Michael Battalio

Sunday, September 20, 2009

This I Believe (18)

This is part eighteen of my “This I Believe” series. I have had trouble over the last several years defining exactly what it is I prescribe to as a worldview. I hope to figure some of what I believe here.
Here I want to comment on two concepts: faith and hope.

Faith, in the simplest sense I can think of, is believing in something, a thought, a person, a worldview, when you have no proof for the correctness of your belief. Faith also requires knowing that your belief is true regardless of a lack of evidence supporting that belief. I think that faith without doubt is not faith. Faith without some doubt is acceptance.

I am a follower of Kierkegaard in this sense. There will never be sufficient evidence to demand belief, but faith alone will be enough to demand belief. Doubt is the rational part of the brain telling you that what faith demands is nonsense. But by its own nature faith flies in the face of that and is meaningless without the doubt without which it is simply credulousness.

Hope, on the other hand, is wanting something when you have no proof for the correctness of your belief yet also not knowing or being sure how correct that belief is. Hope is wanting but doubting.

Hope is wishing something will happen, but faith is believing something will happen.

To make sense of this I picture an isosceles triangle where the two legs of the triangle are hope and credulousness, and the pinnacle of the triangle is faith. Faith requires some of both hope and credulousness to exist, but faith is not either of those two.

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