There are many definitions of faith. But for me, faith is the ‘Excuse Label’ people give for justifying a belief that they don’t have a justification for. Some might say it’s the justification for believing something when you don’t have sufficient evidence. I’ve met believers that accept that this is the case and they actually admit they don’t have sufficient evidence. They have openly admitted their religious beliefs are irrational. They went a step further and said it’s probably some sort of brain chemistry that had led them to their conclusion. I can’t for the life of me, comprehend this on any level. I understand the concept of compartmentalization and understand how it might occur. I understand we evaluate things based on different criteria from time to time. This whole thing rolls back on the concept of belief! Belief is an acceptance, a legitimate acceptance if a claim is true. You can act as if you believe something, but when you get down to it, people act in accordance with their true beliefs. The problem is that we can weigh beliefs differently and use them in different ways.
If one says “I believe God answers prayer!”... It might lead others to wonder, if that were true, why would that person go to a doctor? It’s not that they don’t believe God answers prayer although it might be! It’s because they have another belief that they believe more strongly that over-rides it! Logically, one believes the best course of action to take when you’re sick is to see an expert and not to just rely on prayer. The belief that is more strongly weighted is the one that we act on. So, you can observe people and their actions will betray what they really believe. This is true, even if they don’t completely understand it! So, how could one say “I believe this as a natural explanation but I believe it’s super-natural anyway!” ... That’s the one that always gets me! I don’t think these people actually believe. I think instead, they’re professing belief in order to act in accordance with a different belief. This different belief might be that it’s good to profess belief! Or, it might be because they don’t have an explanation or an answer for something, leaving their minds open to possibilities and becoming more comfortable by just saying “Whatever!”
So, what belief do they actually hold? What belief is overshadowed by some other belief that’s more strongly weighted? For lack of any other options, we have to look at what they do and see the actions they take. The vast majority of people, regardless of what they profess and regardless of what they’re convinced they believe, act in a relatively rational secular fashion most of the time thru most of their lives. (i.e. ‘Bulletproof Glass on the Pope Mobile’) So, when they give this excuse of faith, I have to ask “What is it that makes you think that faith is a good thing?” The one belief that seems to be ubiquitous in the people who profess faith is that they think that this is something good. Any rational evaluation of what you actually mean by faith would demonstrate that faith is clearly inferior to reason when it comes to discerning reality! I think the reason they think that faith is a good thing is that they’re acting in accordance with yet another belief. They think it’s a good thing to say that faith is a good thing!
Is it that they believe faith is a good thing because they’ve been taught that from day one? Is it that, if they dare question their faith they might be betraying something? I think they’re confusing ‘Faith that...’ with ‘Faith in...’ (i.e. ‘Faith that a fact is true!’ .vs. ‘Faith in someone you love!’) They can manipulate the many definitions of faith into one word to serve whatever cognitive purpose they happen to have at the moment! ... It’s the “God Done It!” of motives!