We people of faith

The terms “faith-based” and “of faith” are misplaced, disgraced euphemisms that have become as disagreeable to me as “slippery slope,” “god willing” and “You know I’m right!” from someone spouting an irrational and disagreeable diatribe [see article following].

“Faith-based” is a phrase that’s meant to define in order to separate: a faith-based organization is one that does the work of “God”; any other organization is something less. A faith-based organization is reliable; any other is questionable. Being “faith-based” is meant as guarantee of being right and good and acceptable.

And “people of faith” is used to define and separate individuals. To call one’s self a “person of faith” is to tell me, the one without religion, that you think I exist on an inferior plane. Because they — these “people of faith,” the religionists — think they own faith — that there cannot be faith without religion (and, of course, that the best faith comes from adhering to their religion).

But “faith” —  belief, hope, trust — is not a word or concept exclusive to the religious. Faith is a human need, not a religious demand. Each of us is a person “of faith,” basing much of our lives on beliefs in people and commitments which cannot be proved or known certainly, but in which we trust and to which we hold.

As Paul stated in his letter to the Hebrews, faith is being sure of what we hope for, certain of what we do not see — or, according to the King James version, it’s “the evidence of things not seen” (an oxymoron if ever there was one). We trust that our spouses will be true to us, but there’s no way to prove they will be. We assume that our bank is holding our money securely; otherwise, we’d run right over there and take it all out. All of us apply trust and belief and faith to many things in many ways every day of our lives. And, I suspect, the more faith of this type we have, the more content we are (even though that trust will sometimes be shattered).

But I don’t accept anyone using “faith” as a means to declare me the chaff, separated from them, the wheat. We all have faith, we all believe — just not in the same things and in the same way.