WTF is Faith, anyway?

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: WTF is Faith, anyway?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 18 Dec 2009, 15:41

1) Inaction is a form of action - at least in that it has to be chosen.

2) "but then we shall see even as we now are seen"

I would say the end HOPE or GOAL of faith is absolute certainty at some point. The issue is when one believes that certainty can be gained, imo.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Cadence
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Re: WTF is Faith, anyway?

Post by Cadence » 20 Dec 2009, 13:18

I read a quote sometime ago, which I wish I could remember where so I could reference it, but it went something like this.

Faith begins where science, history, and reason can no longer explain events. Faith is not to be use to make science, history and reason conform to any specific dogma.

I am sure I butchered the quote, but the point is faith is only valuable when you have exhausted all other options. When you have studied, contemplated and reasoned the truth. I really believe faith is simply an extension of the God given intelligence we were given by the creator himself. I can have all the faith I want that the moon is made of cheese, but that does not make it so. A more classic example may be something like the earth is 6000 years old, or there was a flood that covered the whole earth, or dinosaurs never existed. These are all things I was taught as fact by a seminary teacher many years ago. I had faith that they were true, until I studied geology in college and had to reason that the evidence did not support having faith in such concepts. Even Alma in the BOM says you can only have faith in things that are true (Alma 32:21).

My conclusion is use faith to get you over the hard spots in life but use your intelligence to get you through the day. Sort of opposite of Mormon culture I know.
Faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction--faith in fiction is a damnable false hope. Thomas A. Edison

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

Curt Sunshine
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Re: WTF is Faith, anyway?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 20 Dec 2009, 17:58

My conclusion is use faith to get you over the hard spots in life but use your intelligence to get you through the day. Sort of opposite of Mormon culture I know.
Um, fwiw, I think that is perfectly consistent with what I see as pure Mormonism - and what I have heard preached from the pulpit most of my life in all of the wards and branches I've attended. ("commanded in all things . . . slothful servant" - "study it out in your mind" - glory of God is intelligence" - faith without works is dead" - "put your shoulder to the wheel" - "all the best books" - etc.)
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Cadence
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Re: WTF is Faith, anyway?

Post by Cadence » 20 Dec 2009, 18:20

Ray Degraw wrote:
My conclusion is use faith to get you over the hard spots in life but use your intelligence to get you through the day. Sort of opposite of Mormon culture I know.
Um, fwiw, I think that is perfectly consistent with what I see as pure Mormonism - and what I have heard preached from the pulpit most of my life in all of the wards and branches I've attended. ("commanded in all things . . . slothful servant" - "study it out in your mind" - glory of God is intelligence" - faith without works is dead" - "put your shoulder to the wheel" - "all the best books" - etc.)
Perhaps you are correct.
Faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction--faith in fiction is a damnable false hope. Thomas A. Edison

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

dash1730
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Re: WTF is Faith, anyway?

Post by dash1730 » 20 Dec 2009, 21:16

I too have struggled with trying to define faith. A scripture study didn’t help, neither did such books as “Faith Precedes the Miracle” It all sounded like mush to me. But I have finally come to a definition that I can work from. It is having the confidence to do things that require time, money, effort, commitment, or some kind of risk when I don’t have objective evidence that my efforts will get the desired result.

This coorelates somewhat with Hebrews 11:1 which says "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Changing the word substance to confidence helps. I feel comfortable with that because if you click on it at http://scriptures.lds.org/en/heb/11/1b it gives the word assurance. Better still, the German scripture translates to confidence. "Es ist aber der Glaube eine feste Zuversicht auf das, was man hofft, und ein Nichtzweifeln an dem, was man nicht sieht."

With this definition, I can see where I exercise a fair amount of faith. I pay tithing & fast offering, I go to church most Sundays to at least 1 meeting. I pray with my wife nightly, I make extra effort to be honest in my business dealings, I wear G’s most days. These things take time, money, effort, commitment, or some kind of risk with uncertain outcomes. To be honest I do get a benefit now. I feel more a peace with myself when I do those thing I know I should do. This is experimenting on the word, and finding it delicious. Not everything in the Church is but some of it is.
I may not walk the straight and narrow, but I try to cross it as often as I can.
---J Golden Kimball

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HiJolly
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Re: WTF is Faith, anyway?

Post by HiJolly » 05 Jan 2010, 11:38

swimordie wrote:So, your level of certainty would motivate that action/inaction, in this way making "faith" a measure of your certainty of the belief?

That would make sense in the paradigm of "faith-promoting"; not in hearing something faith-promoting but in acting on your certainty, self-promoting the "faith" and finding oneself in a more certain place, to then repeat the process until the certainty is "unshakable". That feels self-reinforcing which makes sense in the paradigm of total immersion in the pursuit of faith, ie, praying constantly, reading scriptures regularly, bearing testimony, going to church, etc, etc.

