What Is Faith?

We often think of faith as religious doctrine—the beliefs, rules, and rituals incorporated in an organized religion, such as we find in the Christian faith, Muslim faith, or Buddhist faith. Faith can also refer to different branches of these religions, such as the Catholic faith, Sunni faith, or the Theravāda faith.

When used in this way, faith defines a system of religious rules, ideologies, and traditions. If you wish to affiliate with any particular religious group, you are expected to believe what they believe and to do what they do.

But when faith is defined (or confined) this way, it is not spiritually productive. Whenever we accept dogmatic teaching as the whole truth, it can inhibit our spiritual sensitivities; it can restrict our thinking and, therefore, inhibit our search for enhanced spiritual meanings, or blind us to the full extent of spirit realities.

Modern religion finds it difficult to adjust its attitude toward the rapidly shifting social changes only because it has permitted itself to become so thoroughly traditionalized, dogmatized, and institutionalized. 99:2.6

– The Urantia Book

Faith is better defined as simply having complete confidence or trust in someone or something. It’s a firm belief in something for which there may be no empirical or objective proof. For instance, you could have resolute faith in the triumph of science, or persistent faith that your sports team will win. You cannot prove an event will occur, or that some spiritual force will act on your behalf, but you have unequivocal faith that it will.

When my son was just a toddler, he wanted to climb onto the mantelpiece above the fireplace (when houses had fireplaces). Cautiously, I stood him up on the shelf. He looked at me with a big smile and then, bursting a laugh, he jumped from the ledge and flew right at me with his arms wide open. I was stunned for an instant but caught him midair.

My son’s complete trust in me—his unwavering faith that I would catch him in my arms—is the same deep and trusting faith we have in the eternal love and infinite goodness of our Divine Parent. This is the uninhibited and courageous leap of faith, one completely free of religious doctrine.

The faith you have in God is the same faith a trusting child would have in the actions of a loving and wise parent. Accepting and believing that you truly are a spiritual son or daughter of God is an attitude of mind that underscores your sincerity and trust in the loving support and divine guidance of a caring universe. It’s an essential attitude of mind for receiving the spiritual gifts of God. I cannot begin to over-emphasize the spiritual importance of such trusting faith.

Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.

– Martin Luther

While it’s easy to dismiss faith as false hope or a belief in fantasy, everyone believes in something—everyone has faith in something—otherwise we could not begin to function in the world. We all operate within an ideological framework we accept as true, and we all have strong convictions about the true nature of reality, with or without proof.

If you are an atheist, you have faith there is no Deity, although you cannot prove it. If you are a humanist, you have faith in the inherent goodness of humanity, but you cannot prove it. If you are a materialist, you have faith that all reality is material in nature, but you cannot prove it. You can have faith in anything you choose, so what will you choose?

Having faith in God means we choose to have faith in the eternal goodness, infinite love, and wise counsel of the holy Presence within us. We have faith that God will always help in the long run, even if it may not appear so from our limited viewpoints, and even if we are not consciously aware of that help. We have faith in our divine destiny despite all obstacles and challenges.

While having faith requires no empirical or objective proof, the outcome of our faith is firmly bolstered with subjective proof. In other words, the evidence of the power of faith is found in our progressive spiritual experiences and in our improving relationships with others. While you can never prove these inner experiences to others, you know them to be true.

For those with faith, no evidence is necessary; for those without it, no evidence will suffice.

– Thomas Aquinas

The confidence of spiritual faith is a personal experience best described as a positive and trusting attitude toward divinity. Instead of a creedal formula or a set of principles, faith becomes a frame of mind in which we place enduring trust in the existence of spirit life, one coupled with our strong conviction about the goodness, wisdom, and love of this divine life.

A crucial point about faith is that God and his angels function more effectively through a believing and willing mind. No spirit being, force, or influence will ever interfere with your freewill. When you freely believe in the truth about God, when you have complete faith in his love and help, you enable spirit forces to participate in your spiritual life.

Imagine, accept, and believe that God is helping you.

– A. K. Mozumdar

Faith is a mental technique that takes you to the border of God consciousness and then empowers you to enter that domain. It’s a method used to reach beyond the limitations of reason and logic. More so, it’s a way of harmonizing your thoughts and behavior with divine truth even if you cannot fully comprehend that truth.

Spiritual faith extends beyond any belief about the nature of material reality because humanity’s ideas about this vast universe are circumscribed and constantly evolving, just as scientific knowledge, social policies, and governments are evolving—they are subject to constant change and renewal. As we saw, Galileo shocked the existing religious order because he contradicted current beliefs about the nature of reality—namely that the earth revolved around the sun—that it was not the center of the universe.

