The Audacity of Faith

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
– Hebrews 11:1 NIV

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In the darkest and most trying moments of our lives, we often look to our faith to guide us through the adversities. Faith is a concept that transcends religion and culture – it is a common part of the human experience. Here, I summarise the principles of faith presented in the following books:

  • Faith: A Journey For All by Jimmy Carter
  • Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  • A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles” by Marianne Williamson
  • Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom

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The Meanings of Faith

  • The secular meaning of faith: confidence or trust in a person or thing; the observance of an obligation from loyalty; fidelity to a concept, promise or engagement. (Faith: A Journey For All)
  • Faith usually means belief in a doctrine that we accept as truth or in a truth that is self evident. Immanuel Kant says that we have faith in something due to the following reasons:
    • because we have always believed it
    • on authority that we respect
    • by self-evidence
    • through persuasion
    • through reasoning
    • because it could encompass what our community accepts as true
  • The Christian concept of faith:
    • “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)
    • “… know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.” (Galatians 2:16 NIV)
    • “For we live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV)
    • According to C.S. Lewis, there are 2 types of faith. The first is simply believing in the truth of the doctrine of Christianity. The second type of faith requires a Christian to surrender completely to God – to “despair of doing anything for [herself] and leave it to God.” Faith is a lifelong struggle – first a struggle to be good, then a struggle to accept one’s own inner flaws and offer them up to God. (Mere Christianity)
  • Faith has a unique and personal meaning to each of us based on our values and experiences. Whether we place our faith in secular institutions or religious creeds, it’s always a deeply personal phenomenon that guides our personal behaviour. (Faith: A Journey For All)

The Importance of Faith

  • Faith transcends religions and cultures. It is about believing in something larger than ourselves. Regardless of what we believe in, it is our faith that gives us the strength and hope to endure the hardship and uncertainties in life and to embrace death. (Have a Little Faith)
  • According to Jimmy Carter, his faith in other people, in principles and in God has provided his life with meaning and stability. Having faith, he accepts that any truth, scientific or otherwise, must be in harmony with his concept of God. (Faith: A Journey For All)
  • His faith was also a source of moral guidance and provided him with the framework for making difficult decisions using his human freedom. (Faith: A Journey For All)
  • To have faith is to trust in the force that moves the universe, believing that it is is on our side and is unfolding for good. Our attempts to direct this force only interferes with it. Our willingness to relax into it allows it to work on our behalf. Without faith, we will be frantically trying to control things that are beyond our control. (A Return to Love)
  • We must be able to have faith in other people; to be a person is to be able to keep faith with each other. According to Richard Niebuhr, when we hold something to be true, we always have a relationship to it through a person we trust. His exact words were “All knowing involves this triadic relation of at least two subjects and an object.” By necessity and in utilising our human freedom, we recognise in each other a common loyalty and common bond. (Faith: A Journey For All)

Strengthening our Faith

  • According to C.S. Lewis, faith is a conscious effort. It is the “art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.”  Hence, we must “train the habit of faith”. To do so, we must first accept that our emotions change constantly. We must also engage in prayer, worship, and religious readings as they help to strengthen our beliefs. (Mere Christianity)
  • Faith is a quest often accompanied by doubt. Overcoming the uncertainty we experience is an inextricable part of faith. (Faith: A Journey For All)
    • Doubt can be seen as an opportunity to strengthen our faith instead of a threat to our faith. The journey itself is its own reward.
    • Even when doubts arise, we need to have an open-minded approach to faith and turn to study and prayer for guidance.

Faith and Action

  • Having genuine faith in something or someone almost always means we will have a positive reciprocal action or response. We live by faith, with trust in other people and in mutual causes or values that we adopt. (Faith: A Journey For All)
  • “But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” (James 2:18 NIV)
  • We can demonstrate faith through many methods such as living by our principles, inspiring others, helping those in need and missionary work. (Faith: A Journey For All)

Things that Challenge our Faith

  • Contemporary society is changing quickly. The waning of previously established moral principles may challenge our faith. Yet, we must hold on to our faith as it gives us the courage to stay true to our principles and fight against injustice. (Faith: A Journey For All)
  • While science and religion seem to be in conflict with each other, they can also be seen as complementary forces in helping us to understand the world. While science aims to make the world knowable through observations and experiments, religion helps us to understand the aspects of the world that are not directly observable and cannot be proven scientifically. (Faith: A Journey For All)

Faith is more than a religious concept; it is something we can universally relate to across different cultures, religions and communities. I choose to place my faith in God, in my values and in the goodness of the people around me. I choose to live by principles and purposes that are larger than my life. When I choose to live by faith and hold on to my beliefs regardless of the extraneous circumstances, I choose to live with hope and courage.

© nightdawnday
p.s. Leave a comment if this resonated with you. I love to hear your stories!

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Nancy Ruegg says:

    A very thought-provoking post on faith, NDD. Another C. S. Lewis quote I like on the subject: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” I hate to think where I’d be if not for my faith in Jesus.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Ruth Kirk says:

    What a fantastic post! Thank you so much. My choices are just like yours. May God bless you for the rare clarity, intelligence and love that infirm your writing xxxxxxxx

    Liked by 2 people

  3. healerjack says:

    Very impressive piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. eejoseph says:

    I like this fullsome piece on faith and I hope you might come up with a doorway to faith being more than a thing. Just looking at all the things faith does, might there be a personal layer like “God is love” and “God is light “?

    Like

  5. Ryan Hauck says:

    I really love what Richard Rohr said about faith..
    “The opposite faith is not doubt; the opposite of faith is control..”.

    Thank you again for a wonderful share. Blessings

    Liked by 3 people

  6. dourdan says:

    in this day and age, people look down upon what cannot be scientifically proven, but i have the faith that when we are ready, God will allow the answer to be scientifically proven.

    Liked by 1 person

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