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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Malpass

Faith, Belief, Trust

Today I want to bring together several ideas we've been discussing:

(Click on the links if you want to look again at the original discussions.)

The nature of reality. Because of the deep thinking of great philosophers and skeptics, I've been challenged to re-examine my views of reality, and I've also asked you to do likewise: to keep an open mind about what is really real. This act of free will—to keep ourselves open to other ideas about reality—is like a little bitty spark at the very beginning of FAITH.

Things tend to come in threes. By now, this seems obvious to me, but if you remain unconvinced, consider the fresh example of these three words that have virtually identical meanings:

  1. faith

  2. belief

  3. trust

We've already mentioned faith. It is an act of our free will to stay open to ideas about reality. As nearly as I can tell, belief is the same thing. We freely make choices about what we believe. And what we choose to trust is also up to us. Don't you agree these three words are incredibly similar in meaning?

Gedankenexperiment. Let's continue to study these three synonymous words—faith, belief, and trust—using an Einstein-style thought experiment. In this Gedankenexperiment, let's imagine we are daring skydivers! Okay, here we go! We jump out of an airplane thousands of feet above the ground (Geronimo!), plummet to earth at breakneck speed (ironic word choice), and laugh and scream ourselves silly (Aaah! Hahaha! Aaah!) before reaching for the ripcords to deploy our parachutes. Gosh, this is so exciting!

Gosh, skydiving is so exciting!

Now let's ask ourselves, fellow skydivers, as we pull our ripcords, how do we feel about these parachutes? Do we have faith in them? Do we believe they will fill with air once deployed? Do we trust them to slow us down so we will survive this thrilling experience? Oh YES, we have faith! Oh, YES, we believe! Oh YEEESSSS, we literally trust these parachutes with our very lives! We are not even a little bitty bit agnostic about the saving power of these parachutes! Amen and hallelujah!

So what we understand from this Gedankenexperiment is these synonymous words faith, belief, and trust are describing an unconditional level of commitment in this situation. After all, there's no jumping back up into the airplane! Am I right, friends?

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