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Faith and wishful thinking

04/12/09 | by [mail] | Categories: faith/skepticism

I'm still working on an article about faith, but I wanted to bounce another idea off of my readers. What is the relationship between faith and wishful thinking? The Bible says that faith is "the evidence of things hoped for." Certainly many of the central tenets of Christian faith are things that people wish were true:

Your consciousness will survive the death of your body.
There's someone in control looking out for you.
The injustices of the world will be made right.
You don't have to take the blame for the bad things you've done.
Of all the religions in the world, yours is the right one.

There are several aspects of Christianity that people may not wish to be true (hell, for example), but I think they are outweighed by the items above. If faith does have an element of wishful thinking, that doesn't mean it's not true. But it does supply a motive for people to buy into unproven ideas.



I don’t have faith in a cute blond with a nice rack, but I wish I had one. That’s sorta one way of seeing a difference eh?

“the evidence of things hoped for” is a stupid way to define faith! Because I hope for lots of things that don’t happen. Should that be evidence of anti-faith? I guess to me faith isn’t just wishful thinking. Like, talking religion, one’s faith tells them there is an invisible man in the sky who is all wise and wonderful. You don’t actually *wish* an invisible man exists - you accept that he does. You then ask the invisible man to give you things you wish for. Like good health for a friend or a new puppy. Or a cute blond with a nice rack ;)

EdB [Visitor]http://wonderwinds.com04/13/09 @ 10:15

One to add to your list: Our fight/cause is blessed by God.

Faith -vs- Wishful Thinking

Bedfellows, for sure.

But I also see a couple other purposes - (a) rules to live by (which helps explain the hell part, to keep people in line) and (b) a way to explain the unexplainable (believing beats being scared by things one doesn’t understand).

All fall under that big umbrella of “faith".

stk [Visitor]http://randsco.com04/13/09 @ 10:44

The bible actually says that Faith is the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,”
or in other translations
“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

sd [Visitor]  04/13/09 @ 19:33

As noted above, looking at other translations makes a difference. I understand the use of “hoped for” to mean “something we are looking forward to” or “something we are assured of” rather than to mean something akin to dropping a coin in a fountain and making a wish.

Andrew [Visitor]http://www.brendoman.com/andrew04/14/09 @ 20:27

Science has faith; in fact, it approaches problems with faith that the premise will turn out correct. If there is no faith that it will, why even attempt the experiment or come up with the theory? They introduce a premise and then attempt to prove it.
It is called a theory until it can be proven. And some things in science that have not been proven beyond any doubt are accepted (by faith) as fact in the scientific community. If we
simply believe or act on what we positively know is fact beyond any shadow of doubt, it is extremely limiting as science has moved like a snail throughout history and still is.
If the earth continues for another millenium, what is ‘fact’ today in the scientific world may be a red-faced joke.

DW [Visitor]04/25/09 @ 10:15
[Member]  http://www.brendoman.com/04/25/09 @ 12:57

Science isn’t supposed to have anything to do with faith but a hypothesis, in itself, shows faith
that the scientist believes something may be true. And, since you agree that, in future, ‘advances in human knowledge will probably overturn many things we think today’, you are admitting that even what appears to be factual today may be proven to be simply hypothesis period..or ‘faith that’ something was factual when, in fact, it was not.

DW [Visitor]04/26/09 @ 12:08
[Member]  http://www.brendoman.com/04/26/09 @ 12:46


You said ‘a level of certainty’. That is my point. There is a level of certainty for a hypothesis to be proposed. Science grows on itself through past information and observation. Faith comes about because of something as well, some experience, observation, or a number of repeated experiences and observations, for example. You agreed that, in the distant future, some of what is accepted now as scientific fact may be proven wrong. That being the case, even what appears to be fact at any given time must be taken on faith (to be honest) because there is always the chance that new data will disprove it. The M-theory/string theories actually support incidents in the Bible, written thousands of years before. Why is it that scientists are willing to at least consider such theories but have laughed at Bible stories that support them?
Of course, not all scientists laugh at the Bible and some even ‘admit’ to having faith and don’t see faith and science as mutually exclusive or incompatible.

DW [Visitor]04/26/09 @ 18:59

Actually in Hebrews 11:1 the scripture actually reads. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. That puts a whole new spin on what faith actually is verses what people thought it was provided the scripture verbatim. Faith is exactly what the scripture implies. It is more than hope. It is the substance of hope. What does substance mean?

that of which a thing consists; physical matter or material: form and substance.
a species of matter of definite chemical composition: a chalky substance.
controlled substance.
the subject matter of thought, discourse, study, etc.
the actual matter of a thing, as opposed to the appearance or shadow; reality.

Definition #5 seems to fit. So…

Faith is the substance (ACTUAL matter, reality) of things

What does thing mean?

a material object without life or consciousness; an inanimate object.
some entity, object, or creature that is not or cannot be specifically designated or precisely described: The stick had a brass thing on it.
anything that is or may become an object of thought: things of the spirit.
things, matters; affairs: Things are going well now.
a fact, circumstance, or state of affairs: It is a curious thing.

Definition #3 seems to fit…

Faith is the substance (ACTUAL matter, reality) of things (an object of thought; things of the spirit) hoped for..

What is the definition of hope?

the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best: to give up hope.
a particular instance of this feeling: the hope of winning.
grounds for this feeling in a particular instance: There is little or no hope of his recovery.
a person or thing in which expectations are centered: The medicine was her last hope.
something that is hoped for: Her forgiveness is my constant hope.

Definition # 1 seems to fit

Faith is the substance (ACTUAL matter, reality) of things (an object of thought; things of the spirit) hoped (the feeling that what is wanted can be had or will turn out for the best) for and the evidence…

What is the definition of evidence?

that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.
something that makes plain or clear; an indication or sign: His flushed look was visible evidence of his fever.
Law . data presented to a court or jury in proof of the facts in issue and which may include the testimony of witnesses, records, documents, or objects.

Definition # 1 seems to fit.

Faith is the substance (ACTUAL matter, reality) of things (an object of thought; things of the spirit) hoped (the feeling that what is wanted can be had or will turn out for the best) for and the evidence (proof, grounds for belief) of things not seen.

Right there that tells me that Faith is more than hope alone. Faith takes hope a little further. Faith can turn anything into reality. If I want something I will have this intense feeling just knowing in my spirit that it will come to pass. I believe in my heart so strong that what I hope for is fulfilled and comes to life. It happens
Faith turns what we can’t see, imagine or understand into reality. That reality becomes evidence of what we could’nt see, imagine or understand and makes our faith that much stronger during the next test, trial or tribulation because we know that the “word” is true, and Gods word will not come back void. Faith of what I hope for will become an actual grounds for belief.

We can move mountains with Faith.

VirtuouslyGods [Visitor]08/04/11 @ 22:19
[Member]  http://www.brendoman.com/08/05/11 @ 05:08

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