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Author Topic: Belief and faith  (Read 6810 times)
Purplewitch
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« Topic Start: May 05, 2007, 04:26:43 pm »

Firstly, if this has come up elsewhere, someone point me in the right direction please Smiley

Ok, since it came up in a recent debate elsewhere, and I'm now trying to work out exactly where my line on it is... where do you draw the line between faith and belief? Is there even one?

I ask, in part, because I got into a long debate with someone who has very strong ideas on the subject and while he has (in his own words) beliefs, some because of things he has experienced, he considers faith, or at least blind faith, to be foolish.

Which set me thinking about some things in more depth than I have done for a while, and now I'm trying to work out for myself how much of what I believe is belief based on experience (however unprovable to anyone else) and how much is faith, and what the difference is. If there is one.

I know it's a highly subjective can of worms. I'm just interested in any thoughts on it while I'm working out my own boundaries.
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« Reply #1: May 05, 2007, 05:25:07 pm »

Ok, since it came up in a recent debate elsewhere, and I'm now trying to work out exactly where my line on it is... where do you draw the line between faith and belief? Is there even one?

I ask, in part, because I got into a long debate with someone who has very strong ideas on the subject and while he has (in his own words) beliefs, some because of things he has experienced, he considers faith, or at least blind faith, to be foolish.

Which set me thinking about some things in more depth than I have done for a while, and now I'm trying to work out for myself how much of what I believe is belief based on experience (however unprovable to anyone else) and how much is faith, and what the difference is. If there is one.

I know it's a highly subjective can of worms. I'm just interested in any thoughts on it while I'm working out my own boundaries.

Uh... I wasn't aware there was a difference.  I thought belief and faith amounted to the same thing?  Blind faith as opposed to reasonable belief and faith I think is silly, but I never thought there was a difference between belief and faith itself.
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« Reply #2: May 05, 2007, 05:28:05 pm »

Uh... I wasn't aware there was a difference.  I thought belief and faith amounted to the same thing?  Blind faith as opposed to reasonable belief and faith I think is silly, but I never thought there was a difference between belief and faith itself.
Tell me about that one... which also poses the question where does reasonable faith and belief end and blind faith being? (Not arguing with you, finn, just thinking out loud Wink )
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« Reply #3: May 05, 2007, 05:30:20 pm »

Tell me about that one... which also poses the question where does reasonable faith and belief end and blind faith being? (Not arguing with you, finn, just thinking out loud Wink )

Blind faith, IMO, is when you stop thinking about it.  Faith is when you consider and choose to believe.

The difference is whether or not you think about it.  Not in the belief itself.  (one can even have well-thought-out belief in things that are completely nonsense.)
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« Reply #4: May 05, 2007, 05:46:23 pm »

Blind faith, IMO, is when you stop thinking about it.  Faith is when you consider and choose to believe.

The difference is whether or not you think about it.  Not in the belief itself.  (one can even have well-thought-out belief in things that are completely nonsense.)
Shadow, did I tell you today you're wonderful? lol That's exactly the thought I need to steal.
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« Reply #5: May 05, 2007, 08:33:20 pm »

Shadow, did I tell you today you're wonderful? lol That's exactly the thought I need to steal.

awww, you're sweet. Wink  and steal away!  glad to help
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« Reply #6: May 06, 2007, 12:38:26 am »

Firstly, if this has come up elsewhere, someone point me in the right direction please Smiley

Ok, since it came up in a recent debate elsewhere, and I'm now trying to work out exactly where my line on it is... where do you draw the line between faith and belief? Is there even one?

I ask, in part, because I got into a long debate with someone who has very strong ideas on the subject and while he has (in his own words) beliefs, some because of things he has experienced, he considers faith, or at least blind faith, to be foolish.

Which set me thinking about some things in more depth than I have done for a while, and now I'm trying to work out for myself how much of what I believe is belief based on experience (however unprovable to anyone else) and how much is faith, and what the difference is. If there is one.

I know it's a highly subjective can of worms. I'm just interested in any thoughts on it while I'm working out my own boundaries.


I don't think there is a difference between *belief* and *faith*. The only thing I can think of, in common usage, is that *faith* is slightly "stronger" than *belief*.

The difference between faith and blind faith, IMO, is whether you have a reason to believe what you do. I have faith in the gods, because I have experienced them in various ways; not because someone told me about them, and so it must be true. Blind faith is not based on experience, or thought process at all.
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« Reply #7: May 06, 2007, 08:10:46 am »

Ok, since it came up in a recent debate elsewhere, and I'm now trying to work out exactly where my line on it is... where do you draw the line between faith and belief? Is there even one?

I'm going to be different and say that I do see a difference between the two.  It's one that's difficult for me to articulate properly, though, so I hope people will bear with me if this winds up not making much sense.  (I'm happy to try to clarify if that's the case.)

To me, faith is something that's much more...  personal?  Internal?  Its core is based more just on what you think is true.  Belief tends to be something that you can "prove" to yourself, whether that's objectively or by deriving from other beliefs or just through UPG.  But it's based on some kind of input or information rather than just personal conviction.

