Faith is a broad topic and remains mysterious to most people. Most scholars have tried to explore the concept of faith but only to the best of their understanding and the extent of their research. Faith as a topic and a concept cannot be exhaustively covered due to its broadness.
The purpose of this research paper is to explore the concept of faith as understood by different people. The research will specifically attempt to unravel some truth about faith. The concept of faith, types of faith and the criticism of faith are the key areas explored in this paper.
The concept of faith
Faith is the unwavering strong conviction that something is wholly true. According to Migliore (2004), faith can also be a belief in someone considered as being supreme and possessing supernatural ability and qualities. Faith is a concept that is central in most world religions. This is because their beliefs are founded in certain religious teachers whose teachings are considered as the absolute truth to them that possess that faith.
There is also the belief in an all powerful, all knowing being in these religions whose ability is never questioned but people professing the faith seek to obey this being without failing. On the other hand, there are those who think that such beliefs which are not founded on reality but on what one is persuaded is the reality is illogical and lacking any validity and hence choose not to believe in any religious teachings or existence of a supreme being because faith and reasoning do not agree.
Types of faith
The most common type of faith in the world is the religious faith. There are many different religions professing different faiths. What each religion believes in causes a major disparity among the different religions or even among members of the same religion. For example both Christians and Muslims believe in Jesus but there is a great discrepancy in their belief.
The greatest difference that exists to date is the belief of the Christians that Jesus is God but came in form of a man to atone for the sins of men through His death on the cross and resurrection (Migliore, 2004). This belief is strongly refuted by Muslims, who believe that Jesus was sent by God as a prophet to the Israelites and that he was not crucified and did resurrect after his death.
Within the same religious group, there can also be differing views about the faith they profess. This is one of the reasons why there are many denominations within some religious groups for example the Christians.
In regard to the Holy Books, the Muslims see the Koran as the absolute truth and being God’s unchanging word to the human race. The Christians view the Bible as the God-inspired word which can never be altered. Other religions too have what they consider Holy Scriptures for example the Bhagavad Gita for Hindus.
Criticism of faith
The concept of religious faith is not universally acceptable by all. There are those who do not believe in the existence of a supreme being controlling the universe but chose to have logical and scientific evidence and explanation concerning any belief they may be having.
They see religious faith as a misconception of what is real and those who choose to engage in it as being escapists who try to justify their illogical beliefs by disguising these beliefs as faith. Religious faith has at times been criticized for its lack of tangible scientific evidence. This has been the source of conflict between the major religions, whose proponents believe that everything in the Holy Scriptures is true, and scientists who at times have been unable to verify the truth and validity of certain claims in these Books.
Faith has also been seen by some people as something close to mental illness. The behavior of those professing a certain faith at times is beyond human reasoning and hence it becomes hard or impossible for anyone using reason to convince such a person that their belief is illogical.
Extremes in faith have been known to cause people to engage in things that not everybody can understand (Jackson, 2010). People have been killed and others have been engaged in killing others not of their religious faith. For example the Christian martyrs who would not denounce their faith and instead chose to die for what they believed in.
Although there are such criticisms about faith, its importance in the society can not be overlooked. Those who believe in reason for example are of the opinion that faith is an important aspect in the society so long as it does not cause any harm to it. Certain things also taught in the various religious teachings help regulate behavior within the society as regarding what is right and what is sinful hence peaceful co-existence among members of the society.
Faith has been a controversial topic over the years with each person seeking to advance their belief on what they think is the right thing or being to believe in. There is still no major consensus as to which faith is right. The choice to or not to believe in certain religious teachings or in a deity is entirely individual. Faith and reason have also been incompatible hence creating a big gap between those who base their faith in some Supreme Being and those who choose to use reason to come up with logical explanations about things.
Jackson, P. (2010).Extremes of Faith and Nation: British Fascism and Christianity.
Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1749-8171.2010.00230.x/abstract
Migliore, D. L. (2004). Faith seeking understanding: an introduction to Christian Theology. Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans. pp. 3-8.