Faith has always been a troubling concept for me, something I intuitively avoid. Perhaps my uneasiness stems from the term’s multiple meanings and uses. Merriam Webster lists three definitions, with sub-divisions on the first two, of the noun “faith”:
- a : allegiance to duty or a person : LOYALTY // lost faith in the company’s president
b (1) : fidelity to one’s promises
(2) : sincerity of intentions // acted in good faith
- a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God
(2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof // clinging to the faith that her missing son would one day return
(2) : complete trust
- something that is believed especially with strong conviction, especially a system of religious beliefs // the Protestant faith
They also include in their definition the added usage “on faith” : without question // took everything he said on faith.
These definitions help me think about why I intuitively avoid faith. I value trust, but only as a confidence that is earned. Undeserved, unjustified trust seems dangerous, a gullibility that allows exploitation and manipulation. Loyalty also has its limits; clinging to old relationships by loyalty alone seems unmerited as well. In my experience, loyalties are better re-earned through constant care, compassion, and empathetic response, never on blind faith.
On the other hand, faith in the sense of “sincere intentions” builds trust, and I embrace a sincerity of intention that motivates one’s concerns, actions, and words. Now there’s something I might have faith in.
[Daily post 066 of 260 in my year-long challenge.] ♨