Faith, therefore, is more reliably based on supreme values and divine ideals rather than religious doctrines or fixed views about physical reality. Whenever religious beliefs become grounded in perceived material realities or fixed philosophical ideas, they stagnate, whereas faith in Divine love is alive, vibrant, evolving, and adaptable.

Faith is the complete reliance on the power and goodness of Spirit and the firm belief that you’re always connected to this goodness.

– Wayne Dyer

The reason faith in the goodness and wisdom of an infinite and eternal Creator works for the better is because, in all reality, God is always good and perfectly wise. For all who have experienced the presence of God in their lives, he is real, even a fact. Although our minds cannot begin to comprehend the full magnitude and magnificence of this First Source, we can still maintain steadfast faith in the oversight of a loving, friendly, and caring Creator who always urges us to be the best we can be.

Faith is essential for you to achieve a heightened spiritual awareness because your spiritual thoughts and ideals cannot rise any higher than what you can imagine. Such faithful imaginings become your spiritual compass, the inspiration that invariably points you in the right direction, forever leading you to achieve so much more in life. What a tragedy to limit your hopes and dreams to the dark confines of a cold, empty, and godless materialism. Without faith in the goodness of God, it’s no wonder so many people imagine the future as a bleak and hopeless dystopia.

When you know that you are saved by faith, you have real peace with God. 143.2.6

– Jesus of Nazareth

Humble and positive faith is a tool of consciousness; a powerful spiritual attitude that is necessary because it’s a frame of mind that opens the door to the Divine Presence within you. This, in turn, allows the Spirit to release its beneficial and dynamic superhuman activities into your consciousness. In short, your positive and faithful attitude of mind enables God to spiritually transform you.

Faith Is a Bridge

Faith is a bridge to spiritual insight. You discern outward beauty with the physical senses, and you discern truth in the intellect, but only through spiritual intuition can you begin to fully grasp divine realities. Having faith in the goodness of your Creator, which is a truth, allows you to enter the reality of the spirit realm despite the intellectual limitations of your mind. It’s your ticket to divinity.

Faith creates a celestial bridge between your material mind and the spirit phase of existence. This bridge of faith is absolutely necessary for your spiritual progress because there is so much about spirit life and the divine nature that your human mind simply cannot grasp with analytical reason alone. Your material thoughts lead you right up to the door of the spirit dimension but, from that point forward, it’s your spiritualized channels of thought, as defined by your faith and as adjusted by your inner Spirit, that lead you Godward.

Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.

– Augustine of Hippo

It’s what you believe rather than what you know that determines what you can achieve in life. All the knowledge in the universe will not help you to be happy or progress in the spirit. Faith goes beyond knowledge by embracing realities you cannot (as yet) comprehend.

Just as there are natural laws of science, there are supernatural laws of the Spirit. One of these immutable laws is that neither God nor any of his celestial assistants will ever try to change or re-create you without your explicit consent. The Creator of a universe wants you to come to him—but only if you want to come of your own freewill.

The Creator refuses to coerce or compel the submission of the spiritual free wills of his material creatures. 1:1:2

– The Urantia Book

It’s this realistic and humble attitude of mind that is so vital to your spiritual life, and it’s the best approach to the magnificence and glory of an eternal and infinite God.

Living Faith

Faith begins with our unwavering conviction about the goodness, wisdom, and love of God, but genuine faith goes one step further. For faith to reach its full potential of bridging the gap between the material and spiritual worlds and thereby transforming our lives in the process, we must live our faith.

The spiritual truths you gain through faith manifest in your life when you begin to practice them. The whole notion of living faith is living a life in the spirit eagerly and happily. It’s living a life dedicated to the divine ideals and supreme values you so ardently profess to believe.

It’s impossible to achieve spiritual harmony and divine unity through mind alone. Even though meditation and prayer are excellent ways to enhance spiritual perception and to contact divinity, they are not enough by themselves. Only by acting out your faith with sincerity, can you coordinate and unite your energies of body, mind, and spirit. By acting out your faith, you actualize it—you make it a reality within yourself and on the world stage.

Living your faith validates your belief that you are a true daughter or son of an affectionate and compassionate Father-Mother God. Invigorated by the same faith, your convictions and ideals become realities in your life. This, in turn, opens the door to even greater potential for spiritual awareness and spiritual living, all of which is further enriched whenever you help others.

Convictions about God may be arrived at through wise reasoning, but the individual becomes God-knowing only by faith, through personal experience. 102.6.5

– The Urantia Book

Living your faith is a divine privilege. It’s a happy endeavor done with enthusiasm and love; it’s meeting daily challenges with vigor and inspiration; it’s remaining undaunted in the face of all disappointments and failures; and it’s cultivating an indomitable spirit that perseveres regardless of life’s difficulties and struggles.