Archive for category Faith

What Exactly is Faith?

Searching the heavensWe often hear the word faith without fully understanding the context in which it is being used.  This can be quite confusing since there are many shades of meaning within the word.  So let’s explore this a little.

What is the dictionary definition?  The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary provides us with the following:


Pronunciation: \ˈfāth\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural faiths\ˈfāths, sometimes ˈfāthz\
Etymology: Middle English feith, from Anglo-French feid, fei, from Latin fides; akin to Latin fidere to trust — more at bide
Date: 13th century

1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
2 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 (2) : complete trust
3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>

faith. (2010). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.

Retrieved January 22, 2010, from

Here we can see several subtle and overlapping meanings to the single word faith.  The first set of meanings (1a and b) deal more with our interpersonal relationships.  The last set (3) deals more with the object of our faith.  What we are interested here at Faith Be the Journey is found in the 2nd set of meanings.  More specifically, 2b although it usually leads to faith as defined in 2a or 3.

For our journey we are going to examine the idea of faith as being a firm belief in something for which there is no proof.  We will not be dealing with faiths (i.e. sets of doctrine and beliefs such as Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, etc. ) although we will see them quite regularly as they are often the starting point and end points of our journey.

What stands out for me in this definition are the expressions firm belief and no proof.  These are the crux of faith, at least for our purposes here.  We’ll talk soon about the conflict that arises between faith and reason since the latter struggles with the idea of “no proof”.  Yet faith is defined based on the lack of proof.  In fact, we’ll see that the most important issues of faith revolve around those that cannot be proven in a rational way.

I want to explore how our faith shapes who we are, what we do and how we relate to one another.  We’ll also look at how our faith grows or atrophies as we use it, challenge it and feed it.  I want to see how personal faith changes and grows in relation to the established faiths.

I’ve recently started attending a Truth Project seminar at my church.  This is a series of video recording that looks at the basics of the Christian faith (there is a type 3 use of the word).  [For those of you who are interested in exploring the Christian faith, I would highly recommend this series.]

At the end of session one, a question that was left for us to ponder, and as it relates deeply to the concept of faith in general, I will leave it for you to ponder as well:

Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?

Image based on the image Faith by asifthebes at Stock.xchng

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One Small Step for Man …

I remember, as a child, watching Neil Armstrong stepping on the surface of the moon.  I remember being upset that all 3 channels were

Footprint on the Moon -- courtesy of <a href=

Footprint on the Moon — courtesy of NASA

showing the space mission (24/7 I seem to recall, but I was 7) rather than my usual Saturday morning cartoons.  But, like most of the people in North America, I was enchanted by the events taking place far above us in space.

The actual small step happened while I was in bed so I saw it the next day.  But it was a very memorable event.  The “one small step” quote from Mr. Armstrong still rings in my ears 40 years later.

Faith is like that.  It is a journey of small steps.  The odd one is a giant leap into the unknown, but the journey doesn’t end.  Our faith is constantly growing or waning.  We often have what is known as a crisis of faith where we are challenged by external circumstances to examine our faith.

There are many people who feel that faith is irrelevant (which is ironically based on their faith).  But if we are honest with ourselves, we know that everything we say and do is based on some core set of beliefs that we hold — our faith.  Some of us have a faith that was taught to us (or handed down).  Others have rejected the faith they were taught and have found something new.  Still others are looking.

I’m starting this blog as a way to help people who are seeking to find a faith that they can call their own — a faith that is both sustainable and sustaining.  I don’t believe that blind faith in anything or anyone is very useful, but I also believe that faith is very important in our lives as individuals and as a society.

I’ll be very honest here.  I am a follower of Jesus Christ.  My faith is grounded in the Bible.  However, I do not wish to judge those of you who chose to follow other faith paths.  While I feel that there is only one way to God and I want to help you to find it, I truly believe that each one of us is responsible for our own beliefs.  I cannot force you to follow and I do not think that God wants us to try (although many people have tried — some well meaning, others not).

What I’m hoping for is that you will be open to discussion.  I’m hoping that you can come along with me as I share some of my experiences and beliefs as I make the journey of faith.  Whether we agree or not, we can share and encourage one another and that can’t be bad!

6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. — Hebrews 11:6 (New International Version)

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