Yes! This agrees with what Joseph Smith said, RE: faith is a gift from God.
swimordie wrote:It also makes sense in the troubling context of orthodox believers being so resistant to concepts which contradict their belief. In the self-promoting process of "faith" building, it would be counter-intuitive to let anything derail that process.

Yes, that too. It is a double-edged sword.
swimordie wrote:The end-game for orthodox believers, then, seems to be absolute certainty.

And, if the endgame is certainty, what is motivating the action at that point? Keeping score? If you know, with absolute certainty, that would call into question the true intention of any action as altruistically selfish.

Maybe??

Well, here I either don't understand you, or I part ways.

God is omniscient, He/She knows all, therefore faith is not in the equation of creation, right? Except, faith (as taught by Joseph) is a principle of power, or action. Therefore, it has something to do with making things happen.

Consider God Himself/Herself creating the universe. Knowledge is complete, Faith is therefore inactive, somehow. But actually, faith is now nascent, for God has decided to say "let there be light", and yet in that thought, there is not yet light, for God has not spoken it. It doesn't appear until God takes action and speaks. To motivate speech, faith must exist.

HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

swimordie
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Re: WTF is Faith, anyway?

Post by swimordie » 05 Jan 2010, 12:33

At some level, HiJolly, I think you understood.

From God's perspective(and in the mormon cosmology), "let there be light" is altruistically selfish. Right intentions but for more personal glory??

My examination was intended to be a little more practical, less cosmological. Take muslim suicide bombers. Their acts of martyrdom may come from a place of pure "faith" or "certainty", yet it smacks of altruistic selfishness (72 virgins).

I guess the concept I'm examining is the difference between orthodox religions' view of "faith" and the ideal of fowler's stage six view of faith. The difference, in a crude way, being the exercising of faith in pursuit of certainty versus the exercising of faith in pursuit of "goodness".

I'm not insinuating that they are paradoxical views. I just see them as different. And, I sense that they are used interchangeably while I see them as different. Therein, lies the dilemma of the original question. Does faith mean both of those views, is it the same and my differences are an illusion, or is it all just semantics?
Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it. -Poppyseed

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HiJolly
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Re: WTF is Faith, anyway?

Post by HiJolly » 05 Jan 2010, 13:18

swimordie wrote:At some level, HiJolly, I think you understood.

From God's perspective(and in the mormon cosmology), "let there be light" is altruistically selfish. Right intentions but for more personal glory??

My examination was intended to be a little more practical, less cosmological. Take muslim suicide bombers. Their acts of martyrdom may come from a place of pure "faith" or "certainty", yet it smacks of altruistic selfishness (72 virgins).

I guess the concept I'm examining is the difference between orthodox religions' view of "faith" and the ideal of fowler's stage six view of faith. The difference, in a crude way, being the exercising of faith in pursuit of certainty versus the exercising of faith in pursuit of "goodness".

I'm not insinuating that they are paradoxical views. I just see them as different. And, I sense that they are used interchangeably while I see them as different. Therein, lies the dilemma of the original question. Does faith mean both of those views, is it the same and my differences are an illusion, or is it all just semantics?
Very good, swimordie. I get you now.

I am convinced that if we pursue the exercising of faith for 'goodness' sake' alone, we cannot avoid an increase in certainty. Certainty of what? Heh.

HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

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Heber13
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Re: WTF is Faith, anyway?

Post by Heber13 » 20 Jan 2010, 10:26

I think Faith and certianty can be a moving target sometimes. I seem to have faith in things with such certainty today, then tomorrow, learn something new and try to be certain about my new faith.

I think this is why I have been focused lately on the value of learning and moving forward...it seems to me that back when I lacked faith and worked hard to have more faith in God, it helped me realize I can rely on God unquestioningly, and so I grew and learned those lessons. I became confident and certain I could rely on God's help in my life all the time (it became an expectation that I would have prayers answered instantly like they were in the past). Then I was left alone for a time without answers to my prayers as I expected to receive them to figure things out on my own. That shook my faith, but helped me grow.

In other words, instead of just staying stagnant as a TBM with certainty God will direct my every footstep, I think God wanted me to learn a new lesson and keep moving forward with experiences...and the new lessons are to rely on myself more and be more confident with myself, while realizing God does that to us at times because He loves us and cares about our progression. This provides new experiences for me and new learnings this past year that have been life altering. I'm grateful for that. But I think it varies for each individual for what they need. Sometimes they need more faith and certainty on strict obedience, and sometimes they need more freedom to exercise agency and problem solve creatively. There is no "right" or "wrong" in how we learn...it is all more experience to continue learning in new ways. That is my faith today.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

swimordie
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Re: WTF is Faith, anyway?

Post by swimordie » 20 Jan 2010, 13:27

Heber13 wrote:There is no "right" or "wrong" in how we learn...it is all more experience to continue learning in new ways. That is my faith today.
Love that insight, heber!!
Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it. -Poppyseed

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