of faith you're employing is Kierkegaardian, and, though I'm sure you can find a Christian here and there to define faith as such, I doubt you'd be able to produce it from any reputable Christian primary source, such as a confession or systematic theology. I'd suggest to you the Reformed definition of faith, which includes the notitia, assensus, and fiducia.
 

El Cid

Active member
My definition of faith:

Faith is accepting as truth that for which there is no sufficiently compelling evidence
Faith is accepting as fact that for which there is no ultimate proof
Faith is believing without seeing
Faith is trusting without good reason

Whenever I share my definition of faith with a Christian it is automatically, and with a high haughtiness, dismissed
And in it's place, the Christian asserts that faith is:

"confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see"

Can somebody please explain to me how my definition of faith differs from the biblical definition?

How does having 'confidence in what one hopes for'
differ from
'accepting as truth that for which there is no sufficient evidence'?

How does an 'assurance about what we do not see'
differ from
an 'acceptance as fact minus ultimate proof'?
The first and fourth are wrong. Why did Jesus spend so much time doing miracles and providing so much evidence for His resurrection if those two are true? Both Christ and the disciples spent a great deal of time presenting evidence for their message.
 

Eightcrackers

Well-known member
The first and fourth are wrong. Why did Jesus spend so much time doing miracles and providing so much evidence for His resurrection if those two are true? Both Christ and the disciples spent a great deal of time presenting evidence for their message.
To the people of the time; it does not apply to us.
 

Eightcrackers

Well-known member
My definition of faith:

Faith is accepting as truth that for which there is no sufficiently compelling evidence
Faith is accepting as fact that for which there is no ultimate proof
Faith is believing without seeing
Faith is trusting without good reason

Whenever I share my definition of faith with a Christian it is automatically, and with a high haughtiness, dismissed
And in it's place, the Christian asserts that faith is:

"confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see"

Can somebody please explain to me how my definition of faith differs from the biblical definition?

How does having 'confidence in what one hopes for'
differ from
'accepting as truth that for which there is no sufficient evidence'?

How does an 'assurance about what we do not see'
differ from
an 'acceptance as fact minus ultimate proof'?
Biblical faith is, to me, exemplified in one of the most dismal verses of the Bible:

"Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."- John 20:29

It is better to believe without seeing, than to believe because you've seen.
Ridiculous.
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
It is better to believe without seeing, than to believe because you've seen.

Correct. IF that which you believe is true. For example it is better to believe in your wife's fidelity based on her character as opposed to having a private detective follow her around to report what he sees.

Ridiculous.

No, quite the opposite. Sublime.
 

The Pixie

Well-known member
Correct. IF that which you believe is true. For example it is better to believe in your wife's fidelity based on her character as opposed to having a private detective follow her around to report what he sees.
I am curious about what sort of marriage you have where you trust your wife "without seeing" her. I thought you had kids; how did you manage that without seeing her?

The reality, of course, is that you trust your wife exactly because you have seen her, and you know what she is like. You probably knew her far better even before you married her than a private detective would get to know her.

No, quite the opposite. Sublime.
Do you applaud Muslims who believe Mohammed split the moon given there is precious little evidence that happened? That is a "sublime" belief, not that your wife is faithful, for which, as you admitted earlier, you have compelling evidence.
 

docphin5

Well-known member
My definition of faith:

Faith is accepting as truth that for which there is no sufficiently compelling evidence
Faith is accepting as fact that for which there is no ultimate proof
Faith is believing without seeing
Faith is trusting without good reason

Whenever I share my definition of faith with a Christian it is automatically, and with a high haughtiness, dismissed
And in it's place, the Christian asserts that faith is:

"confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see"

Can somebody please explain to me how my definition of faith differs from the biblical definition?

How does having 'confidence in what one hopes for'
differ from
'accepting as truth that for which there is no sufficient evidence'?

