“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Belief and Faith

"Belief" and "faith" are two words that are much used in religious circles.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines belief as "trust or confidence (in); acceptance of any received theology; acceptance (of thing, fact, statement, etc.) as true or existing."

It defines faith as "1. reliance on or trust in; belief founded on authority. 2. (Theol.) belief in religious doctrines, esp. such as affects character and conduct, spiritual apprehension of divine truth apart from proof; system of religious belief."

So are they much of a muchness? Well, no, according to a fascinating book I've been reading this week, called Writing the Sacred Journey. The author, Elizabeth J. Andrew, points out that what you believe and how you orient your life (what you put your faith in) can be two very different things. She writes: "Belief can be an extension of faith, but it can also exist in our heads and our verbalised convictions, quite separate from the true alignment of our hearts."

To take an example from my own life, I believe that our planet is endangered because of our profligate use of, well, just about everything, but I do not always make the most eco-friendly choices when I'm shopping, perhaps because I'm in  a hurry, or it's less convenient, or the greener product is more expensive. In which case, my actions are contrary to my stated beliefs.

I think that this is an important distinction to make, and to be aware of, as for me, the whole point of our spiritual and religious journey is to move towards living as authentically as we can, in accordance with our most deeply held beliefs and values. Whenever we *say* that we believe something or believe in  something, but our actions are quite different, there is a dissonance between belief and faith, and we are not living authentically, as I believe that God / the Spirit wants us to.

1 comment:


    When it comes to man's relationship with God it is all about the heart condition. The question is, how is your heart?

    Luke 8:15 But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

    An honest and good heart is essential in order to be a true follower of Jesus Christ.

    Ephesians 4:17-18 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart.

    Ignorance about God is due to a hard heart; it has nothing to do with a lack of intellectual ability.

    Romans 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,

    An unrepentant heart cannot produce a desirable result.

    Luke 21:34 "Be on your guard, so that your heart will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap;

    Heart health is important in order to be ready for the return of Christ.

    Acts 1:24 And they prayed and said, "You, Lord, who knows the hearts of all men, show which one of these two you have chosen

    You can fool men into believing your heart is functioning properly, however, the Lord knows your heart. Jesus can help with heart surgery, it is up to you.

    Romans 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

    Dishonoring God results in a foolish and darkened heart. This is not a heart condition anyone should seek.


    Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?"

    Peter preached the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus to the three thousand on the Day of Pentecost. That was the heart biopsy. (Acts 2:22-36)


    Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


    Hebrews 3:12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

    A Christian's heart must remain faithful till the end.


    (All Scripture quotes from: NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)

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