Hope and Faith

49-29588_Tin_Plaques_Faith_HopeNovember 7, 2015 – My son and I — an agnostic and a believer respectively — have a recurring conversation regarding the existence of God. It always comes down to faith, which I have, and he does not.

He asks me how I can believe in something with no facts to prove it. As a scientific thinker, he believes it’s an appropriate question, but he questions everything and always has. It’s the way his mind works. My response that I have faith and I don’t have to see something to believe it. That response does not make sense to him.

I told him that since he cannot prove God doesn’t exist, his belief is based on faith, too. That kept him quiet for a few seconds, and then he shot back and said that it isn’t faith that makes him question God’s existence. It’s the opposite. He can’t prove it, yet there is some scientific evidence to back up his beliefs. Faith believes with no proof.

Although I respect his opinion and admire his passion, I still have faith.

Is the word faith always associated with the belief in God or a religion? Surely not, but when he asks me to give him another example where I have faith outside of God that is not based on proof, I rack my brain trying to come up with an answer. I have faith that the sun will rise tomorrow, and I have faith that he will do the right thing, I say. He explains that the sun rises every morning, so there is evidence to back up the claim. I told him I had faith in him to do the right thing, and he responded that I raised him in a certain way, and I only hope he does the right thing.

The word hypothesis then comes to mind. After all, every great scientist had to have faith at the onset that his or her hypothesis would eventually be substantiated by fact. Again, he says, the scientist merely has hope that it will be proven. After all, some evidence exists that led to the experiment in the first place.

Is there a difference between faith and hope? At first glance, they appear to mean the same thing. If you think about it, however, you’ll be reminded that faith is a “in the now” thing, while hope looks towards the future. Hope is a desire for something to come and faith is based on beliefs that can’t be proven. In addition, with hope, there may be doubt. With faith, doubt does not exist. Faith is also often preceded by the word “blind”.

Most likely, I’ll never sway my son to have faith, and he’ll never convince me that having faith is a negative thing, but I can hope he changes his mind. Though their differences may seem to have blurred lines at times, I need both in my life, and I have to accept that he does not. However, if I ever do come up with another example of faith, he’ll be the first to know.

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