Episode #3: What is faith?

What do Christians mean when they talk about “faith”? Why does the Bible portray God as so obsessed with it?

We’re back with our second topical show, complementing our first show on doubt with a discussion of faith: what it means and why it’s important.

  • Fidelism is a new term for me… I looked it up and i resonate with it. I am sort of testing out pascal’s hypothesis lately with my agnostic christianity (pascal was a fidelist). Regarding morality and ethics, to be honest, neither christianity nor atheism changes my morality. In fact, the idea that our lives may be all there is, has really impressed upon me the importance of loving each other…making a difference…defying survival of the fittest.

    • Anonymous

      I’d say that Pascal’s wager was an early influence on my thinking (right around the age of 21). I remember distinctly how much my Philosophy professor despised it. I think his dislike centered around utilizing the wager as a means of ignoring difficult questions. His outlook was agnosticism (perhaps similar to yours — he very much identified with Christian ideas of morality — having received his PhD in Philosophy from Notre Dame University).

      As I perceive it, ultimately the ideas of morality are ultimately irrational, but a world that is totally bereft of some form of morality that looks beyond self-serving is not one that I want to promote.

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  • Guys, it’s neither Heb 1 nor Heb 12 but Heb 11. Believe me! 🙂 But you’re right, lots of the examples in this passage are about people acting faithfully. Logically belief precedes faithfulness but belief alone is worthless and I think this was as clear to the ancient Christians as it isn’t to the moderns.

    • Anonymous

      Marc,

      Spot on!

      Matthew

  • Werner Danielt

    I liked your discussion at the end about faith as it could apply to a non-believer. It seems many Christians have turned faith/trust/fidelity in Jesus’ person, character and story of compassion resulting in similar behavior into a belief in the literal letters J-E-S-U-S which simply stand for abstract qualities of an almost non-historical person doing abstract salvific things on one’s behalf. Is this really faith in Jesus the person. And who has more faith? Someone who has all their abstract “t’s” crossed in their belief system, or someone who lives like Jesus really lived and has faith that those actions bring healing to those around them. Yes, Jesus is the name above all names, and it is he alone who saves, but it’s not the faith in the literal letters that saves, but faith in his life resulting in faithfulness.

    • Anonymous

      Daniel,

      Well said. I know in my own experience that I’ve had arguments that one isn’t teaching Jesus until they mention the name Jesus. I, like you, believe this totally misses the point.

      Matthew