Faith vs Belief

Faith and reason are not spheres of influence that overlap, they are completely separate.  Faith is defined as knowledge ‘verified’ by faith.  The definition is circular.  Faith is belief without reason.   Faith is by definition, irrational (knowledge lacking reason).  Faith claims knowledge of the unknowable; it is contradictory.  The fact that it is irrational does not make it inherently unethical or bad.  It is what it is, it is irrational.  Faith in god is not a type of knowledge; it is belief without reason.  Religious faith is a conventional abstraction.

Faith is different from belief as well.  Belief is a statement or idea of pre-knowledge or pre-understanding that can be verified and tested using the scientific method.  A belief can be proven true or false.  Newton believed gravity existed before he could fully define it or state it into a hypothesis.

Faith is irrational belief.  Belief that cannot be tested.


18 thoughts on Faith vs Belief

  1. I’d agree if all Religion are built on Faith .
    but Your definition lack the accuracy you should read more about Religion to be able to make such judgement and get into this inaccurate conclusion and I tell you why

    The Islam is the only religion that does not recognise Faith as a Foundation stone and reject every blind faith or any kind of Irrationality ..

    Islamic Belief is based on many Evidences That a healthy rational person cant denial and you can find the foundation of Islam in the Quran
    The Quran is Special kind of book that provide Logical proofs and evidences , falsification tests and Challenges for EVERYBODY …….
    Muslims they dont have Faith but rather they have what call in Arabic Iman and you can see the difference from the dictionary

    Faith : In English faith mean: a promise to believe something even if it seems to be impossible, you believe it without evidence.

    Iman : In arabic the root for this word is Confirmation[amana] mean when you check on something you believe it because you looked and you saw an indications that it’s true, this doesn’t mean proving every item, but you look and see that this agree with what do you know so far….

    I like the idea your Site and i would love it more if you can publish more accurate informations 🙂

    you can help yourself buy reading this small article it can be helpful there is many information in one place.

    Good Luck

    • There is quite a bit to unpack in your comments.

      Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all share the old testament and a belief in God. God is defined as the intelligent designer of the entire universe, omniscient, omnipotent, omni-benevolent, omnipresent. These are all (negative) descriptors of a being outside of human knowledge that are impossible to confirm and excepted as an article of faith. Positive descriptors (testable attributes) are required to really define a being.

      The past humans that channeled God: Mosses, Jesus, and Mohamed provided more attainable vessels for God’s alleged messages. These figures provided positive attributes which made them more attainable. These positive attributes allows believers to have a personal relationship to what was previously a very impersonal God.

      The writers of the old Testament got one thing right, if you provide God with positive descriptors, you limit his power… so they skillfully avoided that by describing a being outside of human knowledge. So any believer in God, is by definition taking a big leap of faith to belief that God is real and has all the powers ascribed to him (or her, or it).

      If you accept a false premise argument, many rational arguments can be made off the initial premise if it is unquestioned. I’m unfamiliar with the many Islamic Evidences that you reference but I can pretty much guarantee you there is a lot of belief without evidence in the Islamic faith, just like all faith; and it starts with a belief that God is real. It’s impossible to prove that something does not exist, but if one wants to claim something does exist then the burned of proof is on them, not the non-believer.

      Recommended reading, “Atheism, the Case Against God” by George Smith. It’s the best book I’ve come across that deconstructs the rational arguments most people of faith uses to rationalized the irrational. Most religious people I know literally cannot open the book to explore its contents due to the fact that the main article of faith amongst the major three religions is that God will punish you if you don’t accept him completely. The fear of God’s wrath for simply questioning the idea of him is a major sin. So most people self-censor their doubt to avoid this conflict. It’s powerful stuff… I was raised religious and it took quite a bit of effort to explore the other side. I broke free early… if you’ve devoted your life to religion it would be extremely difficult to question that.

      That said, you can know ethics and understand it more fully through introspection AND still be a believer in God. Being religious and having a secular understanding of ethics is not at odds per se. If your religion instructs you to act unethically towards others than there would be conflict, at which point the non-believer would be justified in questioning any dictates of faith that inspired unethical acts.

    • The difference between Islam & all other religions is the same. They all rely on faith – irrational belief.

  2. So don’t Atheists all have Faith in no God and the Afterlife? God and the Afterlife can neither be proven nor disproven.

      • Whether there’s reason or not is just a matter of opinion. Atheists act as if they KNOW that nothing happens when you die when they have absolutely no evidence whatsoever of that. If anything, NDE’s show potential evidence that there is some sort of Afterlife. There’s not no reason to believe in a Higher Power or Creator. That’s only another Atheistic Belief.

        • “Atheists act as if they KNOW that nothing happens when you die when they have absolutely no evidence whatsoever of that.”

          The reason for this is we do know and there is plenty of evidence in favor of death being a final state that occurs after living.

          Philosophic answer: Belief is an assignment of positive values to something. Atheist to not believe in the notion of God. Non-belief in not a type of belief it is the absence of belief. God is a thing with properties. Most theist who understand that positive attributes limit a thing choose to simply define God by everything unknown, making it a somewhat useless conceptual notion if you think about it.

          Example: If God has the positive attribute of being benevolent, then he shouldn’t do evil shit. If he is all knowing, there is nothing that escapes his knowledge. If he is all powerful, he can do anything. One positive attribute limits him, just these three make the notion of God easy to disprove because if they were all true then no pain or suffering would exist.

          Anatomical answer: What you think of as you, is your brain doing it’s thing. We are our brains, then it stops working, we stop existing. That level of understand is likely all that is required to understand death.

