What is the meaning of Faith? There is the various definition of faith depending on the aspect that ones are looking through. Once the word faith is mentioned people start thinking about religion, however it’s important to point out that faith doesn’t necessarily have to involve religion and can just indicate a close affiliation or trust in someone, some organisation, or some movement, such as a parent, a political party, or even a football team. One of the broad definitions of faith is the trust and confidence in something or someone with or without conscious reasons and evidence. This brings us to the second question, what is the relationship between doubt and faith? People think that doubt hinder faith as you are questioning the authenticity of what you believe in, and this may put you on the brink of transgression. However, doubt is essential for faith and it helps it as it motivates us to increase our knowledge about our faith. Lillian Smith basically explained the relationship between faith and doubt “Faith and doubt, both are needed, not as antagonists but working side by side, to take us around the unknown curve.”Sometimes doubting is not a lack of faith, but an expression of faith.
There is a difference between doubt and unbelief. Unbelief is an outright rejection, but with doubt, you do believe but are simply questioning your beliefs, which then makes you try to find enough evidence and proof to make the doubts go away and by this, you increase your knowledge. Does blind faith which never questions, never thinks, never ponders… counts as faith? One dictionary defines blind faith as: “belief without true understanding, perception, or discrimination”. However, people with blind faith still face doubts at some point about their faith. In the TED talk by Lesley Hazleton titled “The doubt essential to faith.” she calls for a new appreciation of doubt and questioning as the foundation of faith and also an end to fundamentalism of all kinds.
Lesley Hazleton was writing a biography of Muhammad and she was struck by something, the night he received the revelation of the Koran. According to early accounts, his first reaction was doubt, awe and he was so terrified that he fled down the mountain to seek refuge in the arms of his wife, Khadijah RA. Prophet Muhammad was convinced at first that what had happened in the cave was not real, but was a hallucination, he had doubt but yet this experience became the bedrock of his belief. This shows that despite all the doubts that he had at that night his faith wasn’t hinder indeed it was the reason his journey of advocating Islam started and it strengthened his faith. Many people have found it very difficult to operate in the faith which is because they don’t have the real or enough knowledge about their faith, which then brings them to doubts. knowledge is a potential power and it plays a crucial role in the development of faith. Firstly, knowledge is the basis of faith, as It is only logical that you should know what to believe before you believe it so basically knowledge forms faith.
A significant example that was mentioned by Tom Gilson on his extended blog series Evidence for the Faith, is the faith in Christianity. Tom stated that “That belief doesn’t arrive out of thin air, or wishful thinking, or fear, or hopefulness, or (especially) pretending. There is a strong knowledge connection there,” this shows how knowledge forms faith. As it all begins with knowing that Jesus Christ died and rose again following a life and he established his credibility by making promises of raising others people life but with certain conditions. This shows the relation between faith and knowledge, as it basically the basis of our faith. Moreover, knowledge has power but only potential unless it causes changes and forms faith, for example, the knowledge that God exists has no power if it does not lead to faith in God. Faith in God means regarding God as the sovereign Lord and worshipping Him for who He is.
Then this brings us to the relationship between doubt and Knowledge. Basically, Knowledge shows the essentiality of doubts to faith. Doubts are based on lack of knowledge about our faith. therefore, when ones have doubts, they would read and study like mad trying to find enough evidence and proof to make the doubts go away. Thus doubt is essential for faith, as it strengthens the faith by increasing our knowledge. For example, I believe in Islam and the first reason for my belief is the fact that Islam makes me feel secure and special.
Moreover, I believe in Islam because I was born in an Islamic culture and family and I was raised with the guidance of Islam, therefore I believe in it without the need for conscious reasoning. Therefore, when I was exposed to another culture where Islam is not part of it, I faced some doubts about my religion and belief. However, I thought of these doubts are results of my lack of knowledge about Islam and thus I started talking with more knowledgeable people about Islam and read more about which then resulted in strengthening my faith.