what is faith?


#1

I need help figuring out the concept of faith and why people believe in something, why they follow a religion.

So, why?

what is your idea of faith?

why do you believe in God?

why do you follow a set religion?


#2

To me faith is a gift from God. Its believing what you dont see but know in your heart it exists. I believe in God because His spirit lives in me. I could not do what I do without His spirit. I personally do not follow a religion. Christianity to me is a relationship between me and my Lord Jesus Christ. :thumbsup:


#3

[quote=SPOKENWORD] I personally do not follow a religion.
[/quote]

Ahh, that makes sense.

From now on you shall be ignored. Try not to address me.


#4

[quote=beng]Ahh, that makes sense.

From now on you shall be ignored. Try not to address me.
[/quote]

What took you so long. Thats your problem to much religion and not enough intimacy. :eek:


#5

Please, spokenword, beng…do not turn this into an argument, I really must know…

Beng, any thoughts/opinions from you?


#6

[quote=sarcophagus]I need help figuring out the concept of faith and why people believe in something, why they follow a religion.

So, why?

what is your idea of faith?
[/quote]

All about FAITH from CCC

All about FAITH from Newadvent.org

My understanding is shaped by them.

why do you believe in God?

Because I use my reason.

It’s infallible that man can use his reason to know God. To have faith in God, men needs grace.

why do you follow a set religion?

Because it’s the truth.


#7

Great question. Check out Cardinal John Henry Newman’s An Essay on the Grammar of Assent for a very in depth discussion.

For a “definition” from the Bible, check out Hebrews 11:6.

As for the word, it connotes a trusting in and relying upon a person. The person, in the case of Christianity/Catholicism, is Christ.


#8

Here’s my touchy-feely look on it.

[why do you believe in God?]

Because not believing in Him makes my life not important. I am here to exist for a certain amount of time and then I die. I don’t except that.

[why do you follow a set religion?]

I have been given life from God. He created me out of love. He loves me so much, and every other soul out there, that he sent His son for me. To die for my sins. But that wasn’t enough, He established a church, the Catholic “universal” church, so when I get off track it’s there to help me get back on. The church is there to help me reach salvation. Of course my salvation is mine to lose but I use the sacraments of the Church to help me when I stumble, which is often.

My faith is based on the church’s teaching but also deep down I know God exists. He is worth the search that you are making.

Jen


#9

Faith is following/adhering/clinging to/obeying/being loyal to…in this case the Christ.


#10

Hi Sarcophus,

For clarity, I bolded your guestions and underneath each question you’ll see my answer.

I will attempt to answer you questions as best as I can. Hopefully, they will make some sense to you. Here goes:

I need help figuring out the concept of faith and why people believe in something, why they follow a religion.

St Paul, the Apostle, defines faith as follows: Faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence that are not seen. By faith we understand that the world was fashioned by the word of God; and thus things visible were made out of things invisible.
Can you agree to this? It does makes sense, doesn’t?

So, why? Please see the answers below your following questions.

**what is your idea of faith? **To possess the confidence of knowing that God exists.

**why do you believe in God? **Because, again, I know he exists. The ways I experience God are numerous. I have come to the realization that nothing happens by chance. I have been in too many dangerous situations where my life has been spared to consider it just “luck.” It is just God’s ways confirming to me over and over again that He does exists and that I can completely trust Him.

**why do you follow a set religion? **The road to heaven is like a journey with obstacles and dangers. God has by revelations, manifestations, proofs, and by many other means guided and taught mankind throughout the ages how to travel this dangerous road. The “set religion” that you mentioned is for me Catholicism. I experience the Truth in its fullness in its teachings, in its guidance, in its official pronouncements by the writings of its leaders (Popes), by the stories and autobiograpies describing the lives of its saints, etc. I am totally in love with this Church. I know for a fact that practically every Catholic loves this Church. You will too when you’re able to find your way into it.

My prayer for you: May God always bless you and may the Holy Spirit of God guide you and strenghten you on your journey towards Him.


#11

Faith is trust in God. I believe in God, because I experienced His Love, through the love of my family, through the Church, through prayer. Although Catholicism is true in the sense of being factually correct, that is not why I follow it. I follow it because in it I experience the Body of Christ, both in the sacraments and in the persons who make up the Church.

