Belief vs. Faith

faith vs belief“In belief is the reach for joy, and the reason many people go to church in the first place.” – T. M. Luhrmann

There’s a difference between belief and faith. Many people think you have to have belief before you can have faith, but that’s exactly backward to the way most people experience spirituality.

At least, that’s the opinion of T. M. Luhrmann, a professor of anthropology at Stanford. Her article is thought-provoking: Belief Is the Least Part of Faith.

It mirrors my experience. Ten years after I’d first experienced and immersed myself in Christianity, I looked upward and said, “I’m done playing pretend. I don’t know if you exist or not. I can’t *make* myself believe, and I’m done trying. What I can do is struggle. Every day, I offer up the struggle, only the struggle, because that’s all I have to give.”

Why did I struggle? And I don’t mean, why did I question, because if we’re honest, we’ll admit that we all question.  I mean, why did I bother to struggle? Why did I wrestle? Why didn’t I just walk away and join the secular worldview?

The reason is, I experienced joy in faith. I experienced purpose and communion with others and with the universe. Whether I believed seemed less important than whether I felt connected – umbilically connected – with the cosmos.

So, every day, I offered up the struggle. Years later, I realized I wasn’t struggling anymore. Somewhere along the line, belief had merged with faith. Now, I still struggle with exactly what it is I believe/have faith in, but that’s a different article. 🙂

If you liked Luhrmann’s article, check out her book, “When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship With God

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