Belief vs Faith

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

Trying to figure out the difference between belief and faith is not always so clear. In his book, “Jesus is the Question,” Martin B. Copenhaver gives this example.

Imagine you are at a circus. A skilled high-wire artist has accomplished so many marvelous feats that the audience has come to believe that he can do almost anything. The ringmaster addresses the crowd: “Ladies and gentlemen, how many of you believe that this daring man can ride safely over the high wire on his bicycle while carrying someone on his shoulders? If you believe he can do it, please raise your hand!” If you were in the audience you might raise your hand along with all the others, a great silent chorus of belief. “Very well, then,” says the ringmaster, seeing an almost unanimous vote of confidence, “Now who will be the first to volunteer to sit on his shoulders?”

The difference between belief and faith is the difference between staying in your seat and volunteering to climb on the shoulders of the high-wire artist. Ultimately, faith is not about believing certain things; it is about placing our trust in someone. So belief can often be an intellectual thing but faith involves the placing of your life, your heart into the hands of another.

So, what about you? Do you believe or do you have faith?

–Elaine Kapetanakis

Written by Diane Levy


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