Faith… belief in the absence of proof. Just as vulnerability is a necessary condition for courage, so too is doubt a necessary condition for faith, for without the first there would be no need for the second.
Faith is often comingled with trust, and while they are related, I find them quite distinct. Trust grows and wanes as outcomes dictate. It is a running account of our certainty or lack of certainty about some outcome in the future. Not only is faith belief in the absence of proof, but it also understands that proof may never be offered, at least not in this realm. Trust can be granted, offered, earned, and spent. Faith, on the other hand, must be chosen.
Why make the choice to believe in something absent of proof? Why choose to believe in something absent of proof AND never expect to receive proof? Because faith, the choice to believe, is the wellspring of hope. And hope is the fire that lights our way when we would otherwise be lost in the crucible.
I am a non-observant Jew in a band that has many members of deep Christian faith. I am inspired being in their presence… not to adopt their beliefs, but inspired by the strength, peace, and hope that their faith provides for them. I have spent a long time ignoring the importance of faith. My bandmates have shown me what an important choice it really is. Faith, any loving faith, can be a tremendous cord running through a strong core…maybe even a necessary one. I’ll have to noodle on that belief statement a little more.
“I claim to be an average man of less than average ability… I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith.” -Gandhi
Where do you place your faith? In whom or what do you believe in the absence of proof?