Definition: Faith?

Stc95

Tribe of Judah Guild Wars Chapter Leader
Hey guys, I'm writing a definition essay on faith for my AP English class. The rough draft is due tomorrow, so most likely it will be too late to put anything in there right now. But the final draft (which is the one that counts) isn't due for another week. Anyways, I was wondering what your definition of faith is. Both in the Christian and secular viewpoints. My thesis is "Faith is an essential quality in life not pertaining to religious groups only."

Thanks guys! <3


PS. I have Hebrews 11 already, so no need for that ;)
 
I think that the best definition of faith is the one found in Hebrews 11:1, which you already have. I don't think you can get any clearer than that.
 

Stc95

Tribe of Judah Guild Wars Chapter Leader
rofl, actually the definition of Hebrews 11:1 is horrible! Faith is more than just that. I'll post my rough draft if you guys want and you can read over it and find out what I mean, as well as giving helping me out. Tho I am still curious as to your guys' definitions first.
 

David's Sling

New Member
Also keep in mind that faith should not be blind. It has substance and reason behind it. We do not need "absolute proof," otherwise it would not be faith, but we do have a reason for what we have faith in. The truth is that the Bible just makes sense - logically and practically - in light of the reality we live in. It is not enough to know for sure though, and we rely on faith to take the final plunge into His service.

Just some food for thought, hope it helps! :)
 

Durruck

Pirate!
Faith is a loaded word. It's more than just your religious beliefs.

I have faith that when my mother told me 2+4=6 that she was right.

I have faith that the grass grows green and the clear summer sky will be blue because my father told me that.

I have faith that when I sit into my chair, it won't break because it's been there to hold me up time and time again, without creaking, cracking, or bending. My chair has historically been there to hold me up.

I have faith that when my death comes, my family will be sad and hold a service for me. I've death and the grieving process hundreds of times. Even when the families are happy that the deceased no longer suffers from their illnesses and pains, the family still misses them.

Faith seems like it's a matter of believing because you have information that leads you to want to follow and listen to the potential for truth.

So how does faith fit into religion?

We all see how intricate, how detailed, how amazingly our world all fits together. We've had situations that lead us towards the truth - that there is someone, something greater out there.

Then we have this book - THE Book. It tells about this Someone and how everything came to be. And while it's a little confusing at first... and a bit much to take in... we see that there's no reason to doubt it. The Something tells people to go here, do this, eat that.... and when they listen, they are successful. When the people don't, they fail.

Some time later, a Someone comes along and says that he has the power of the Something. Then he proves it. He works miracles (feeds the masses, heals the sick, raises the dead).

We have reason to believe what he says. And even the people that don't want to admit that they're wrong and this Someone is right.... document all the stuff that Someone can do.

So then a few years later, we have a bigger book, outlining what the Something said, backed up by the works of the Someone.

So we read and try to understand the truth contained in the book of the Something and Someone.

And we try to find a way to see the Something everywhere we go, because he said he was here with us, always.

And so even though we can't always hear, can't always see, can't always feel Something, we know it's here with us anyway. So we draw reference and implication from Someone's book, and try to figure out what we should do next. That's where the faith really starts to take effect.

Even though I have no tangible, undeniable proof against it, I have enough reasons to follow directions from Someone.

And if I find out that 2+4=7, I'll be really messed up. If I find out the grass is orange and the sky is red, I'll be disappointed. If my chair breaks, I'll have a sore butt. If my family doesn't grieve my death, I won't know any different. If my faith in God is misplaced, I'm out nothing but a little time, money, and energy. Which I would have spent on other things that make me feel good... so there's really no loss there - I am contented when I help others.

Just so it's not a point of confusion - I don't have faith "just in case." I'm not one of those that says "I'll believe in God because I'm scared of the alternative." I fully and completely believe in God and Jesus because of my experiences. I'm just saying that if I'm wrong, I've lost nothing.
 

ppar3566

New Member
There is a philosopher who says that the term mental illness is a little like a gun between two man, the first to gab the gun makes the rules. In other words the first person to define what mental illness is gets to define who is mentally ill and who is not.

