Faith. What a wonderful thing to have, and to say “I have faith.” Do we really know what it means? Is it conceptual or is it something real? Most people would say it’s conceptual and applies primarily to religion. But ask a lawyer what faith is and he will tell you that “good faith” is a term in a contractual agreement where each party has confidence in the other to hold up their end of the bargain. So you see, Faith in and of itself is not just a religious biblical word. It is a generic universal term that applies to all religions, all people, the law and all walks of life.
Two types of faith are covered in this article: Generic faith and religious faith. Be aware there are two more vitally important types of faith to know about. Not knowing the existence, usage and differences between these faith types could range from living a life that is less than fulfilling to experiencing deadly consequences.
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Generic Secular Faith
When asked to define faith, most worldy people would be inclined to cite the dictionary's definition of faith. The dictionary defines faith as:
- Having trust and confidence in someone or something to perform as it should.
- A religious belief that is not based on proof
- A belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion
Stated plainly, the worldly definition of faith is: A belief based on trust. For example, you have enough faith in your chair to feel reasonably safe enough to sit on it. You had faith in its structural integrity to support you. If it only had 3 legs or looked like it was about ready to fall apart you probably would not have had enough faith in that chair to sit on it without risking injury to yourself or others around you. Makes sense, right?
The world knows of 2 kinds of religious faith, one is biblically accurate and the other is a perversion of the truth. One is real and the other is a counterfeit straight from the pit of hell. Most people mix them together so much that they don’t even see the distinction between the two.
Religious faith #1 is: Having trust and confidence in God, knowing that He will perform as He says He will, based on proof from your own personal experience and from recorded examples in scripture.
Religious faith #2 is: The dictionary definition, a firm belief in something for which there is no proof.
Which definition of faith is biblical and which one is the worldly counterfeit from the devil?
The one from God (#1) seems obvious when defined, right? The second type of faith, “A belief in something for which there is no solid proof” is the evil faith. This type of faith is practiced by almost all religions of the world, including most of Christianity. It is also practiced in politics, government, and education and sometimes even in the workplace. Have you ever heard the phrase, “You’ve got to take it on faith”?
Religion Example of Evil Faith #2: I’m sure you’ve all heard that regarding religion. Have you ever been confused about something in the bible and looking for an answer, when you asked someone, like a priest or church elder about your question you heard the phrase, “You just have to take it on faith”? Does that really answer your question? No, it does not. That can be frustrating. Do you feel empowered? No, you do not.
Boss Example: Have you ever had your boss (or your teacher) hand you a work assignment and tells you to do it a certain way that did not make sense to you? When you ask why he says, “Just trust me on this”… But still did not tell you why? Does that really answer your question? Nope. That’s frustrating. Do you feel empowered to do your job (or your assignment) to the best of your abilities? No, you do not.
Political Example: The 2008 Obama Presidential campaign slogan, “Change we can believe in”. Notice the use of the word “believe”. This man told us he was going to render change; in fact he made over 500 big promises, but did not clearly define what exactly those changes would be. He offered no proof based on his prior experiences that he can render such change on a large scale. He basically appealed to everyone to “Take it on faith”. And the people fell for it.
In the “campaign promises” department Obama is no different than any other politician, but most of them have the experience to back up their promises. Where Obama took it to a whole new level was in his total lack of experience to fulfill his promises. This is what the most amazing thing about his campaign is: His lack of “on the job” experience in government is well documented and undisputable. But enough people “took it on faith” and voted for him. He got by on his wit, his charm and his big warm smile. That’s what a charlatan or a snake oil salesman does, and the people that fall for them feel betrayed when they discover the truth.
At this point, two questions about faith should come to mind:
Question 1) If the Godly faith is good because it is based on proof and common sense, why then does the world operate the 2nd kind of faith more than the first?
Answer: Well for one thing it’s in the dictionary. That is how we were taught to believe. It’s also the easiest way to believe because it takes no effort on our part other than mere acceptance. It’s the lazy way out. Nothing to research, nothing to learn, no hard work involved, just simply believe in it. Sit back and let someone else handle it.
Question 2) The second type of faith “a belief in something with no proof” doesn’t sound very bad, what makes it so evil? I thought it was a good thing… it shows trust, confidence, conviction, dedication and devotion!
Answer: I think you might already be seeing why this method of believing is so devious. It makes you slothful and complacent. It’s misleading. It does not empower you to make solid choices for your self based on proof, it only teaches you to follow blindly. In life that can be dangerous, especially if you are following someone who is not worthy of being followed.
Concerning the bible and spiritual truth, it’s deadly. If you hear someone say “just believe me” or “take it on faith”, then go the other direction as fast as you can. Because they don’t know the answer or they are outright lying to you and/or trying to get you to believe in something for which there is no reliable proof.
Faith is Superstition According to the Dictionary
“A belief in something for which there is no proof” is actually the definition of superstition which the dictionary defines as: "Any blindly accepted belief or notion not based on reason or knowledge" –Where does superstition come from? The devil and from man made legends. Believing in something where there is no physical proof will at the very least make you look foolish, at the worst it can get you into a lot of trouble.
When studying the bible, believing in something for which there is no reliable proof or scriptural evidence will lead you away from God and Jesus Christ, who are your true sources of power, and into darkness, confusion and ultimately destruction. The devil is tricky and this little lie is very deadly. Now please don’t condemn yourself or feel stupid if you have fallen for this lie in the past. I have fallen for it before and so have a lot of other very smart people throughout history.
The famous author and religious skeptic Mark Twain said of this type of faith, "Faith is believing what you know ain't so." Knowing what we just learned about faith and superstition that he apparently did not know, is it any wonder why he was a skeptic? Using Mark Twain’s definition, I would be a skeptic too, and so should you.
The Bottom Line:
Not being able to understand something in the Bible to the point that
someone has to “take it on faith” should be a huge red flag
to you that maybe it’s not the truth.
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About the Teacher:
Daniel Sweet is the President and founder of God's Word First. He is an ordained minister, biblical scholar, teacher of the holy spirit and an expert author on the subject of Leadership. He and his wife, Debbra Sweet have overseen the growth and development of multiple in home fellowships and have been instrumental in helping many people come to the knowledge and truth of God's Word.