Faith is a word closely associated with ‘religion,' and sharing its pejorative sense for many Americans. For others, faith is more closely aligned with ‘spirituality’ — sharing its sense of open and non-rigid practices.
Even amongst believers, faith has very different meanings and connotations. For some, faith is the opposite of both ‘works’ and ‘knowing.’ To have faith means you (a) do not know and (b) are not worried about certain works or actions. For others, faith is inseparably linked to both knowing and works — with the exercise of faith necessarily involving works and action — and leading to knowledge itself. Indeed, some would see the spiritual assurance behind faith itself as a kind of knowledge.
None of these distinctions, of course, would seem relevant to secular Americans who see faith as equivalent to imagination and belief in unicorns or fairy tales. Many of these individuals claim to live their lives based on “evidence” or “science” — rather than any faith whatsoever. Some point out that even secular individuals place their faith (or trust) in something — even if that is their own reason or human effort.
From this perspective, the question becomes not whether to have faith or not — but in what to place one’s faith.
QUESTIONS TO PLAY WITH:
-What do YOU have faith in? Science? Reason? Scripture?