Love isn’t something you do to live well. It is something you become in order to live at all. You learn to be love by sharing love and by being challenged to love, by sharing mercy and being challenged to mercy, by sharing hope and being challenged to hope. Without some supernatural breakthrough, I don’t think you can have the foggiest notion of what real religion is about unless you experience God with and in other people. Real religion teaches you and challenges you to live in God, which is to say within a greater and truer life than just what we would normally call your own.

It isn’t easy, because true religion doesn’t put you in a position to congratulate yourself or measure yourself against others. It shows that those questions are irrelevant and useless. True religion puts you in connection God, naked before God, aware that He knows all about you and still loves you. That is SO HARD. I’ll tell you right now that I don’t live there, but I know nothing will ever satisfy me until I do.


#12

[quote=BLB_Oregon]Faith is trust in God. I believe in God, because I experienced His Love, through the love of my family, through the Church, through prayer. Although Catholicism is true in the sense of being factually correct, that is not why I follow it. I follow it because in it I experience the Body of Christ, both in the sacraments and in the persons who make up the Church.

Love isn’t something you do to live well. It is something you become in order to live at all. You learn to be love by sharing love and by being challenged to love, by sharing mercy and being challenged to mercy, by sharing hope and being challenged to hope. Without some supernatural breakthrough, I don’t think you can have the foggiest notion of what real religion is about unless you experience God with and in other people. Real religion teaches you and challenges you to live in God, which is to say within a greater and truer life than just what we would normally call your own.

It isn’t easy, because true religion doesn’t put you in a position to congratulate yourself or measure yourself against others. It shows that those questions are irrelevant and useless. True religion puts you in connection God, naked before God, aware that He knows all about you and still loves you. That is SO HARD. I’ll tell you right now that I don’t live there, but I know nothing will ever satisfy me until I do.
[/quote]

BEAUTIFUL!!!:amen: Annunciata:)


#13

Thanks everyone, keep it coming!!! I knwo this sounds crazy, but I’ve spent many years, at least 3 anyway, trying to study religions, especially christianity since my husband is a christian (not catholic however, but open to ideas). I’ve tried to figure out my own opinions on several subjects to no avail. I seem more of a fence-sitter, not willing to commit to certain beliefs but to be open to all, HOWEVER, something in me is telling me that I was never meant to be that way. I am a very opiniated person, I just don’t know what my opinions are. Does that make sense?

It feels as though I am being called to make my decision, but have no idea how to find that decision. I know I have the rest of my life to do it (however long that may be), but something in me is telling me “NOW”!!!

That is why I need other opinions. I need to see what I agree with and what I don’t, to form my opinions.

So please, keep giving me your opinions if you wish. It means a great deal to me.


#14

One thing about faith that I find interesting is that Catholics and Protestants have different concepts of Faith. Karl Keating talks about this in his writings. Catholics adhere to what is called theological faith, that is faith in the truths Christ revealed to us. I like this definition I found on the web:

Theological Virtue: Faith

Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself. By faith “man freely commits his entire self to God.” For this reason the believer seeks to know and do God’s will. “The righteous shall live by faith.” Living faith “work[s] through charity.”

The gift of faith remains in one who has not sinned against it. But “faith apart from works is dead”: when it is deprived of hope and love, faith does not fully unite the believer to Christ and does not make him a living member of his Body.

The disciple of Christ must not only keep the faith and live on it, but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it and spread it: “All however must be prepared to confess Christ before men and to follow him along the way of the Cross, amidst the persecutions which the Church never lacks.” Service of and witness to the faith are necessary for salvation: “So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”

communiosancti.bravehost.com/p14.html

Fiduciary faith, on the other hand, can be described as the belief that Christ will fulfill his promises to us in good faith (sort of like one’s fiduciary responsibility to act in good faith). The difference is explained in this excerpt from the Catholic Encyclopedia’s entry on justification:

What then is the part assigned to faith in justification? According to Luther (and Calvin also), the faith that justifies is not, as the Catholic Church teaches, a firm belief in God’s revealed truths and promises (fides theoretica, dogmatica), but is the infallible conviction (fides fiducialis, fiducia) that God for the sake of Christ will no longer impute to us our sins, but will consider and treat us, as if we were really just and holy, although in our inner selves we remain the same sinners as before. Cf. Solid. Declar. III, sec. 15: “Through the obedience of Christ by faith the just are so declared and reputed, although by reason of their corrupt nature they still are and remain, sinners as long as they bear this mortal body.” This so-called “fiduciary faith” is not a religious-moral preparation of the soul for sanctifying grace, nor a free act of cooperation on the part of the sinner; it is merely a means or spiritual instrument (instrumentum, organon leptikon) granted by God to assist the sinner in laying hold of the righteousness of God, thereby to cover his sins in a purely external manner as with a mantle.

newadvent.org/cathen/08573a.htm

Personally, as a believer in theological faith, the answer to the questions posed in the OP are fairly evident from the definition given above.


