I was entering a google search a moment ago and noticed this interesting question (you know, auto-filled in by google due to how commonly it’s entered). I have actually thought about this many times, and I have my own thoughts on it, so I thought I’d share.
Why Do People Have Faith?
First of all, there is one obvious reason for this question: people have faith (in God) because this is human nature, this tendency is in the depth of our existence,… because our soul longs for union with God.
However, whether you think that is true or not, we can still look at some more points relevant to this.
1. People from all different religions, philosophies, and belief systems have a tendency towards faith. Some may have faith in “God,” some in “Allah,” some even in “atheism.” Some people may simply have faith in humanity’s ability to improve upon its worldly existence,… or to wreck it.
Where does all this faith, in different things, come from?
I think it comes from two things. One: the tendency towards faith that is inherent in human life, which I think is due to our fundamental need to reunite with our Creator, or Source. Two: once people have an elevating experience, something more eye-opening and uplifting than they have previously known, they are clearly likely to assign importance to it thereafter. However, such experiences often come with regards to abstract, internal, spiritual matters. By association, something humans clearly use and rely on continuously to make sense of the world, we grant great importance to many things linked to that uplifting experience….
So, if a young Muslim has an uplifting experience while studying her or his religion, they are more likely to come away from that with a greater faith in Allah, and in their religion. The same goes for a Christian, or even someone studying a philosophy like atheism, free-market capitalism, or the Colbert philosophy.
Whose Faith Is Right?
The thing about strong faith is that we typically (or, by definition) believe that it is right, while others are wrong. Hence, religious wars (though, those are obviously due to more than a simple difference in beliefs).
One philosophy may stand out as the ultimate, deepest, most true philosophy. (I certainly think mine is that one.)
But the overarching point of faith, in my opinion, is to lead us through what we need to go through, what we need to learn, on our way to that ideal.
Someone adamant that snowmen should be worshiped may very well need to go through a phase of believing in the holiness of snowmen. The same is true for Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Taoists, Colbertists, and so on….
Our faith, even in simple things like “practice makes perfect” or “if you study hard, you will have a better life,” leads us forward. We need it. We need it throughout life.
However, as indicated above, I do have the belief that this all leads to an ultimate faith in an ultimate truth that leads to the wonderful disintegration of an individual self into the source from which they’ve come. That requires much more than faith, of course. That also requires grace, love, perseverance, and an actual method of leaving one’s body and leaving one’s higher “spiritual” bodies.
Faith, alone, just leads us to practice….