Now we’re cooking baby!

I ran across a post today I’ve been just waiting to find and jump on.

WHAT IS FAITH?  This was originally posted by Stacey Lawson at huffingtonpost.com, but I found a link to it over on newsvine.com where I’ve started a little news blog. That’s where I jumped right in with my two-cents worth. (please read the original post and the very interesting comments at both places)

What Faith Is

Thanks Angel for the “Faith is Not Religion” link. Here is where I have found help from the social sciences and especially in a topic most christians know little about. Faith can be demonstrated to be a “universal” characteristic of humankind. It can be studied in its “generic” manifestations rather than in the more common sense of “ideological content”, for example doctrine (this is where most of the age-long struggle within christendom comes from).

Faith deals with very important human choices and loves, everything we invest our lives in. It not only involves our minds and imaginations but also our emotions and our wills. We usually don’t ask the right questions when it comes to faith in this sense; we ask “what do you believe?” That already takes us down the road to religion and creeds and institutions. Faith is about such questions as, who do you trust for wisdom in navigating the great events of your life?  What do you set your heart on, Give your devotion/worship to? What determines the ‘values’ part of who you are?

And then there are a whole host of other not-so-insignificant questions almost everyone at some point finds herself meditating about: where did I come from? why was I placed in the family/race/country that I was born into? what is the purpose of life? where is civilization going? what happens after we die?

As you can see, these are the kinds of things that faith deals with and it is a universal because of the nature of humankind, the way we were created.(opps, I slipped, and let my own faith system show up) There is such a thing as “faith development” or stages of faith. Perhaps one of the most outstanding contributions to this whole area was the book, “Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and The Quest for Meaning“, by James W.Fowler (1981). (READ the excellent reviews at this Amazon link)I highly recommend it to anyone that is interested in learning more about faith as used in this sense.

When science tries to answer faith questions what you end up with is not pure science but a faith system. For one who answers such questions with statements that turns to the individual within, that too can be seen to be a self-developed faith system. The so-called atheists also have their own kind of faith. This is probably new to many, this concept of faith not being per se a religion. But all religious people can learn a lot about themselves and their faith by learning to study it in its generic sense.

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