DEFINING "FAITH" AND "BELIEF"
Defining these two words and explaining how
they work together during our faith journey.
The words “faith” and “belief” are
sometimes used interchangeably by religious writers, but on other
occasions are used in a way that gives each word a distinctive
meaning. The two terms can be used to
actually help us describe ‘the way forward’ during our search for both religious truth and related experiences in life. For a quick overview of the many faith and belief building options, that are actually available to us, please see the article, “How to believe in God”.
In regard to this article’s heading though, the word “faith” is used to describe, ‘a theoretical understanding, based on Bible scriptures, that we accept as truth’. On the other hand, the word “belief” is used to describe, ‘what we accept as real as a result of
experiences, when they fit our evaluation framework,’ i.e. what we come to believe beyond reasonable doubt through our justifiable reasoning processes.
To a large extent one builds on the other. For example, faith is often based on a viewpoint that sits well with what we have
already accepted through the basis of evidence. And on the other hand, experience-based
evidence can also arise through putting our previously unproven faith to the test.
The development of belief in God will not occur in the same timely
for everyone of course. We are all different. Each of us are affected
by our own individual genetic bases and the environments in which
our personalities have been forged. Some of us will require
more valid and relevant evidence to believe than others,
a result. And the
extremity of belief building
events in life will obviously vary from person to person.