Faith is a word that I hate. I hate what it represents.
The word's meaning varies in different contexts, though. I have faith that my car will start in the morning is a different sort of faith than in the religious context. I have a reasonable expectation that my car will start based on previous experience; it has started every morning since I got the car; it's reasonably new. This sort of faith has evidence attached to it. It is not Faith in the religious sense.
In the religious usage it is "believing without evidence". To believe anything without evidence is on the face of it completely stupid but in religion they make a virtue out of it. It is looked on as being a valuable attribute: "He is a man of faith"; "People of faith gather throughout the world on this day".
Jesus allegedly said, "Because you have seen me you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed."
This was a master stroke of the Christian religion: To reward believing without evidence is the key to being able to get some people to accept anything told from authority.
Where religious belief is taught in schools the faith word really infuriates me.
A Faith School
A Believing without Evidence School
Why on earth should a school want to have the label of faith added to its description? A school should be a place for learning, and all school subjects should rely on evidence and rational thinking. Imagine if a teacher taught things like the reason plants in his garden die is because a starling visited his garden. When asked why he was claiming this, his response is, "It is stated in a book by X-Y-Z and I have faith that this book is correct." The only possible school subject that has the faith label added to it are those that indoctrinate or teach as being true one particular religion. Therefore this should not be a school subject; it should be confined to the churches for that religion. Learning about all religions and comparing them is a different matter. Religion is an important part of our culture and past.
Whenever we see the Faith word we should substitute it with Believing Without Evidence.
The St Paul's Faith School = The St Paul's Believing Without Evidence School
In discussion, if someone plays the faith card no further discussion is possible. There is nothing to say to someone who has accepted things without evidence.
"Faith is the permission we give ourselves to accept nonsense."
"Where we have reasons for what we believe, we have no need of faith; where we have no reasons, we have lost both our connection to the world and to one another."
"The idea, therefore, that religious faith is somehow a sacred human convention - distinguished, as it is, both by the extravagance of its claims and by the paucity of its evidence - is really too great a monstrosity to be appreciated in all its glory. Religious faith represents so uncompromising a misuse of the power of our minds that it forms a kind of perverse, cultural singularity - a vanishing point beyond which rational discourse proves impossible."
"We must find our way to a time when faith, without evidence, disgraces anyone who would claim it."
"is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence."
"Faith is the surrender of the mind; it's the surrender of reason, it's the surrender of the only thing that makes us different from other mammals. It's our need to believe, and to surrender our skepticism and our reason, our yearning to discard that and put all our trust or in someone or something. That is the sinister thing to me. Of all the supposed virtues, must be the most overrated."