Example:  I believe that I am called by Apollo.  I have faith that this is a true experience.

In that respect, I suppose that faith must always be, to some degree, blind, because there's no proving it, you just have to go with it.  But...  I don't see it as something that makes people into sheep the way "blind faith" can sometimes imply, because it's not something you're doing because someone else told you it was right.  It's more like trusting yourself and your convictions.

Did that make any sense at all?
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« Reply #8: May 06, 2007, 08:24:00 am »

Ok, since it came up in a recent debate elsewhere, and I'm now trying to work out exactly where my line on it is... where do you draw the line between faith and belief? Is there even one?

To me, there seems to be little difference between faith and belief. However, I have known people who use the word "belief" to describe things they do not know to be truth in a provable sense but that they think are ultimately proveable/disprovable and use "faith" to refer to things they do not know to be true in a provable sense and do not think is ultimately proveable/disprovable. Such a person might say "I believe in the big bang but I have faith that God is responsible for the creation of the universe."
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« Reply #9: May 06, 2007, 11:18:05 am »

I'm going to be different and say that I do see a difference between the two.  It's one that's difficult for me to articulate properly, though, so I hope people will bear with me if this winds up not making much sense.  (I'm happy to try to clarify if that's the case.)
>snip<
Example:  I believe that I am called by Apollo.  I have faith that this is a true experience.

In that respect, I suppose that faith must always be, to some degree, blind, because there's no proving it, you just have to go with it.  But...  I don't see it as something that makes people into sheep the way "blind faith" can sometimes imply, because it's not something you're doing because someone else told you it was right.  It's more like trusting yourself and your convictions.

Did that make any sense at all?

I once had someone say to me that in their pov, faith is belief that does not require proof. Belief on it's own was what they used for eg. I believe that I need oxygen to survive. I haven't researched it myself, but *somebody* prooved it.

Personally, I'm not too sure that I do see a difference between the two, other than what somebody said up-thread about faith being slightly *stronger* than belief, but I thought that this was an interesting way of putting it and that I would throw it in there.
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« Reply #10: May 06, 2007, 12:42:46 pm »

I'm going to be different and say that I do see a difference between the two.  It's one that's difficult for me to articulate properly, though, so I hope people will bear with me if this winds up not making much sense.  (I'm happy to try to clarify if that's the case.)

To me, faith is something that's much more...  personal?  Internal?  Its core is based more just on what you think is true.  Belief tends to be something that you can "prove" to yourself, whether that's objectively or by deriving from other beliefs or just through UPG.  But it's based on some kind of input or information rather than just personal conviction.

Example:  I believe that I am called by Apollo.  I have faith that this is a true experience.

In that respect, I suppose that faith must always be, to some degree, blind, because there's no proving it, you just have to go with it.  But...  I don't see it as something that makes people into sheep the way "blind faith" can sometimes imply, because it's not something you're doing because someone else told you it was right.  It's more like trusting yourself and your convictions.

Did that make any sense at all?

I understand this perfectly. I see it that way to a small degree, but it's not something I think about much. I basically think they're the same thing, and I'm not going to attempt to articulate the oh so subtle difference.
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« Reply #11: May 06, 2007, 01:11:02 pm »

I'm going to be different and say that I do see a difference between the two.  It's one that's difficult for me to articulate properly, though, so I hope people will bear with me if this winds up not making much sense.  (I'm happy to try to clarify if that's the case.)

I agree with you, Star, that there is some kind of difference between "belief" and "faith", and I don't think it's just semantics.  But I am also having trouble articulating it.

I think it has something to do with granularity.  I can break my beliefs down into pieces and define them.  I believe in Brighid.  I believe in gravity.  Faith is the overarching power that binds it all together.  Sort of the grand unifying theory of belief.  I believe all those things *because* I have faith that the universe works.

Or something like that...   Undecided
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« Reply #12: May 06, 2007, 02:17:47 pm »

I agree with you, Star, that there is some kind of difference between "belief" and "faith", and I don't think it's just semantics.  But I am also having trouble articulating it.

I think it has something to do with granularity.  I can break my beliefs down into pieces and define them.  I believe in Brighid.  I believe in gravity.  Faith is the overarching power that binds it all together.  Sort of the grand unifying theory of belief.  I believe all those things *because* I have faith that the universe works.

Or something like that...   Undecided

Hmm... "Belief" is gravity, the strong electromagnetic force, the weak electromagnetic force and... mind goes blank for the other universal force.

And "faith" is... string theory?  Tongue
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« Reply #13: May 06, 2007, 05:19:23 pm »

I agree with you, Star, that there is some kind of difference between "belief" and "faith", and I don't think it's just semantics.  But I am also having trouble articulating it.

Today I may almost have an articulation, but who knows if it will work tomorrow.

Belief is to thought as faith is to trust.
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« Reply #14: May 06, 2007, 05:40:38 pm »

Today I may almost have an articulation, but who knows if it will work tomorrow.

Belief is to thought as faith is to trust.

*points at Darkhawk*

There.  That said it more clearly and concisely than my attempt, and is pretty much what I was getting at.  Thank you.  Smiley
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