This morning I started thinking about faith, and what that means to me. I’ll get into how I started thinking about later on, but I figured I’d start with some clarifications.

I don’t have faith in gods, or religion, and I find it somewhat farcical that people do. As an atheist, I just find the idea of trusting in some higher power to come to your aid to be ridiculous – even the worst holy texts usually have some message of “God helps those who help themselves” and religion is supposed to supply a willpower and drive to help one attain their goals, not be a wish-fulfilment strategy.

I work with religious colleagues (which has had its own interesting tales) and what I usually see is that their religion is a background thing, something that supports them without being their drive. I can respect that, and they respect my lack of it, and it works quite well.

But that isn’t what I meant to talk about. What I meant to talk about was that while I don’t have faith in the traditional sense[1], I still hold faith – I have faith in people.

Now, that shouldn’t be taken in a “I have faith in humanity” sense or a “I have faith that people will usually do the right thing” sense because both those statements are to one degree or another, bollocks. It’s very difficult to have faith in someone you don’t know, and that is part of the problem with faith – it’s a “complete trust or confidence” and giving that without knowing someone is difficult.

Particular examples of people I have faith in are some of my friends who are having some trouble right now. One of them is facing various difficulties and is worrying about whether they’ll be able to attain their goals given all of the obstacles that keep coming up along the way. I have faith that they will achieve those goals, and that they’ll be stronger for it (and I’m doing my best to help clear away some of the obstacles); I have faith that they’ll pull through despite the odds and get everything they wanted. The second person is having their own troubles – facing off against difficult health issues that it’s difficult to go through alone, and harder to ask for help with. I have faith that they will get through it, that they’ll overcome the hardships, and that they trust me to help where I can. It’s much more difficult to help in this case, but I have to have faith that they know that they have my support and that they will tell me when they want me to be involved (or I’d go crazy).

And that’s why I wanted to make this post: not to espouse on my religious views (or lack of them), and not to make a statement, but to let them know that I have faith in them and I will continue to support them as best as I can. I have faith in my friends, and sometimes you have to remind them of that.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. While American dictionaries seem to list the religious definition first, I hold to the Oxford Dictionary definition which lists “Complete trust or confidence in someone or something” as the primary meaning of faith