How Does Faith Arise In Our Thinking?

Before we begin, this is my attempt to use a Socratic style of questioning. In this post my intent is to both ask and help the reader to identify what shapes their own religious beliefs as well as the faith-based beliefs of many others? These are challenging questions, sometimes comfortable to answer and sometimes not. I contend that these are all necessary questions, so, here goes.

How does one’s faith, that is, one’s belief in a God or gods get to them? How is it that these ideas spread and become more widely accepted? How does faith then arise in one’s thinking? Also, where does the vocabulary come from? Where do these ideas and concepts originate from? Are they from your holy text?

My friend, are the doctrines of the Bible or Quran self-evident to people prior to their learning about it from others? Here’s a helpful definition of self-evident: Not needing to be demonstrated or explained; obvious.

Consider Christianity, how evident is it really that there is only one God? To take it further, how evident is it, apart from a Bible, that God is three in one? I’m of course referring to the Trinity. There are many things that holy books want us to take on pure faith, right? Here’s a helpful definition of faith: Firm belief in something for which there is no proof.

Think about sin, my friends, how evident would it be that sin exists as a form of spiritual death and separation from a God? Would people perceive evil and wrongdoing in exactly the same light if there were not a Bible or holy book of some kind to describe it in detail?


Then, what about this idea of a soul? Would we know that we have souls apart from being taught about it? Would we be aware that this soul is meant to live on forever? Where do these beliefs really stem from? How can we know that they correspond to reality?


Is faith in God grounded in our knowledge of reality? That is, in anything that exists independently of us? If so, how? How can you or I conclude angels and demons by interacting with the world? Are beliefs like this more or less true depending on how many people subscribe to them? Depending on whether the people we love and trust the most subscribe to them?


How reliable is an act of faith that desires to commit to these teachings? Is this act of trusting without evidence a reliable way to arrive at the truth? How can we know if these things are true? Food for thought.


One thought on “How Does Faith Arise In Our Thinking?

  1. all in philosophical terms, our thoughts are contingent to reality, something about reality itself and humanity give rise to the idea of some “big other”. that idea cannot be created out of a vacuum, so no one invented it. however, that doesn’t mean there is or isn’t a god. moreover, the idea of god starts as a concept. from concepts come images. all images of god are man-made, invented. these images are what folks have in mind when taking about god. this image cannot signify the “big other” we have the impression exists; the one transcends the other. and in that case, we literally have no idea what were talking about when we talk about god at all.

    as to what truth is … there are four sorts. three are absolute, and, absolutely trivial. the three are axioms, tautology, and truism. if you know what they are, you know why they’re trivial. the remaining kind is deliberation. anyone who argues there are absolutes in reality are arguing that absolutes are the case. in that case, they are deliberating and, proving themselves wrong. deliberation then, is a process of gathering reasons to assert some case. we label some sentence true if we see that reasons to assert more compelling than asserting something else. there is no as populem justification. it simply means that SINCE truth is deliberated, no everyone will agree to some assertion being the case and that most folks will since people do not generally think differently than others, and, we can expect some collection of justifications to gain popular appeal because it seems to be the most believable thing to think.

    theologically, it is god’s active presence in the world (grace) which creates faith (pistis, persuation to the good, conscience) in humanity, and the idea of god becomes a more concrete image as we participate in the good. the concept of god being goodness, the images of god coming from the atoning encounter with god as an experience of doing good. that encounter being utterly transformative, salvation is the result. this is the jewish theology of participatory pedagogy, the islamic theology of fitrah, and the christian theology of natural law.

    in the end, if there are two universes that are identical except one has a good and the other doesn’t, how would we tell which one we lived in?

    we can’t tell, and moreover, this illustrates there is no fact of the matter about reailty one can point to and say it proves god or even implies god. no matter how queer reailty or how long the odds for any phenomenon, these are all actual. god is the only dubious idea in the mix.

    unless protestants come to grips with faith and employ reason rather than fantastic stupidity, christianity will continue to be seen as absurd and continue to see people leave it and the rest, keep a rightful, healthy distance from it.

    if there is no experience of god, them there literally is no reality of god in any practical sense. if some theology exists which speaks of everything else but how to encounter god, it has no practical value at all. perhaps it’s good for church membership; who cares about church membership.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s