          Poetic—Scientific Answer:: “We are made from star stuff…We are the universe contemplating itself” – Carl Sagan. Life is miraculous. The fact that we exist and develop into the complex thinking creates we become is incredible. Science has, within a short few hundred years explained most of the What, Where, How, and Why questions of existence, and the answers are more spectacular than fiction. Do you live on? No, not as “you.” Do your atoms exist after you die, yep. There is only one you, you get only one life, best to make it count.

          Emotional Answer: I absolutely get why people find comfort in religion. The best meme of religion is arguably the notion of heaven. But that meme fails apart rapidly if you think about it for just a few seconds. Let’s say your beloved grandfather dies at 87-years old and you see him in heaven when you die at 87-years old. How old is he in heaven? How old are you? What’s his relationship to your grandmother? Are they in separate heavens? Does your grandfather in heaven prefer to be forever 25-years old and single? What do you and your loved ones do all day in heaven? The meaning of our relationships dissolve rapidly without the connections that form them.

          The GOD-Subsidy: The best fictions of religion make no sense and the worst memes of religion result in an awful lot of evil in this existence. Religious text are to some degree, a recording of collective wisdom (albeit, centuries old wisdom at this point… so a bit dated), still, there are likely value lesson to be had within them. That said, some of the core components are rotten to the core. The worst aspect of religion in my mind is the GOD-subsidy paid by society for maintaining everyones’ false beliefs as being equally valid with fact based conclusions about the world. Willful ignorance is a core tenant of religion and it has many, many, many negative consequence. In fact, the more powerful humans become, the more dangerous willful ignorance becomes.

  3. I see that you removed the “Faith can neither be proven nor disproven” part from your definition. LOL, let me guess, you’re an Atheist who made these definitions? LOL…what a coward.

    • Faith can neither be proven nor disproven. That is true, by definition.

      What is your definition of faith?

      The only thing one needs faith in is explanations for the unknown. If something is unknown, your explanations are by definition not explanations.

      • If faith can neither be proven nor disproven, such as God, then Atheists would have Faith that there is no God, since God can neither be proven nor disproven.

        • Do you believe in leprechauns, the tooth fairy, Santa Claus?

          The reason you and anyone willing to acknowledge reality can answer “no” to the above questions is that all of these concepts are assigned positive values, i.e. traits that can be tested. Most believers of God retreat into the corner of agnosticism when pushed on their notions of God (assigning only negative values to God, i.e. traits outside of human knowledge), but for most religious people their concept of God is assigned positive values.

          Quick test: 1) Is God all knowing? 2) Is God all powerful? 3) Is God benevolent? I’ve presented three positive attributes of God most people of faith hold as accurate claims of their God. Given the realities of the world that are natural (or created by God if you prefer) – earth quakes, floods, tornados, droughts, etc., and natural deprivations—viruses, cancers, bacterial infections; God can not be all three things claimed. Only a malicious God, or an ignorant God, or an absent God would allow these natural evils to inflict an innocent man, woman, child, or animal for that matter. And I’ve just picked three attributes. If I listed more, I’d could provide more examples that discount the idea of God. I could take a small fraction of the Bible or any religious text, hold it to scrutiny, and it will fall apart. Any false positive claim can be proven to be false.

          Faith is a claim of knowledge without reason, and in most cases faith defies reason. Atheist know God is not real, for the same reason we all know leprechauns, the tooth fairy, Santa Claus don’t exist—We have critically evaluate the claims of those who makes claims of these fictional characters existence and found them to be invalid. Most religious people are atheist of all other Gods, except THEIR God.

          There are two kinds of atheist in this world: implicit atheist and explicit atheist. Everyone is born an implicit atheist. If you have never been introduced or indoctrinated into a concept of God, the concept would not necessarily germinate your head. Explicit atheist are people, like myself, that have critically evaluated the concept of God and have come to the conclusion that it is utter non-sense.

  4. I was raised under religious influence for the first 28 years of my life, while being in a country where its people would publicly call for your death should you express the slightest doubt in God, or Islam for that matter. I agree with every single definition in this article.

  5. Well said, but irrationality in this sense is all that goes beyond the scope of what science or our senses can verify. I tell you, while the verifications of these two faculties of judgment have served us well and still does, they also have a lot of limitations, which is where faith or the irrational, like you called it becomes our guide.
    Plus, some of what we would call sensational scientific discoveries emanated from that space of irrationality. Even some life-saving decisions we make at the crossroad where our rational faculties have fallen-short are made from this field of irrationality, which is what we call a hunch/intuition.
    The thing is, it becomes religion and officially irrational when you try to live your life base on another’s faith/irrationality about something.

    That is the suicidal thing with religion.

    • I’m not sure I follow your line of thought, what are you defining as “the suicidal thing?”

      Hunches and intuition are based on an assumed mental model of the world; based on previous knowledge and understanding. I would not define that as irrational.

      The unknown is not irrational, its simply not known 🙂

  6. All the above comments have been made without the slightest understanding of Hinduism. Read Hindu scriptures for a better understanding of your argument faith or belief.

    • Ashok,

      How would a better understanding of Hinduism change the definition of faith or belief? If you’d like to enlighten us, please do so. There is no limit to the size of a comment you can make, that said, maybe give us the Cliff Notes version of Hinduism as it specifically relates to faith and belief, or ethics in general. While you are at it, try to defend the ethics of the caste system.

  7. Belief is a claim of knowledge whether logical or illogical.

    Faith is trust in a belief, whether logical or illogical.

    Knowledge involves logic.

Leave a Reply