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Faith vs. Belief

We love lists. One of the easiest parts of a conversation around church or religion is simply to list beliefs.

Beliefs are no small things. Words become worlds. No space then to disparage or denigrate beliefs. And we need movement to more. We need faith. So, what is the difference between faith and belief?

Emanuel Swedenborg wrote of faith as growing from one of two sources – from love or from charity, not from belief.

Faith growing from love is the original state, the very core of ancient human experience. Such love expands beyond our normal definition around love as solely a feeling. This type of love-connected-to-faith aligns itself to wisdom, to courage, to movement.

And then there is a secondary faith that grows from charity. That faith takes root in generosity and service. Closely connected to faith growing from love, this particular faith might be seen as more duty-bound, more driven by dogged responsibility than the yearnings of the better angels of our nature.

Both forms of faith noted above however are not overtly bounded by theory, by lists of enumerated beliefs. Their concern centers far more on ortho-praxis (right living) than ortho-doxy (right doctrine).

It is an interesting question then – can we live our way into faith?

If we come from love, generosity, and service the answer appears to be “yes.”