Faith

Introduction

Faith is among the topics that people have widely spoken and written about. There have been as many different opinions on what faith is, depending with the writers experiences and convictions. It has been said that faith has to do with the conviction of ones mind. Faith has mainly been linked with religious beliefs held by people in different religions. To some people, faith has always been taken in a negative way because it has been seen as a belief that one holds devoid of reason. This paper attempts to explore the concept of faith.

Different faiths in the world.

Hinduism

This faith is believed to have started around 4000 and 2500 BCE. It is one of the religions which are polytheistic. The most commonly held belief in this religion is the importance of doing well because of reincarnation that one undergoes after death.

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They believe that doing well gives one a chance to be reincarnated in a more dignified position whereas doing evil makes one to be reincarnated in a humiliating position than the one someone held before death for example if one was evil during their life on earth, they can be reincarnated as animals.

Judaism

According to Anon (2011), this is one of the religions that have their origin in the covenant of Abraham with God. The followeFrs of this religion are mostly the Jews who are strongly monotheistic they believe in one God and His prophets through whom He communicates to them.

They are against the idea propagated by Christians that they need salvation through Jesus Christ and believe that they are specially chosen by God and that He is going to send them a messiah in days to come (Smoller, 1930). There is also the belief that the temple that was ruined will be set up again.

Buddhism

The belief in reincarnation is also held in this religion. The followers of this religion believe in that one has to go through different stages that include birth, life and death after which comes reincarnation (Anon, 2011). Unlike other religions, they do not believe in prayers or a supreme being which many religions have and refer to as God. There is also no belief in life after death. Generally, this religion has borrowed a lot from the Asian culture and has disregarded some of the beliefs that were held previously.

Confucianism

This is a religion that has its roots in China with its founder being K’ung Fu Tzu also known as Confucius. The major teachings of this religion are good morals which include love, honesty, and loyalty among others. Good political leadership is also encouraged. Rituals are also a part of this faith but are only carried out during certain times of ones life for example birth, marriage or death.

Jainism

This faith has some similarity with both Hinduism and Buddhism. The belief of reincarnation is also present in this religion. This therefore calls for one to live a good life so that they are reincarnated in a higher caste.

They believe in preservation of life and hence try to avoid anything that would lead to the loss of life of either a plant or an animal. For this reason, the followers of this faith seek to eat only the fruits of the plant to avoid damaging it. They try very much to avoid harming any living thing because this may lead to punishment during reincarnation.

Christianity

This is among the major world’s religions with millions of followers in the world. The religion is founded on the teachings and the life of Jesus Christ. Most of these teachings and other things in the life of Jesus Christ are recorded in the Holy Scriptures, the Bible.

According to the Bible, Jesus Christ taught many people and also His twelve followers using different parables and also performed various miracles like healing people and raising the dead among others (Frank, 2008). It is also recorded that Jesus Christ died and rose again that through this, people who sincerely repent their sins may receive forgiveness of sins and everlasting life from the God the father.

There have been differences in the interpretation of the bible which has led to many denominations rising and teaching different teachings according to their convictions. It is one of the religions with many groups within professing the same faith but teaching different things.

Islam

This faith has its origin in Prophet Muhammad who is believed to be the last prophet of God sent to tell the truth concerning what was wrongly taught. The Muslims also believe in the ancient prophets like Moses and Abraham. They however, vary with the Christians concerning their belief in Jesus Christ.

The Muslims strongly believe that Jesus was just a prophet and not the son of God and was not nailed on the cross and neither did He resurrect as commonly claimed by the Christians. Considering Jesus as being equal to and the same in essence and substance with God is seen as blasphemy.

Faith and rationality

Since faith in a supreme being is majorly the foundation of many worlds’ religions, it is important to look at how rational faith in a supernatural being is. Many times when there is discussion about faith and rationality, the two have been said to be incompatible by some while to others they have been seen as two complimentary things.

Some argue that, although both faith and rationality have to do with belief, they are two very different entities. In the words of Monsma (2002), Faith has to do with belief on the unseen based on a strong conviction of the mind while rationality has to do with belief based on what is seen and reason.

Faith is therefore a complex idea that can not be easily comprehended by everyone and especially because of the negative interpretation it gets from different people (Morris, 1988). This is because of the inability to give tangible evidence on what one believes in, mostly when dealing with religious faith.

This is so because; it is usually a very hard task to give tangible evidence of the existence of a supernatural being this has led to many people seeing faith as something negative. Very few people, therefore, are willing to see faith as something positive to be embraced and those who are holding to it constantly attract a lot of criticism.

