Faith

This entry is part 86 of 98 in the series Principles

Principle 89

Faith

Faith is not usually looked upon as a principle, as a principle is a source for the logical pursuit of the truth. Using faith is generally seen as going contrary to logic and reason.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The current view of faith is caused by a distortion of its meaning over the centuries. The definition used by orthodox religion goes something like this.

A strong belief, not based on evidence, logic or reason, but on an internal feeling that a thing is true.

When talking about faith a believer may say something like: “I can’t explain why I believe in (take your pick) but I just have faith that it is true.”

Or: “I know that (take your pick) isn’t logical and runs contrary to science, but I have faith it is true.”

So, is that what faith is? Is it an act of faith to believe a thing just because of inner feelings? When you think of it this is not such a great foundation for belief when one considers that most inner feelings are based on what we desire to be true rather than what exists in reality.

This is why there are literally thousands of belief systems. There are thousands of different desires, or inner preferences as to what reality should be that has materialized into thousands of different faiths.

It is enlightening to learn that the current view of faith is not the same as it was in the time of Jesus.

In the New Testament faith comes from PISTIS which is derived from the root word PEITHO which basically means “to prove a thing true or false by evidence, argument, reason or experiment and through the guidance of your inner authority.”

The book of Hebrews gives an expanded definition: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Heb 11:1

We can again find that the Greek will give us a much clearer translation here. “Substance” comes from HUPOSTASIS and in modern translations it is usually rendered “assurance” or “confidence” but in reality one English word cannot do it justice. It more literally means “That state of mind which supports an idea through a sustained effort.” “Evidence” comes from ELEGECHOS which means “to prove a matter true or false”. The word indicates that faith establishes the true reality. Thus a clearer translation of the preceding verse would be: “Now faith is having that state of mind which sustains that which is hoped for and reveals the truth of those things we do not see.” This definition corresponds much better with the root meaning of the Greek PISTIS, which is translated faith.

If we have faith, we can sustain an idea until it is proven true or false. It is never a blind unreasoning belief.

The correct definition of faith should make the word acceptable to the more enlightened and intelligent persons who were previously repulsed to using it. We see that the initiate Edison, for instance, had great faith. He sustained the idea of the light bulb until he proved its validity by making it a physical reality. When faith is sustained on a true principle a physical manifestation occurs. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed.” Heb 11:2

We are also told: “But without faith, it is impossible to please Him” (God). Heb 11:6 Unless we can sustain an idea or conviction and prove it by argument or externalization we cannot please God.

Keep in mind that faith is used to not only prove things to be true, but to also reveal that which is not true. The Wright Brothers had faith that they could create a flying machine, but along the way their faith revealed many things that did not work and had to be corrected. That which did not work was as true as that which did work. By putting all things they discovered about flight in their right place they were finally met with success.

If we use this original definition of faith, then very few pious religious people today have much of a semblance of faith, but ironically, there are numerous nonreligious people who have it.

If those who claim to have faith clinging to an unfounded belief do not actually have it, then what do they have? After searching through numerous words in the Biblical Greek the closest I can find to match what is commonly miscalled “faith” is BLASPHEMOS which in the English means “blasphemer.”

BLASPHEMOS literally means “to hinder by stating an unfounded, rumored’, or unreasonable statement”. Interestingly, most of those who claim to have faith cannot support their belief with any logical foundation or reasoning, but merely repeat what they have been taught.

It is almost funny when you think of it that many of those who are so praised for their faith today may have been put to death for blasphemy in Bible times for such expressions.

So, what is the difference between true and false faith? Let us give several examples.

Faith in God

False: An imaginary unrealistic concoction of what God is that is deduced by what the person is told, what he has read or imagined for which there is no evidence.

True: A conclusion based on the examination of evidence, often accompanied by experiences, that causes one to reasonably conclude that a Higher Intelligence does exist.

Faith as applied to healing

False: Placing trust in a person, belief or procedure that does not bring results.

True: Finding a path to healing and health that brings results and does work. This may involve some trial and error until true results are obtained.

Faith in a belief system

False. Like the false faith in God many accept a belief system because some authority figure told them it was true and they have not tested it. They may have reinforced a belief in the system through study, but without questioning either the sacred books or his overseeing authorities.

True: The seeker does not accept a belief system merely because a person or a book tells him it is true. He will neither believe or not believe until he tests the principles. He accepts that which he proves with reason and evidence, rejects that which makes no sense and puts on the shelf those things which are beyond his ability to presently discover.

Fortunately true faith attracts a person of reason rather than repelling.

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. I John 4:1

Copyright 2016 by J J Dewey
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