Radio Show

How Would You Define ‘Faith?’


Brett shares that he was recently asked to define the word “faith” and found himself stumbling over the answer. This leads to an earnest discussion among Team Busted Halo.

Father Dave reflects on the words of Saint Paul. “Saint Paul says that we walk by faith and not by sight… He is saying we are only going to get so far with our physical senses or our scientific knowledge. What’s got to carry us the rest of the way with respect to the divine and with God is going to be faith… Faith and reason do go together, and that is important. But there is only so much science can answer. Faith and reason each address different parts of basic human questions about life and existence. But science doesn’t answer, ‘Why am I here?’ Science can answer how the sperm and the egg met and was fertilized, but it doesn’t go with the ‘why’ question. They are in different realms, but they compliment each other.”

LISTEN: Fr. Robert Spitzer Talks Faith and Science

“Catholics allow for the mystery of God to exist.” Father Dave says. “It’s not for us to presume to know the mind of God, but to allow faith and hope to coexist. When somebody says, ‘I know that I know,’ I wouldn’t even necessarily call that faith because there is a certain element of trust that needs to come in.”

Brett responds, “We Catholics believe we have the fullness of the faith, but we still do not know. And you might say I’m wrong, but we can’t claim to know. If we’re talking about empirical knowledge that we can prove, we know that the speed of gravity is negative 9.8 meters per second squared. That’s different from knowing that Jesus is the son of God…I’ll just say it, I personally don’t have a hundred percent faith. It might be in the nineties. Does that mean that I’m not fully in faith?”

Father Dave shares a theological response to Brett’s question. “Oftentimes we presume that the opposite of faith is doubt. Many theologians would say doubt is an integral component of faith. And that the antidote of faith would be something more like fear. Questioning or wondering, or wanting to expand are all good things. Saint Anselm does define theology as faith seeking understanding. We want to go deeper.” 

RELATED: Dealing With Doubt: What We Can Learn From Famous Doubters

Brett shares that he is worried he doesn’t fulfill the requirements of faith, and compares his faith to Christina’s wondering if it should be more like hers. Christina responds, “I think that’s the struggle of life. Nobody is at one hundred percent. I know I do have a strong faith, but I do have doubts. Of course I do. Even Saint Therese had doubts on her deathbed wondering if there was anything on the other side, but I think faith at least pushes us enough to keep trying and to keep hoping against hope. Even though you really won’t know until you are on the other side, you live your life in such a way that you’re choosing to trust this. And to trust that one day you will get to see what is there… I think that’s why it’s called a journey of faith. It’s not like we just are granted faith and then we’ve reached our destination. It’s a journey. And it’s something that we continue to do our entire lives, and we reach different levels of it as we go. And that doesn’t mean we don’t fall off the mountain sometimes either. We have to climb back up.” 

“When I first started practicing my faith it took me a good year or two of wrestling with the Eucharist,” Christina continues. I didn’t know if I believed it. I thought it sounded strange. I was like, how is it possibly really Jesus, body, blood, soul, and divinity? It took me time to accept that and believe it in my heart. I wrestled with it. I studied it. I prayed a lot about it. It is a journey, and we can’t get caught up in the thought that I need to be at this place right now, or I don’t have faith. No, we walk with God and we let ourselves journey with him. And eventually, we just continue to try and go deeper.” (Original Air 6-29-21)