It has also been argued that faith does not always have to be rational for it to make sense. Plantinga & Wolterstorff (1983), however, state that the absence of any logical evidence in some cases of religious faith does not nullify ones belief.

For example, the absence of evidence of existence of God does not imply that there is no God, as has been advanced by atheists. Lack of evidence of existence of something does not out rightly lead to the conclusion that that thing is absent.

Faith therefore, according to the proponents of this school of thought, does not need logical evidence to work (Augustine, 2003). Calvin argues that about this from a Christian perspective. He says that one does not need to believe in God’s existence based on rationality. This is because such an approach would cause one to be on the look out always in case another person comes with a different more convincing argument about the evidence that God does not exist.

He therefore refutes the idea that faith has to be rational for it to be valid. Another reason that has been given for why belief in God should not be based on logical evidence is because God is a supernatural being who is not limited by people’s thinking and who has the ability to do beyond what a human mind could possibly imagine.

Crisis of faith

A period of crisis of faith may occur to people who profess different religious faiths. These are times of uncertainty concerning what they believe in and trying to reconcile this with what may seem logical or what others think is the right belief.

For example, when different religions suffer from the problem of different interpretations of the Holy Scriptures, regarding the right belief, there is usually a crisis of faith to the followers who are left wondering which about the possible right doctrine.

The Christians, for example, have a lot of splinter groups due different beliefs emanating from reading the same bible. The situation is so because of various reasons. For example, some choose to interpret some bible verses in isolation, while others have different doctrines because of putting a lot of emphasis in some attributes of God.

There are those who see God as merciful and emphasize on this attribute, while others emphasize on the attribute of God being a harsh judge. All these cause a major crisis of faith within the religion (Parks, 2003). The crisis of faith has not only been witnessed within the Christian religion but has been there even in other religions for example the Islam. Within the Islam religion there are the Sunnites and the Shiites.

The two groups are divided on the basis of where true leadership should emanate (Palmquist, 1984). The Sunnites, who are the majority, believe that Islamic leadership should emanate from Prophet Muhammad’s lineage, while the Shiites believe that their religious leaders should come from Ali, Prophet Muhammad’s cousin’s, lineage.

Although such periods of uncertainty about ones faith are common for many people who have certain religious faith, they are also there in other areas of ones life apart from just the area of religion. For example, people suffer periods of crisis of faith when it comes to choice of spouses, careers and other major choices which someone makes during their lifetime. One may reach a point when they are extremely unsure about whether their choice is right or they are going to regret at some point of their lives.

Conclusion

There have been numerous arguments about the concept of faith for many years. Some people choose to be more rational when doing things instead of just following a certain belief on something that they have no enough proof of while others choose to believe in the existence of a supernatural being even without enough proof.

The question about whether to believe or not to believe solely lies in an individual because faith has to do with strong conviction of ones mind. This explains the emergence of numerous religious groups with different beliefs.

Although the concept of faith is applicable in other aspects of life, for example, one needs faith to trust that they are making the right decision at any particular time, faith is more pronounced in religion. With the different types of faiths in the world, it has become very hard to tell the right faith to have (Hein, 2006).

However, with close examination, some teachings in certain major world religions seem to make sense because of the ability of that faith to produce supernatural results. For example, some of those who profess the Christian faith have been seen to work miracles like supernatural healing through belief in their God.

Reference list

Anon. (2011).Types of Religion: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism & Judaism Retrieved on 22 April, 2011 from

Augustine, A. (2003). On the Free Choice of Will: Medieval Philosophy . Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.

Frank, V.J., 2008. The Concept of Faith. Longwood, FL: Xulon Press, 2008

Hein, D., 2006. “Faith and Doubt in Rose Macaulay’s The Towers of Trebizond.” Anglican Theological Review Winter2006, Vol. 88 Issue 1, p47-68.

Morris, R. ., 1988. The concept of faith in James. US: Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Monsma, W. (2002). Faith and Rationality. Retrieved on 22 April, 2011 from

Palmquist, S., 1984. “Faith as Kant’s Key to the Justification of Transcendental Reflection”, The Heythrop Journal, 25:4 (October 1984), pp. 442–455.

Parks, D., 2003. “Faith/Faithfulness” Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Eds. Chad Brand, Charles Draper, Archie England. Nashville: Holman Publishers.

Plantinga, A & Wolterstorff, N. (1983). Faith and Rationality: Reason and Belief in

God. Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press. Retrieved on 22 April, 2011 from

Smoller, P., 1930. The concept of faith in biblical literature. US: H.U.C.,

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