Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hope and Faith

Which is better, hope or faith? I read an article recently that actually tried to answer that question (I don't have the reference). They argued that hope is better since it usually means actually doing something (implying that faith involves no action).

I've thought about this a little since and here's my view on hope and faith. I'll use a story to illustrate. The characters are Bob Hope and Faith Hill (No relation to famous people, just convenient names). Bob is most interested in results and the actual outcome. How he gets this isn't as important. Faith is more likely to conform to the rules. She spends a lot more time worrying how she does things than she does worrying about the results.

Bob Hope and Faith Hill are enrolled in the same class and are taking a test today.

Bob: "I sure hope I pass the test".
Faith: "I have faith that I will pass the test".
Bob: "How can you know that you'll pass the test? You and your blind faith! I heard this test is hard!"
Faith: "I didn't say I 'know' I'll pass the test, just that I have faith that I will. I took the prerequisites for this class, I go to class everyday, I've taken good notes, and I followed the study guide. In our study group, we had copies of last semesters test and we were able to go through it. Mike helped explain a couple of ideas I didn't quite understand from Chapter 1. We were able to help Steve and Karen with Chapter 2. Mike was sick when we covered Chapter 3, so we helped him and now he's up to speed.".
Bob: (sigh) "I sure hope I pass the test."
Faith: "I sure hope you pass the test too, Bob."

This little story is of course lopsided. All hope isn't this empty and true hope can be a great motivator. When it comes to long shots (making the Olympic team), hope is the way to go.

Faith is still good, but sometimes faith can be blind. When it comes to religion, faith is based on many things that can't even be seen (Heaven, God) and so religious faith is considered by many to be "blind faith". However, religious faith is also similar to preparing for a test. Religion provides proven traditions, a system of moral guidelines, and the support of a group that share common goals and values. This is all good as long as the goals are along the lines of "build and strengthen" and not "conquer and destroy". Religion can be powerful, so if you pick one, be sure to pick a good one.

I have hope that you'll understand what I've written; but not faith (faith requires a little more effort :-)

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