[text]F aith is a word whose meaning has totally changed in recent years. One significant reason for this is that one meaning of the word is slipping out of common usage (‘I have faith in you’, ‘to act in good faith’), and is increasingly limited to describe religious faith. Another reason is the powerful intellectual propaganda that has lead people to believe that the Christian worldview is naïve, outdated and without a sound intellectual basis.

 

The result is that faith has come to be understood as either a term for religious beliefs, or, on a personal level, how to believe in something you want to believe in despite the absence of supporting evidence. In contemporary culture, faith has come to mean denial plus wishful thinking. Given this and the pitiful portrayal of Christians in popular culture, it’s no wonder people don’t generally give questions of faith much thought. Why bother with something that’s as utterly implausible as it is dull?

 

[info_box]Traditionally faith meant trust. Faith was not something you simply professed; it would be something on which you acted. [/info_box]

 

Faith and Trust

Traditionally faith meant trust. Faith was not something you simply professed; it would be something on which you acted. Faith was a verb, so it would not be faith simply to say that you believed I was a safe driver, faith meant you got into the car and entrusted your life to me as I drove you around town. Given this traditional understanding of faith as active trust, faith is not something limited to a shrinking minority of naïve, old fashioned, religious people. Faith is makes everyday life possible. Everyone has faith. The choices we make are underpinned by a worldview, a set of beliefs and assumptions about life and the world. Those beliefs may be consistent or inconsistent, carefully thought through or subconsciously picked up from our environment, but regardless of how much we’ve reflected on what we believe, those beliefs direct how we live. Our actions reveal where our faith lies. The question is not whether we have faith; the question is in what do we choose to put our faith?

 

Our faith is only as good as the reliability of the thing we’re trusting. An illustration: Two people need to travel overseas. One is terrified of flying and so finds the company with the best safety record, well maintained aircraft and experienced pilots. The other is very confident about flying and books the cheapest flight they can find, regardless of safety. The first person hates the trip but arrives safely. The second is very relaxed but the plane crashes. The amount of faith they had affected how they felt about the journey, but the more important question was the trustworthiness of the plane and pilot. [/text]