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Referring to One's Religion as One's "Faith"

Referring to One's Religion as One's "Faith"

Postby Singalphile » Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:29 pm

Hi, all.

People often refer to a religion as "a faith". Sometimes it's called a "faith tradition". In recent days, I've heard two different people refer to his or her religion as "my faith". One was a Muslim and one was a Scientologist.

That seems odd to me, when I think about it.

In Christianity, the Bible - mostly Paul, but I think Peter and the writer of Hebrews too, and maybe others - refers to "the faith" more than a few times. Paul and Peter speak of being "in the faith" (Titus 1:13, 1 Peter 5:9). Of course, faith is very important in Christianity.

Do these other religions have some similar verbiage in their sacred writings? What do those religions actually have to do with "faith" (in the Christian sense)? Were other pre-Christian or 1st century religions referred to as "a faith" or "the faith"? I don't really remember that kind of language among non-Christians back in the 90's (when I was in my teens). Is it a recent development?

Kind of a random topic, but maybe someone will have a thought or insight. Thanks!
Last edited by Singalphile on Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23
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Re: Referring to One's Religion as One's "Faith"

Postby Paidion » Sat Jun 23, 2018 8:29 pm

Reza Aslan said:
Faith is personal and mysterious and individualistic and inexpressible and indefinable. Religion is merely the language that you can use to express what is fundamentally inexpressible, to define what is undefinable.


https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/faith-religion-difference_us_581ce83fe4b0d9ce6fbc02ca
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Re: Referring to One's Religion as One's "Faith"

Postby mattrose » Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:54 pm

I think the word 'religion' is, more and more, considered to have a negative connotation.

We hear about 'bad religion'
We hear about 'losing our religion'
We're told to imagine a world with no religion (and assume it'd be much better)

Even many Christians say they are 'spiritual' or a 'person of faith' instead of religious

Interestingly, Bruxy Cavey titled one of his books 'the end of religion'

But Brian Zahnd (who is otherwise very similar to Cavey) pushes back on this and has preached a couple sermons on the goodness of 'religion' (the Christian religion)

Most of it comes down to how one defines the term religion, but I'd suspect negative definitions account for why more people are referring to their religion as their 'faith'. Faith tends to have a positive connotation for most people (though strong atheists and naturalists consider it to have a negative connotation in opposition to 'reason').
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Re: Referring to One's Religion as One's "Faith"

Postby Paidion » Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:21 pm

Yes, it's amazing how the word "religion" has come to have a negative meaning. The original meaning of the word was "devotion to God" (or "gods"). So if a person is devoted to God, he is religious.
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Re: Referring to One's Religion as One's "Faith"

Postby Seeker » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:17 pm

Most nonbelievers I've known see "faith" and "blind faith" as synonyms. Faith is the place where reason is absent. But I see what I believe as being reasonable. So I tend to substitute the word "theology" or maybe "trust" when I'm interacting with nonbelievers.
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Re: Referring to One's Religion as One's "Faith"

Postby Paidion » Sun Jun 24, 2018 4:18 pm

Without faith, no one could do anything!

EXAMPLES:
A person will sit in a chair because he BELIEVES the chair will hold him up. The chair doesn't HAVE TO hold him up. I recall seeing a man sit in a chair that immediately collapsed. Yet one's faith that a chair will support him is NOT "blind faith." It's experiential faith. Chairs have always supported him in the past, and so he expects chairs to support him both now and in the future.

A person expects his car to start. That's why he enters it and turns the key. This is another example of experiential faith. Yet we all know cases where a person has entered his car, turned the key, and it did NOT start.

Then there's experimental faith. A pilot may be willing to fly a plane that has never been flown before. But it's not blind faith. He is willing because he trusts (has faith in) the manufacturers of the plane he is about to fly. However, a person who does NOT trust the manufacturers, might call his faith "blind faith."

A person's faith in God also may be either experimental and experiential. However, those who disbelieve will label his faith as "blind."
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Re: Referring to One's Religion as One's "Faith"

Postby Singalphile » Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:24 pm

Well, Christianity has been referred to as "the faith" for nearly 2,000 years. What is the role of faith in Scientology or even Islam, I wonder.
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Re: Referring to One's Religion as One's "Faith"

Postby Homer » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:56 am

Seems to me we have a problem with semantics. Are we concerned about the English meaning of faith or the Greek pistis? The word faith has shades of meaning. Paidion's view is correct; faith can have the simple meaning of "that which is believed" and can refer to many things. And then there is the biblical meaning.

I don't see how "faith" is any more positive than "religion". Christianity is our religion as well as our faith. Same with Islam.
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Re: Referring to One's Religion as One's "Faith"

Postby MMathis » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:10 pm

I have heard people all my life refer to their Faith, and took that to mean their religion. Why is this an issue.

A patriot used to be a good thing, now it means a white supremacist living in the hills of Montana, planning to overthrow the government. If you don we now our gay apparel at Chrismas people think your marching in a parade in San Francisco.

Are you a person of faith? If someone asks me that question, I never say, faith in what, I always know what they mean.
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