The Meaning of Faith

Faith is not about belief. Faith in fact has very little to do with what beliefs you hold, other than that it allows you to hold them. Faith is a sacred, deep, emotionally involved kind of trust. Faith is the kind of trust that you enter into with your whole being. Faith is the kind of trust that, when it has been broken, it hurts deep inside… but faith is the kind of trust that finds a way to trust again despite the hurt.

We are all people of Faith. Faith is a basic aspect of human nature. We live in a universe that is so awe inspiring, so infinite, so grandly complicated that all of human knowledge amounts to only a tiny fraction of reality. Indeed, much of human perception about reality is pure construct… because the whole of infinity cannot be understood by finite human minds.

The realization of just how little about the universe we actually understand exists in all of humanity, both consciously and un-consciously. That realization is one understanding of why humans created religion (but not the only one).

Faith is what allows us to function despite knowing or sensing how little we actually know about all that surrounds us. This is where beliefs come into the definition of Faith. Faith does not equate to beliefs… but it is possible to hold faith in some of your beliefs.

We can have faith in (or sacred trust in) beliefs, in principles, in people, in religious traditions, in community, in systems and institutions, in ourselves, and in the universe as a whole. This last is sometimes referred to as “Faith in God”, “Faith in Dharma”, or “Faith in Creation”. As I have found faith in the universe as a whole, that it is not conspiring against me, not indifferent to me, but rather conspiring on my behalf and that I am a part of it… I have found something to have faith in… but that is not my faith.

My faith is the ability to trust something from the very core of my being. When we are bound together by trust that touches the deepest aspects of who we are… we are living in Faith Community.

A Crisis of Faith is not when a belief is questioned, but when we sense that a deep trust has been broken.

Someone has been Faithful, a Faithful spouse, a Faithful friend, a Faithful person, when they hold not only the sacred trust they place in others, but the sacred trust others place in them as one of the most important aspects of their human existence.

A Religious Faith is not a collection of people who share beliefs, but a community of people who have made the commitment to trust one another to care for each other’s spirits and souls, and who join together for a Faith filled purpose.

Blind Faith is a trust that is not examined, not understood, and of which requires only body and soul, neglecting the mind and the spirit.

Pure Faith is the kind of trust that you hold even when your rational mind says you should not. This is a two edged sword, because at times the ability to hold a pure Faith is a blessing, at other times it is simply Blind Faith in disguise.

Click here to read the rest of the Defining Religious Language essay series

Yours in Faith,

Rev. David

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