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Faith (a Religious Issue)


Religious faith is a confident belief in a religion, its teachings, and its supernatural beings and forces. For most things, our faith is derived from directly observable evidence, but with religious faith, we are asked to believe without this evidence. In most religions, everything that happens in our lives is supposed to happen for a reason, even when the reason is beyond our comprehension. For the faithful it therefore seems that there can never really be any evidence that contradicts their religious faith, which means there may be no real opportunity for them to learn the truth about the world.


In general, when we have faith in something, we are confident that it is true. The sun will rise each morning, things will fall when dropped, flammable objects will burn when exposed to heat and oxygen, our car will start when we turn the ignition key, and many other things will happen as they always have. For instance, without faith, we might burn ourselves each time we came near a fire. We have faith, not just because someone told us, but because we have repeatedly seen the truth in it.

Sometimes we may lose faith in something, such as when our car does not start one morning. On the other hand, faith can be regained. For instance, after our car has been repaired. Sometimes our faith is misplaced, such as when we buy a stock because its price had been rising, but then its price takes a nosedive when individuals learn that the company has been cooking its books.

We can also have faith in individuals. Our best friend who is always there for us and will always tell us the truth, the coworker who will always stab us in the back when given the chance, the cashier who always servers us with a smile and a friendly manner, and all the other individuals who we have become familiar with. Each person plays a role in the story of our lives, but if they change, they may not play that role any longer and we may need to find someone new. Therefore, we generally expect and even hope that the individuals in our lives will not change.

In some cases, we do want individuals to change because they do not quite fit the role that we want them to play, but individuals tend to stay the same. This is because most individuals have their own worldview and filter the events of their lives based on their interests and beliefs. In fact, some individuals only see and hear what they want to see and hear.

If you believe individuals are good, then you will see the good in them. If you think the world is against you, then anything bad that happens will just reinforce that belief, and you will ignore the good that happens. Therefore, it is quite common for individuals to see and to report the facts of the same event quite differently. For instance, eyewitness accounts of crimes are notoriously unreliable, because each person filters what they see based on what they had expected to see happen.

Although we may expect individuals to always be the same, sometimes they do change, which may be for the better, for the worse or just different from what they were. Our best friend may find someone new. Our coworker may help us get a promotion. The cashier may become surly. Others may also surprise us in a multitude of ways. Therefore, we may lose or gain faith in individuals. Individuals can also lie about or hide their true feelings and intentions, which can lead us to misplace our faith in individuals even more so than in things. For instance, when our spouse cheats on us or when we buy into a con artist’s scam.


Most of us learn about religion from our parents and relatives, and our religious beliefs usually become a matter of faith derived from our faith in those individuals who are teaching us. Therefore, for the most part, what any of us believes in is dependent on what our parents and relatives believed in, which is heavily dependent on when and where they were born.

This is something interesting to think about. How different would our lives and beliefs have turned out if we had been born in a country or region where a different religion was practiced? Just look at anyone with different religious beliefs and try to imagine what our religious beliefs would have been if we had grown up as a member of that person’s family. Remember, most of us are only taught about one religion, so we most likely would not know much, if anything, about some other religions.

Throughout history, religious teachings have been passed from one generation to the next. At first, this was just through word of mouth. Later, the teachings were collected into religious texts like the Bible and the Koran. These texts tell or show us how we should faithfully live our lives, and are supposed to represent the word of God, Allah, or some other deity. The fact is that individuals wrote these religious texts, and our faith is dependent on the truth and the accuracy of what they have written.

Let us not forget that individuals filter events based on what they already believe and how they want things to be. We have all seen how a story or rumor can change when it passes through and retold by numerous individuals. Some individuals may mishear or mix up some details of a story and retell it as they thought they heard it, or they may simply forget some of the details of a story and try to fill in the details as best they can. However, other individuals may purposefully change a story to make it fit better with their beliefs and view of things or to embellish it to make it a better story.

There are also numerous examples of history being rewritten and current events being distorted by propaganda. With propaganda, when the facts do not support someone’s agenda, that person may simply change the facts to something that works better. In addition, writers will often use their “literary license” to dramatize a story, even if they must change the facts.

Both the Bible and the Koran were collected from earlier writings, which were written down based on the oral stories passed down through the ages. We may never know how accurately these stories were passed down from generation to generation and person to person, nor if anyone purposefully altered them. What we do know is that scholars have found many discrepancies within the writing in these religious texts. For instance, there are cases were descriptions of a given event differ between books of the Bible. There may not be any way to know how many inaccuracies exist in these religious texts, but we do know that these different versions cannot all be accurate.

In addition, there are numerous versions of these religious texts. For instance, there are some versions of the Bible that do not start with Eve being the first woman. Instead, they include stories of how Lilith was the first woman, how she was created as an equal to Adam, how she ran off when Adam would not treat her as his equal, and how Eve was created as a replacement. Why were the stories of Lilith left out of some Bibles? Could it be that the church did not want women thinking that they were originally created as equals to men and that it was the men who wanted to keep them down and that it was not god’s will that they be subservient to men?

What is the bottom line here? There are many different beliefs in many different religions and within the same religion. What most of us believe in is based on what our family’s beliefs were, and when and where they grew up. In addition, religion, its stories, and its teachings have changed over time, and we cannot be sure of how accurately they reflect what really happened or what was taught in the past. Therefore, even though there are many religions and religious beliefs, we only really learn about one of them, and we cannot be sure of the accuracy of the teachings of our religion or any religion.


With so many differences between religious beliefs within a given religion, let alone between the various religions, it should be easy to see that they all cannot be correct. Of course, the leaders and followers of any given religious sect will likely tell you that their religious beliefs constitute the one true religion. They may feel that it is their duty to convert anyone who does not believe as they do to their religious beliefs. Often, this has led to them trying to force their religion onto others.

Our history has many examples where individuals and groups trying to force others into some belief has only caused resentment and conflict. By the time most individuals reach adulthood, they are fairly entrenched in their beliefs. Therefore, there may be nothing that anyone can say or do to convince most individuals that some other religion is the correct one.

One of the principles on which the United States was founded was religious freedom. Our founding fathers believed that individuals had the right to decide their own religious beliefs. There have always been those who wanted to impose their beliefs on others, but to protect our own freedom, we must also protect the freedom of others to believe as they do. Whenever someone does try to force his or her beliefs on us or others, we must make them aware that their behavior is unacceptable. Otherwise, we risk continued religious conflict.

Another principle that we have is freedom of speech, so anyone is free to talk about their beliefs in hopes of converting someone to their religion, but no one should be forced to listen against their will. If someone does want to talk about their beliefs, then they should also be willing to listen to the views of others with an open mind.

Of course, there may be one way to get everyone’s attention. That would be for the one or many true gods, if they exist, to appear to everyone and to explain what the truth is. Even if that did happen, some of us may still not listen and those of us that do listen may still hear, through our personal belief filters, only what we want to hear, so we could still end up having different religious beliefs.

The only thing that we can do is to decide what beliefs are best for ourselves. This may be one of the existing religions, a combination of them, or something brand new. Of course, we could spend our lifetimes learning about and analyzing all the different religious beliefs and still not be able to decide which, if any, religion was correct or right for us. There may be some basic principles like respect for self and others that we all should live by, but, other than that, it really is up to each of us to decide what works best for us. I, for one, have looked at numerous religious beliefs and a lot of scientific evidence, and have come up with a set of beliefs that may be uniquely mine.

Next Section

Fundamentalism - How Fundamentalism leads to Religious terrorism and what we can do to stop it.

Last Updated:
Sunday, February 04, 2024
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