It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!
I hang around a forum where atheists and theists debate religion(s), and something a Christian wrote about 'faith' (I'm using the word in a strictly Christian sense) struck me, kind of like a Zen master whacking me over the head.
But leave that aside, faith restores our spirits and our minds. Christians believe without faith we are doomed to death, death of the spirit. Actually it is kind of important to have faith and Christians recognize that. Without it I would be a fool to my own dying thoughts.
The context is a discussion of the Bible scripture 1Corinthians 1:18:
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (from the NIV)
When I was a Christian and ever since, I've understood faith to be 'claiming to know/believe what you can't prove to be true'. That is the same definition of faith Sam Harris and the other new atheists use when discussing it. I imagined it was, at times, a grueling process, to 'keep faith' during doubts or challenges, an active process of focusing on the items of faith (God knows best, God loves me, it will all work out for the best with Jesus). Frankly, that just sounds ridiculous, who would actually do that? But I think, in the case of the person I quoted above, when she/he says 'faith, she/he means something different and 'more' than what I've always understood.
I wonder if 'faith' is a comparable to the Buddhist 'samadhi'. The reason I wonder is that the subjective, intimate experiences Christians on this forum relate are one, quite consistent with one another, and describe an altered state of consciousness. I've had one samadhi experience, and minus the God or Jesus attributions, the similarities are remarkable.
I never had a Christian 'faith' experience, so the new atheist rhetoric on faith, very reasonable and logical, seems like the ONLY explanation. It's the only one available to me to understand, maybe until now.
I could just be slow-on-the-uptake and members with Christian leanings know this well already.
I wasn't looking for some cool new way for Christian doctrine and Buddhist doctrine to 'meld' or parallel each other, this just sneaked up on me and I know we have some Christian Buddhists hanging out here