I define faith as believing in something that is obviously false. Belief in something that is clearly impossible, untrue, a lie.

"In spite of the fact that George drank every day for 17 years, Jan had faith that he would stop today."

"faith of a mustard seed you can command a mountain to move"

Faith is belief in the ridiculous, the stupid, the invisible, the unproven, the impossible. Faith is identical to delusion.

It does not take faith to belief in things like scientific theories, because they are obviously true. They come with evidence. Faith is belief that the world is 6000 years old in spite of overwhelming physical, falsifiable evidence to the contrary.

How do you define faith?

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As a soccer referee, I have to deal with the "misconduct" of dissent quite often. Now, this is a very technical term in soccer having as much to do with the expression of the disagreement as with the content of the disagreement. By definition, any "dissent" (verbal or physical gesture disagreement with an official) can be sanctioned during a game. In practice, however, the connotations are as important as the denotations. Much of what I read here was not simple disagreement but brow-beating, "yelling", and "proof by repetition." Just like I've seen from fundamentalists of all stripes. If this were conducted by the same rules of sportsmanship that we expect our children to grow up embodying, several participants would have been "yellow carded" (cautioned) and maybe even "sent off" (red card for receiving a second yellow during the match.)

Why is this done in soccer? Because such behavior is not "playing the game", it's doing something else with the soccer field as the arena.

Also, ...

One of the joys of language is that one can use the phrase "beaten into submission" and know that most listeners understand the metaphorical connotation without having to look for the baseball bats and two-by-fours.
Well, Glenn, you do know how to use language to deflect, avoid, change, and quibble about any subject except the one which we are discussing.
Do you have any idea in your mind about what the definition of "faith" might be?
(After all, that is the "game" we are playing here.)

Or are words just mushy, pliable, vague shadows to you?

I hope I'm not being too threatening for your sensitive feelings by asking for your opinion, but, actually, if you have nothing to add to the discussion: "What is Faith", you should take your ball and go home.
The handiest dictionary lists 8 definitions for the word or standard phrasal usages. The first equates faith with trust and/or belief in somebody or something (non-religious). The second equates it with belief in god/religion. The third equates it with honest and sincere intentions.

So, to answer your question about "the definition of 'faith'", I will answer that there are at least three of them that are sufficiently distinct to require different explanations but also sufficiently overlapping to properly share the same word. As Wittgenstein explains, there are overlapping, "family resemblances" among the concepts.

With just these three examples, I would say that they share some degree of uncertainty about the total, final -- objective? -- truth of the the situation. They differ in the degree to which this situation has anything to do with God and/or religion. They are all "honorific", however; all the meanings imply a "goodness" about the referent.

None of these, however, are about the "truth" of something. "Faith" references "belief" which is about "feeling that something is definitely true." With regard to a religious definition, which I believe ... er, think ... is the issue here: I would say that religious faith is the belief that certain religious tenets are true and the proof of such truth is not necessary for the person professing the faith to continue to hold to those tenets.

[ Off-topic specifically but on-topic regarding language in general:
From the same dictionary, there are a total of 4 major, different definitions of the word "that" with a total of 16 sub-meanings or usages (not counting an additional 7 common spoken phrases.) Makes faith or belief seem pretty tame by comparison.]
Thanks Glenn. While I understand the underlying desire to strip overriding biases from the lexicon - I have been told on A|N that inference - incorrect or not - is the same as implication - not matter how transparently I qualify my meaning. This such that the words 'spirit', 'faith', 'agnostic', and many others must be considered to have no alternative meanings than those associated with a general belief in god. Ridiculous.

I found 14 definitions for 'spirit' in an entry - with only 3 referencing anything supernatural - yet there are those who would suggest the word always implies the supernatural. Might drive a fellow to overindulge in spirits.
From Glenn:

***”The handiest dictionary lists 8 definitions for the word or standard phrasal usage's. The first equates faith with trust and/or belief in somebody or something (non-religious).”

So I went to one of my dictionaries and looked up “trust”, and Lo! there be “faith”.
This kind of seems circular to me, and would be a woefully inadequate depiction for the purpose of discussing “faith” at the A/N web site.


I am sincerely interested in this first definition:
“trust and/or belief in somebody or something (non-religious).”

Could you provide an example of the word being used in this manner?
"I have faith that she will do the right thing in any situation."
I have faith that some people will never accept the non-religious use of the word faith.

I also have faith that when these folks decide on how the word faith will be defined on A/N from here on out, they will be so kind to email everyone so we will all know exactly how we should use the word so they're not confused anymore. We should thank them for this public service.
I have faith that there are more people of A|N capable of either of using context to clarify their inferences or, at the very least, identify their confusion and have it cleared up in comment process.
I certainly hope I have not been guilty of "yelling" or "proof by repetition". If you feel I have been, I would very much appreciate if you could point out an example in this discussion that warrants such a case, and I promise I will do better. "proof by repetition" is a personal pet peeve, so I can see we have that in common, as well as playing devil's advocate, which you do beautifully by the way - although my goat remains securely in his pen ;)
For the Greeks, Faith was a powerful word, pistis, and for the Romans, fides, with the same Indo European roots and the same basic meanings, was one of the five or ten most powerful in their language.

In the polytheistic Roman world, pistis/fides was good back up: a guarantee or other binding commitment (the sweater might invoke, for his own destruction in case he lied, the combined powers of the earth, heaven, and the underworld); the past experience of a businessman’s good faith or good credit; the long term reliability of friends, family, associates, or fellow-citizens, or a proof or very persuasive argument. Pistis/fides could also be the feeling of trust evoked by any of these things.

In his Speeches, Cicero used the word faith in make-or-break and even life-or-death situations. For the polytheistic ancients it came from watching their backs. The Christian faith comes from the agape version of love, from putting away intent self-protection and relying on God’s providence.
Easily overcomeable mental illness with (sometimes) severe consequences on the social aspect, affecting most of the population of this planet.
Faith is what happens when you close your eyes and ignore the facts, probably with your fingers seated firmly in yours, singing "la la la la la la la la!" so you can't hear anyone else ;)



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