When considering all tenets and creeds from across the whole religious spectrum, there is one idea that reigns supreme and is common in them all: that is the idea of faith. Since belief in anything means holding fast to some conviction, it follows that a certain amount of faith is essential to anybody who call themselves devout. Therefore, it is equally essential, if one wishes for a personal spiritual fulfillment, to strengthen and cultivate one’s faith. There is a variety of ways in which to do this, perhaps as many ways as there are religions, but all paths to doing so begin with developing a deeper understanding of the very nature of faith itself.
When referring to a dictionary, one finds that faith means “confidence or trust in a person or thing,” or “belief that is not based on proof.” These are true enough in and of themselves, but since faith is central to any belief system, one wonders just what the varied sacred texts have to say of it.
Christian theology says faith is a reliance on God’s trustworthiness. His promises delivered to us through Christ and the Bible are the manners by which man is justified or saved. To Christians, then, we see faith as a primary doctrine, for if a Christian cannot hold firm to what is promised by God, how then can he or she be considered saved? They cannot. Faith is the link through which the church relates with God and the Savior, and the same pretty much goes for all other beliefs.
In the Quran, we are told that “Allah is the protector of those who have faith: from the depths of darkness, He will lead them forth into light.” Perspectives on faith parallel not just between Islam and Christianity, but through all religions. In believing the supernatural, faith becomes one’s stronghold, one’s firmament, and ultimately, one’s deliverer.
But what of our modern era’s take on logic and reason over faith? Today, much of what holds true in science cannot, by necessity, be taken on faith alone. In the many sciences, knowledge of a property’s truth is taken only on empirical, irrefutable evidence. Therefore, in accordance with science, faith is imperfect. This thought has prevailed in society recently due to the advancements of technology and modern medicine. It has become easy to think that if science is performing so much right, faith alone is not enough.
True, perhaps. But is it possible that science, in relying on fact, slowly undermines itself? Knowledge, by many philosophers, is taken as justified true belief, but the new sciences of today that espouse relativity and uncertainty start to cut away at the classical model of physics that has been taken as doctrine for many years, a science that is supposed to be exact. Thus, it is seen that if science begins to contradict itself, an act of faith is still required to take what it says as affirmed truths.
Whether one believes in the supernatural, or holds only to what is deemed the physical, faith appears to be a requisite for both. Wherefore, logic is found to be imperfect, one can reason therefore, to have faith in illogic. After all, in many sacred texts, we are told to do as much. G. K. Chesterton offered the insight that, “faith means believing the unbelievable,” in affect encouraging his readership to embrace what lay outside the boundaries of science. Reason then is faulty, too.
This further reaffirms the importance of faith and the reason by which all religions put such emphasis upon it. Max Lucado, refering to the death of Jesus Christ, said, “only a creator beyond the fence of logic could offer such a gift of love.” In religion, logic may have its place, but it is faith that holds sway above all. If anyone is to claim that they possess a spiritual side, their acting on their faith shall surely reap many benefits and rewards. This goes for anyone claiming a creed or ethos.
Consider the United States Marines. Their motto is Semper Fidelis, which means, ‘Always Faithful.’ If holding fast to faithfulness works for the world’s greatest fighting force, it would certainly help one to ask what faith has in store for them.