Thursday, December 27, 2007


The other day I was thinking about faith.

We speak about someone being faithful or not. Or sometimes you hear someone say their faith was misplaced.

Usually it is trust that is being described. But that made me think about how closely faith and trust are related.

You would not trust someone that was not faithful. Oh, you might go ahead and give them some responsibility or even loan them money or stuff like that but you can do those things without really trusting. You do it and you think to yourself "cold day in hell when I will get that money back."

We say people are faithful if they honor their spouses or look after their employees or otherwise keep their promises. We don't mean necessarily instant to instant, second to second. I suppose because we all recognize how human we all are and that even the best of us are not going to be faithful every single instant. But we take longer pieces of time into account usually.

And the importance of the task apparently is not terribly significant. If someone is unfaithful in small things then they are not likely to be more faithful in larger things. We use this idea with children so that we give increasingly important tasks to them. People argue against this idea sometimes but usually only when it is about some impersonal deal.

When we talk about faith we basically mean we feel that we can rely upon the person in question. Sometimes we talk about objects that way. Like I have faith that a bridge will hold my car up or some such thing. But what we really mean is that we have a certain amount of faith that the engineers and builders and all down through the process of getting the thing built knew what they were doing and acted accordingly.

Because fundamentally I think it is not possible to have faith in something that isn't a person.

I'm sure someone is thinking "well what about the Sun and the Moon and stuff like that" and I thought about that, too. But those things operate (to us at least) by natural laws. So the Sun comes up every morning not out of any faithful behavior but because it can't really do anything else.

So faithfulness requires, I think, the ability to not be. If someone can't do otherwise then is it really faithfulness? I think not. If a guy or gal couldn't cheat on his spouse then he wouldn't really be faithful by not cheating.

Anyway I was just thinking about faith.


~Betsy said...

I've never really thought about faith in such depth, but you bring up some interesting observations. When I think of faith, as in a faithful spouse, I feel that all spouses can fall to temptation. If they resist, then they are clearly faithful. I think temptation is everywhere if you are looking for it.

Interesting post, Terry. Thanks for making me think.

Lori1955 said...

Another very thought provoking post.

*(¯`·¸*Chris*¸·´¯)* said...

I could write volumes about being faithful right about now. I degress....cheating is just so wrong, and so emotionally damaging to the other partner. It hurts more than if someone would take a knife and twist it in sideways.

Sooner or later, the knife has to come out.

Joanne D. Kiggins said...

"Faith and trust are related."

Once again you made me think, Terry. I wish I'd read this post before Christmas. I would have made a different decision about this very subject.