Jun 29, 2009

Belief vs. Faith

A quote I came across recently:

"Faith too often is reduced to belief; faith is more than cognition--it contains hope and seeds of action. It's operative power transforms, performs, creates, heals, forgives. It's generative potential is conditional upon love; if love doesn't fuel the faith, then it falls barren and sterile."

Does one have to believe in order to have faith?

Is faith without belief dead?

6 comments:

Bishop Rick said...

I think you have to have faith in order to believe, but that said, I don't think that faith is the knowledge of things that are true that can't be seen.

bewarethechicken said...

Probably more technical a response than what you're looking for, but it's hard to answer this question without some frame of reference.

What do you mean by "faith"? What do you mean by "belief"? While modern religion has cast both these as ends in and of themselves - I think in order to have a discussion on them, one must ask: "faith/belief in what?"

Almost every dictionary definition I can find for the word "faith" includes the word "belief."

The Faithful Dissident said...

"I don't think that faith is the knowledge of things that are true that can't be seen."

I agree. Because otherwise it's just knowledge.

We tend to equate belief with faith, but I think that faith carries more of a hope than simple belief does.

"I think in order to have a discussion on them, one must ask: "faith/belief in what?"

I suppose I was thinking in broad terms such as God's existence, but I could also ask the same question regarding specific doctrines or teachings.

I think of when Christ would sometimes chastise people for their "unbelief." Just some examples:


"And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief." (Matt 13: 58)


"And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching." (Mark 6:6)


"Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen." (Mark 16: 14)


I tend to think that we can't really make ourselves believe something -- either we believe it or we don't -- whereas we can have faith -- a hope -- that something is true, even though we can't yet make ourselves believe it.

bewarethechicken said...

You seem to say that faith is your hope of something and belief is a stronger conviction of truth. I'm not sure Webster would agree, but based on those definition faith I don't know why you'd need faith (ie. hope of something) in order to believe in it.

In the non-sacramental sense, I could have faith that I will one day win the lottery (ie. I'd like to, I buy tickets, but I don't really think I will) or I can believe that I will (ie. budget for it, maybe spend the money I know I will receive).

Based on these definitions, I think faith and belief are pretty mutually exclusive of one another.

bettyjo said...

Seems to me that belief has a degree of certainty. Faith has a degree of trust and hope. Personally I'm partial to faith. What fun is it if you already KNOW FOR SURE what will happen? That's rather like reading a good book from the end to the beginning thereby losing all the thrill and the growth of the journey.

Michaela Stephens said...

Examples of belief, faith, and hope:

I believe that families can be together forever.

I believe that sealings in the temple through proper priesthood authority bring about a forever family.

I put faith in my belief in a number of ways:
1)living worthy of a temple recommend
2)acquiring a temple recommend
3)getting married in the temple
4)doing proxy sealings in the temple

I hope (anticipate) that what I have done and continue to do has efficacy, even though I can't see now how those acts affect others (like unborn children, departed ancestors)