What’s so special about Faith?

One common refrain I get so sick of hearing is “so and so is a man of faith.”  Usually this vague platitude is espoused by a reporter or political spear catcher for the purpose of convincing voters that the candidate is “religious” (whatever that means).

The problem with statement, “he/she has faith”, is that everyone has faith. It is the equivalent of  saying, “so and so is breathing air.”  You may ask but doesn’t the Bible say we must have faith in order to please God? (Heb 11:6).  The answer is absolutely. But in Scripture faith is never removed from its object, the true God. Faith is nothing more or less than a confident trust in something that one does not have absolute perfect proof for. Faith is to be distinguished from fideism, which is belief in spite of the evidence. Faith is belief on account of the evidence.

The analogy I use is a fog ridden road.  As you drive, how do you “know” that the road isn’t taking you off a cliff? You can’t see the road too far ahead and chances are you are driving too fast (called overdriving your headlights) that by the time you see the cliff you won’t be able to stop in time to keep from going over the edge.  Faith is the belief that the road keeps going.  So in this definition, Pagans had and have faith. Athiests have faith. Everybody has faith.

The issue for the bible is that faith is never divorced from the object of faith. What or who do you have faith in? Granted, many people are polytheists so they have faith in all sorts of gods. But the point remains the same, atheists have faith in themselves, namely that their understanding of reality is true.  Mature business i thought about this constructed for foreign public. I have faith that Jesus Christ is the redeemer of my soul.

So when you hear that such and such a politician or person has faith. Say to yourself, “So what?” Ask the deeper question, what is the object of that person’s faith? Is it worthy of all that trust?

Stephen Vantassel

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