In my frequent discussions with atheists, I often see faith referred to in a very negative light, and I realize that we are talking about different but equally valid definitions of faith. Here’s a quick reference that will help you define what you’re talking about.
- Blind trust (Blind faith): this is faith that is intellectually unjustified and usually based on an appeal to authority. Unsurprisingly, this does not exist only in religion, but you things like science. “It’s true because the pope says it” or “ The Bible says it“ or “scientists say“ are roughly equivalent. Those sources may be reliable, but something is not true just because one of them says so. In a logical argument the argument itself and the evidence themselves must speak, not an authority.
- Mental assent (Social faith): this is the type of faith where people profess belief but there’s no visible evidence of it in their life. The book of James calls this “faith without works.” This type of faith is inert, or “dead.“ James compares this shameful type of belief to that of demons, “even the demons believe God exists, and shudder!“ (James 2:19)
- Reasoned trust (Transformative faith): trust that is based on a recent examination and experimental testing of the information provided. A tentative commitment of surrender and obedience based on intellectual and emotional conviction.
What do you think of these labels? Am I missing another type of faith?