How does an 'assurance about what we do not see'
differ from
an 'acceptance as fact minus ultimate proof'?
IMO, I like the word “trust” better because to trust God does not require some “beliefs” which are all too often proven wrong. One can trust God without knowing all the facts to believe. Say, for instance, one could trust God even if evolution were 100% true. One could trust God even if it were impossible for a human to reassemble his decomposing body. Trust implies that God‘s ways are ultimately mysterious (not nefarious) but dependable.

BUT

if one MUST believe that evolution is false, in the case of religious fundamentalists, for the sake of their traditions, then there is a big problem in the faith of that believer, as their belief is not true. It begs the question, what else do they believe that is not true?

I like this quote from the following link: The difference between faith and trust

Many people believe certain facts about Jesus Christ, but knowing those facts to be true is not what the Bible means by “faith.” The biblical definition of faith requires trust in—a commitment to—the facts.”

But what are the “facts”? That evolution is false? That humans can fly through the air, walk through walls, or walk on water? Or are those mythical stories with an underlying message? Is the facts to be taken from the story that the human soul can ascend into the heavenly places, travel across space and time, or rise above the chaos waters? Therefore, I like the word “trust” better because it leaves more options on the table, especially when one is not certain what facts to believe.
 

docphin5

Well-known member
Biblical faith is, to me, exemplified in one of the most dismal verses of the Bible:

"Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."- John 20:29

It is better to believe without seeing, than to believe because you've seen.
Ridiculous.
Given the fact that the GoJohn is a spiritual Gospel that contradicts the synoptic Gospels in such a way that only it, and not the others, can be considered true, the verse above could be taken as a warning against those who take the story literally. IOW, if you (the reader) expect to see Jesus physically in flesh and bone (as Thomas, in the story, did) then you have missed the whole point of the story as written. To wit, you (the reader) have missed the blessing.

”Now I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” (1 cor 15:50)

”Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Can’t you see for yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you—unless you actually fail the test? (2 cor 13:5)
 
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stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
I am curious about what sort of marriage you have where you trust your wife "without seeing" her.

Kind of like how I'm curious as to what sort of streets you drive on "without seeing" the pavement? Isn't this fun, asking each other about stuff that has no basis in reality? Where did you get the harebrained notion that I never saw my wife?

I thought you had kids; how did you manage that without seeing her?

Actually, I COULD have had kids without having seen her. Are you so ignorant that you think blind guys can't sire kids? Did no one ever tell you about the birds and bees?

The reality, of course, is that you trust your wife exactly because you have seen her,

WRONG! Prove Ray Charles could not have trusted his wife.

Do you applaud Muslims who believe Mohammed split the moon given there is precious little evidence that happened?

Nope. Read the second word of my response to which you are replying. So you think it is TRUE that Mohammed split the moon? That's pretty stupid.
 

The Pixie

Well-known member
Kind of like how I'm curious as to what sort of streets you drive on "without seeing" the pavement? Isn't this fun, asking each other about stuff that has no basis in reality? Where did you get the harebrained notion that I never saw my wife?
Here:

Eightcracker: It is better to believe without seeing, than to believe because you've seen.

stiggy: Correct. IF that which you believe is true. For example it is better to believe in your wife's fidelity based on her character as opposed to having a private detective follow her around to report what he sees.

You were claiming you believe your wife's fidelity without seeing it, in comparison with getting a private detective to see it.

That is clearly muddled thinking. You faith is not in things unseen, it is based on compelling evidence, as you admitted earlier. Better evidence, I would guess, than a private detective can get you.

WRONG! Prove Ray Charles could not have trusted his wife.
He presumably knew her in other ways, such as talking to her.

Are you saying that it is faith only if you do not see it? If I hear an explosion, and indeed, I get knocked over by it, but I was looking the wrong way and did not see it, am I just taking it on faith? I do not think so.

I understood this to be about having good empirical evidence, and "seeing" is just a shorthand for that.

I do not know Ray Charles situation, but it is reasonably to suppose he had good reason to trust his wife, even if he could not see her, and that trust was built on compelling evidence. It was not faith - not in the sense the OP means it.

