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