#15

Dear sarcophagus,

This is an issue I have had a lot of trouble with, too. I have discussed this with many people, and one of the more interesting things to come out of this was the idea that there is a difference between faith and the experience of faith. The idea is that faith itself is really just an adherence to God’s will (I think this is the point that JKirkLVNV made), and it has nothing to do with an emotional response or a feeling of certainty on our part. To my understanding, this feeling is more properly called the experience of faith, but the two terms are often used interchangably by many. Making this distinction helped me quite a bit, and I hope it will help you as well.

In response to your questions, I have to confess that I really don’t have any experience of faith, and so I don’t know if I really, deeply believe in God or the Bible or Jesus. But I want to. I want to more than anything else. And so I do what I can to act in accord with the Church’s teachings and hope that someday I will be given this gift of the experience of faith.

As for why I follow a set religion, it seems to me that the method or practice of Christianity has been tremendously successful for thousands of years, so it seems reasonable for me to do the same. But perhaps more importantly, I have met some Christians (many, but not all, Catholic) who seem to have this experience that I want, and so it seems reasonable for me to do what they did to get where they are.

Hope this helps.


#16

[quote=mtr01]One thing about faith that I find interesting is that Catholics and Protestants have different concepts of Faith. Karl Keating talks about this in his writings. Catholics adhere to what is called theological faith, that is faith in the truths Christ revealed to us. I like this definition I found on the web:

Fiduciary faith, on the other hand, can be described as the belief that Christ will fulfill his promises to us in good faith (sort of like one’s fiduciary responsibility to act in good faith). The difference is explained in this excerpt from the Catholic Encyclopedia’s entry on justification…

Personally, as a believer in theological faith, the answer to the questions posed in the OP are fairly evident from the definition given above.
[/quote]

But this is all getting into justification. It is not wrong, as far as it goes, but it sort of keeps faith a matter of the mind. It is juridical, as if God were only our judge and not our advocate. It might even allow one to get away from the inescapable truth that any worthiness we have is pure gift.

Faith is not primarily an in-your-head belief about what set of words are true or not. Your spiritual life is not encapsulated in your mental life. At its core, rather, faith is a trust in God that holds none of yourself back as your own possession.


#17

Dear sarcophagus,

You are asking what faith is.

Faith is a gift from God.

When do you get this gift?

When you seek it.

If you do not seek faith, you will never have it.

God is a gentleman (for lack of a better word) and he won’t force his friendship on anyone.

But if you want it God will give you faith.

What do you do when you get faith?

You cultivate it like any relationship.

Religion is man’s relationship with God.

As in any healthy relationship, we use both our heart and intellect.

Those who rely on their corrupt human heart only, end up in terrible errors.

Those who rely on their intellect only will never experience the relationship.

As in a good marriage: a healthy balance is the best.

God is sufficient onto himself.

We are not.

We need God. We were created that way.

We can fill our lives with all kinds of nice things, but we will never be truly happy or fulfilled without a relationship with God.

The human heart is like a jigsaw puzzle… only one piece fits in the center… and that center piece is God himself.
God bless.


#18

[quote=SPOKENWORD]What took you so long. Thats your problem to much religion and not enough intimacy. :eek:
[/quote]

Intimacy is a part of Religion.


#19

Faith is believing in something you can not see but you know is there.

I believe because I feel like everything that exists is impossible without a God.

What do you lose by believing? nothing. What could you lose by not believing? Everything.


#20

Faith (i.e. Divine and Catholic Faith) is a supernatural virtue which, aided and assisted by the Grace of God, enables one to believe, without doubting, all that God has revealed. There are other ‘faiths’, human faith, moral certainty etc. Faith is knowledge, in fact it is the only way you can know the truths revealed by Christ. Reason takes you so far, to the ‘on the balance of probabilites’ God, but to go from that to a real knowledge and love of Christ and His Church takes the supernatural virtue of Faith, which is above reason.


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