Nope. Read the second word of my response to which you are replying. So you think it is TRUE that Mohammed split the moon? That's pretty stupid.
I think Muslims are just as certain your faith in Jesus is just as false.

To me, I see no difference between the two - I think both are wrong. To me, it is like you are labelling a delusion "sublime" and the other guy's delusion as false. They are both delusions, stiggy.
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
Here:

Eightcracker: It is better to believe without seeing, than to believe because you've seen.

stiggy: Correct. IF that which you believe is true. For example it is better to believe in your wife's fidelity based on her character as opposed to having a private detective follow her around to report what he sees.

So you now realize you screwed up in thinking I was talking about my wife's existence as opposed to her fidelity? You screw up like that a lot, don't you?

You were claiming you believe your wife's fidelity without seeing it, in comparison with getting a private detective to see it.

Correct. You finally got it right. Her fidelity, not her existence.

You faith is not in things unseen, it is based on compelling evidence, as you admitted earlier.

Correct. Evidence of her character.

Are you saying that it is faith only if you do not see it? If I hear an explosion, and indeed, I get knocked over by it, but I was looking the wrong way and did not see it, am I just taking it on faith? I do not think so.

Correct. The explosion would give you assurance.


I do not know Ray Charles situation, but it is reasonably to suppose he had good reason to trust his wife, even if he could not see her, and that trust was built on compelling evidence.

Correct, like her character, like I said.


I think Muslims are just as certain your faith in Jesus is just as false.

Most likely. False faith abounds in this world. Many are deceived.

To me, I see no difference between the two - I think both are wrong. To me, it is like you are labelling a delusion "sublime" and the other guy's delusion as false. They are both delusions, stiggy.

Then prove it. Provide "compelling evidence."
 

Ontos

Active member
“Faith”

Dictionary.com
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing:
Merriam-Webster.com
1. strong belief or trust in someone or something
Dictionary.Cambridge.org
1. great trust or confidence in something or someone:
OxfordLearnersDictionary.com
1. trust in somebody’s ability or knowledge; trust that somebody/something will do what has been promised

English “faith” from the Latin “fides” from the Greek “pistis” simply means as stated above - the confident trust in a person or thing.

The Christian New Testament was written in Greek and so wherever you see “faith” it’s the Greek word “pistis” or “pisteuo” or “pistos”, and none of those words ever meant “believe without evidence" or "believe without good reason" or "believe without proof" etc...

“Believe without” is simply not historically accurate - it is completely foreign to the original understanding of the word and to try to apply that to classical Christianity is to commit an etymological fallacy.
 

treeplanter

Well-known member
No. Absolutely not. Did you not read my reply?
I did read it - and I don't believe you when you said that you had faith in your wife's fidelity

What you had, stigs, was trust in your wife
A trust established over time
A trust built upon knowledge and experience of her character

You had good reason for believing that she would remain faithful

Again, faith is a belief held WITHOUT good reason
 

treeplanter

Well-known member
“Believe without” is simply not historically accurate - it is completely foreign to the original understanding of the word and to try to apply that to classical Christianity is to commit an etymological fallacy.
The bible begs to differ...

Scripture straight up tells us that faith is belief WITHOUT seeing {i.e. evidence, proof, good reason, etc}
 

Ontos

Active member
The bible begs to differ...

Scripture straight up tells us that faith is belief WITHOUT seeing {i.e. evidence, proof, good reason, etc}
No it doesn't, you're merely interpolating "without evidence, proof, good reason".

Your definition of "faith" simply did not exist back then - you are committing an etymological fallacy.
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
I did read it - and I don't believe you when you said that you had faith in your wife's fidelity

Your belief that I'm liar is of no consequence to me. I believe worse about you.

What you had, stigs, was trust in your wife

Correct. That's what I said.

A trust established over time

Correct.

A trust built upon knowledge and experience of her character

Correct. That's what I said.

You had good reason for believing that she would remain faithful

Yep. Her character, like I said.

Again, faith is a belief held WITHOUT good reason

WHAT? You just GAVE a good reason! What's wrong with you?
 
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