Is there a difference between faith and belief?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by garbonzo, Jul 30, 2015.

  1. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    Not seen and not evidenced, which makes you wonder why Jesus bothered to go around doing miracles.
    sideshowbob likes this.
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  3. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    Flying on a broom is a reference to a particular method of psychoactive plant insertion in the body.
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    This debate is more about philosophy than linguistics. I have moved it to the Philosophy subforum.

    Fraggle Rocker
    Moderator, Linguistics
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I agree with that.

    Belief is a cognitive term. It refers to a psychological state, with a proposition as its object, in which an individual is inclined to claim the truth of the proposition.

    Faith is an idea that comes from the Biblical tradition and it can be ambiguous. On one hand it can mean something like loyalty or steadfastness, as in 'a faithful friend'. This is the thrust of the Hebrew word 'enuma', which is translated as 'faith' in the OT.

    The ancient Greeks had a word, 'pistis', which basically meant belief as defined up above. Aristotle discussed it in his Rhetoric and defined it as meaning subjective conviction.

    The diaspora Jews often spoke Greek but not Hebrew and during the Hellenistic period translated the Hebrew OT into Greek (the 'Septuigint'.) This Greek version of the OT was the text that the NT writers used, and it translated 'enuma' as 'pistis'. The NT writers wrote in Greek and followed the Septuigint, using 'pistis' for 'enuma'. Doing that gave the meaning of faith a whole different spin in the NT, moving it in a more cognitive direction.

    But the NT writers were still Jews and instinctively thought in Jewish ways, in accordance with the Jewish teaching they had received. So despite their use of the Greek word 'pistis' with its cognitive connotations, they still thought in terms of loyalty and steadfastness.

    So for them, 'pistis' wasn't just Aristotle's subjective conviction that a proposition was true. It was something stronger, the determination to live one's life in accordance with the conviction that the proposition was true. There's still the old Hebrew idea of loyalty and trustworthiness implicit in this NT usage of 'pistis'.
  8. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Faith tends to be most used in religious contexts. Belief is more often used in non-religious contexts like: I believe my teammates are will do their best or I believe that my parents love me.
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    A dictionary definition of "belief" is:
    1. Any cognitive content held as true.
    2. A vague idea in which some confidence is placed.

    And "faith":
    1. A strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny.
    2. Complete confidence in a person or plan etc.
    3. Loyalty or allegiance to a cause or a person.

    So, you might say "I believe my teammates will do their best." You might even say "I have faith that my teammates will do their best" if you're feeling very confident that they will. Similarly, you might say "I have faith in my parents' love for me."

    I started another thread to try to pick apart the differences between different kinds of faith. The dictionary is just a starting point.
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Both "faith" and "belief" are used for a whole spectrum of cognition. In general, belief is somewhat more likely to be based on evidence, whereas faith is somewhat more likely to be based on hope, but they overlap greatly.
    • The U.S. government almost always does the right thing, although often only after trying every possible wrong thing, so I believe that they will probably do the right thing about gay marriage.
    • Our son walked out the door ten years ago after we told him that we would not give him the money to relocate to Amsterdam, but we still have faith that he will grow up and come back to us.
  11. timojin Valued Senior Member

    You have to have faith in some body that will do an action . In your case you have faith in an action without some body
  12. Terry Thone Registered Member

    Faith and belief can be used interchangeably. It depends on which connotation we decide on. Typically faith is associated with religion and belief with science. My opinion but I believe and have faith in the connotations and stereotyping.
  13. spinner981 Registered Member

    Well, people have faith for 'reasons' and people believe for 'reasons' (if even these reasons are "Because I want to." or "Because the Bible says." or "Because that science book says."). Apart from that they appear virtually the same. You believe in the truth value of something, you have faith that something is true. Really the only difference is their application, where people tend to refer to 'faith' as illogical while calling 'belief' more objective not based on faith. Really though, when it comes down to it, saying that faith and belief are different is akin to saying that certain worldviews/beliefs are inherently more deserving of being thought to be true than other certain worldviews/beliefs.

    They also differ in language. You can say "I have faith that my friend will keep their promise." or you can say "I believe my friend will keep their promise." which are both effectively the same thing. Put into two different contexts, wordplay can be used to make them appear different, ie: "I have faith that my husband/wife will not cheat on me." and "I believe that my cell phone has a low battery, so I must charge it." or "I believe the earth is round."

    The difference lies in how the culture views them. But in terms of what they mean for intellectualism, they are both effectively the same thing: You have faith/belief in something for reasons, your personal opinion on the relevancy of those reasons doesn't matter.
  14. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Faith is the belief in things not seen. While seeing is believing.

    What this distinction of opposites mean; faith is something that one person does since you can't compare the unseen. Whereas belief is more a collective thing, since seeing means others can do this for verification; more than one person.