I think the same applies to the word faith. I feel a lot of definitions of faith float around as defining it one way allows the person who defined it to decide who has faith and does not. A perfect example is the 2 vol book that describedd the fundementals of being a christian (this is the historical root of what is meant by the term fundementalists). Those who commissioned these books suggest that those who believed the fundementals written in these books had faith and those who do not do not have faith. According to this definition i do not have faith as i do not believe in a literal seven day creation (another arguement for another time ;) ).

all of this to say, that I feel faith generally does not have a fixed definition in the way we use it but but is often defined in various ways to suit the biases or needs of those who define it. THis is a problem with lots of english words BTW and includes words like patriotic, mental illness, evil, etc. In other words, when someone defines faith I try and look for there angle cause more often than not what is happening is a case of "you do not have faith unless you believe exactly what i believe" (though this is often done in a more subtle way and i think in all honesty done frequently subconsciously)
 
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Stc95

Tribe of Judah Guild Wars Chapter Leader
Ppar said:
In other words, when someone defines faith I try and look for there angle cause more often than not what is happening is a case of "you do not have faith unless you believe exactly what i believe" (though this is often done in a more subtle way and i think in all honesty done frequently subconsciously)
Consciously I'm not trying to come across that way, and subconsciously I hope I'm not. My intention is to prove that everyone has/uses faith and not just Christian/Religious groups only.

Anyways.. here is a slightly revised edition.
 

ppar3566

New Member
Consciously I'm not trying to come across that way, and subconsciously I hope I'm not. My intention is to prove that everyone has/uses faith and not just Christian/Religious groups only.

Anyways.. here is a slightly revised edition.

No I wasn't meaning you. I was just thinking it might be an interesting angle on your assignment. The philosopher I was refering to in the last post was Thomas Szasz (try also Peter Berger & Thomas Luckmann). George Kelly also says something the same along the lines of: "If a teacher tells you that their class is unmotivated it tells you more about them than anything about the children they teach". I think it is the same with faith. Often when someone says you have or do not have faith it tells you more about who they are as a person than who you are. Or when someone defines faith it often says more about them than about what faith is. As an example, if I say faith is about giving to the poor in the name of Jesus, you are more likely to gain information about me (i.e. that i believe giving to the poor is central rather than peripheral to my faith) than about what faith is. This is best expressed by the Chesier (sp?) cat: "my words mean what i want them to mean, not what you want them to mean". Just a thought.

Anyways am going to read you essay with interest.
 

Stc95

Tribe of Judah Guild Wars Chapter Leader
Ahh ok, I understand that much better now. If there was one person who I would want to read my essay it would probably be you Ppar. I'm really interested to find out what you think, and don't be afraid to bash it... to much ;)
 

Durruck

Pirate!
I like it, Stc. I think your closing line was awesome.

Stc95 said:
It is so powerful that people have become afraid of using the word “faith”. But no matter how hard they try, people will always be in contact with faith.
An enlightening and fascinating truth, to say the least.

I like how you break into the definitions, greek translations, etc. It's amazing how "dumbed down" the Bible is by translating it to English. There are so many places that the sentence structure is important, a specific word that means something slightly different than how it's translated... I get geeked up and love reading stuff that gives a deeper explanation, and better context than what I can get with my own knowledge.
 

ppar3566

New Member
Hi STC I have given you my comments in a PM. Good work BTW i think you write nicely and think deeply (a nice combination if you ask me).
 

Kyrel Ruth

New Member
Stc!! What an awesome and enlightening paper. And I agree with ppar, you write nicely and think deeply!

Thank you for sharing this and helping us to grow in the things of God <3
 

Josh T.

New Member
I thought the paper was very good. You had lots of in depth explanation and critical thinking. I like..
 

Stc95

Tribe of Judah Guild Wars Chapter Leader
Hey guys, I finally got my paper back, and I finally remembered to let you guys know how I did. Well.. I got a B+. Which is actually more than I expected! She's one tough cookie. However, I think that I should have gotten a higher grade, based of her comments. Basically, she wanted to secularize it. Which I understand. I did take a predominantly Christian focus, but then again, that was my intention (Tho i didn't quite state it that way when we first began, it kind of morphed into that). Other than that I had a lot of citation errors (you called it Ppar) that were good last year, but apparently bad this year. However, she doesn't feel the need to teach us how to do MLA citation and what-not, but does feel the need to grade it.. *sigh* anyways, I'm pleased, and I know I did a good job, even with my God and poor citations.
 

ppar3566

New Member
Hey guys, I finally got my paper back, and I finally remembered to let you guys know how I did. Well.. I got a B+. Which is actually more than I expected! She's one tough cookie. However, I think that I should have gotten a higher grade, based of her comments. Basically, she wanted to secularize it. Which I understand. I did take a predominantly Christian focus, but then again, that was my intention (Tho i didn't quite state it that way when we first began, it kind of morphed into that). Other than that I had a lot of citation errors (you called it Ppar) that were good last year, but apparently bad this year. However, she doesn't feel the need to teach us how to do MLA citation and what-not, but does feel the need to grade it.. *sigh* anyways, I'm pleased, and I know I did a good job, even with my God and poor citations.
Congratulations!!! You deserved it. MLA *shivers*
 
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