    Faith makes us unique, while belief makes us part of a collective.

    For example, God is not something you can prove in the lab. If seeing is believing, since God can't be seen, atheists don't believe in God. But to the faithful, who are a collection of unique entities, each will perceive God through other means, from which their faith will appear. This could be a feeling, intuition, or some strange unique experience that seems related.

    Before the Wright Brothers flew their plane, they had faith the plane will work. It did not yet happen yet, so nobody, including the Wright Brother could see it, to believe it. After they flew the plane, and they and others could see it was possible, faith changed to belief. Faith is ahead of its time, while belief is in its own time. Faith seeks the future when it can see. People with faith in God look forward to meeting him in heaven; future.

    The doom and gloom scenarios of manmade global warming have not yet panned out as predicted. This month is the 10 year anniversary of Al Gore's end of the earth sermon, when the earth was supposed to end, if we do nothing.

    Therefore if seeing is believing, not seeing any of these prediction happen, yet still hanging on, is being done with faith. The deniers use belief, based on not seeing the doom and gloom that was supposed to happen.
  15. timojin Valued Senior Member

    I agree I have and have fait in what I don't see, so do scientist , They believe in dark matter which they can not see, Therefore scientists are believers and they believe and have hoppes some day they will see it.
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Your position is so obviously religious that it's difficult to take seriously in a place of science.

    But to get back to the question at hand, in general the word "faith" implies a belief that is based, at least partially, on emotion; rather than on logic, observation or experiment--which comprise the toolkit of science.

    People who believe in gods, angels and the rest of the hokum of religion do so because emotionally they would feel hopeless without it. People who believe in the laws of nature, the mechanics of mathematics and the other tools of the scientist, do so because the vast majority of them have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

    And while "bullshit" is a rude comment, most of us who find science to be enriching and inspiring really do regard religion as pure bullshit. It posits an invisible, illogical supernatural universe populated by angels, gods and other incredible creatures, who pop in and out of our natural universe at irregular intervals, for the express purpose of fucking up its operation at least temporarily.

    We are happy to engage them in discussion, but the common-sense Rule of Laplace must always be honored: "Extraordinary assertions must be supported by extraordinary evidence before anyone is obliged to treat them with respect." The only evidence these people have ever presented is a tortilla (one out of hundreds of millions) with a scorch mark that is said to be a likeness of a person mentioned in the Bible--of whom no portraits exist against which to compare it!

    I confess that I absolutely cannot understand why otherwise normal, intelligent people continue to believe in fairytales in adulthood. It's difficult to respect--much less trust!--someone whose thought processes have such a catastrophic flaw.
    cluelusshusbund likes this.
  17. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I'm going to suggest that 'faith' is perhaps more typically applied to persons while 'belief' is more typically used regarding inanimate objects.

    It doesn't seem to be a hard and fast rule though. I still might say that I have faith in the foundations of my house and that I believe that Mike is a good man.

    Part of the difference might be that faith implies trust in a way that belief might not. Belief seems more abstract and intellectual.
  18. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    It's kind of similar to the distinction between, say, "mammal" and "cat". Belief is a category that faith is one member of. Both are abstract / synoptic terms, but faith is less generic than belief (hyponym contrasted with its hypernym). Pointing to a specific example of faith such as "Bob and Carol are expressing their Christian confidence / loyalty in God without need of sufficient evidence [scientific, etc]" finally takes you from those broad intellectual entities[1] to a tangible, empirical particular -- a material, observable instantiation of "faith".
    - - - - - - - - -
    [1] Or in a nominalism context, "useful linguistic devices for achieving understanding / apprehension" of what something is; especially its identity as a component of a larger scheme or concept, which the device itself may be (or a word-reference for).
  19. Waiter_2001 Registered Senior Member

    I will write faith is action based upon belief.
  20. timojin Valued Senior Member

    How can you be so positive that spirituality have false hope . Have you been ever involved in spiritual life ? Have you ever been baptized with the holy spirit ? If not , your understanding is meaningless and so your comment .
    I have a materialistic life . I need to eat ,protect my body from environment and I have reproduced myself and I work with nature to understand better nature .
    I don't have any conflict between spirituality and materialism , both entity there have place in my life.
  21. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    You quoted my answer: Different people with different beliefs have different hopes and they can't all be true.
    For the purpose of this discussion, let's say that I have been involved in spiritual life and I have been baptised with the holy spirit so my understanding is as meaningful as yours. Yet our understandings are different, so they can't both be The Truth.
  22. Waiter_2001 Registered Senior Member

    Did you like being baptized by the Holy Spirit??

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  23. timojin Valued Senior Member

    Yes, have you been ?

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