In many cases, faith becomes the equivalent of what we call a "world view," a context or framework within which life can be lived. The world view need not be optimistic, as it is above. Faith now includes trust and reliance on an authority, even though all the experience of the speaker suggests that the authority is wrong. The extent of the trust has now been enlarged. The evidence that a compass offers has a high degree of assurance behind it; compasses do not lie, cheat, change their minds, or get fooled very often. There is greater risk involved in this kind of faith, for it is trust in a person. Trust (and risk) has now been further enlarged (Cimino, Latin 2001).
The same thing happens when a person (a) undergoes anesthesia and surgery, (b) sits in the back seat of a moving vehicle, (c) eats a meal someone else has prepared, (d) marries, (e) shares a secret. These random examples cumulatively begin to tell us something about the meaning of faith as we ordinarily use the word, and what they tell us will be useful when we develop a working definition. Faith clearly has some sort of content, drawn out of our own experience or out of the common experience of the past, and our engagement with it involves us in varying degrees of commitment to that content, involving both trust and risk. Consequently we act on the basis of the degree of trust we possess: we continue the lab experiments, we endure dungeon, fire, and sword, we sail north-northeast, we buy the painting, we stay out of the airplane, we remain confident in the space capsule.
There are many number of ways to argue that faith must lead to action, that action is the proving ground of faith, and that what we affirm in our hearts or minds is not truly affirmed until it is translated into deed. Those who say love and who live hate are not only denying their neighbors but negating their affirmations as well. Better still, they are demonstrating what their true affirmations are, when put to the test (Dennett 2006). The incident is instructive in many ways, not least for indicating that it often takes someone else to confront us with the kind of challenge that puts our faith to the test and insists that we act upon it.
In religion, faith plays a special role determining the course of actions and moral behavior of followers. In religion, faith is associated with God and his divine power. To believe in God is to believe that he is on the side of the oppressed, which means in turn that the believer must be on the side of the oppressed unless he wishes to deny his belief. The struggle for faith involves him in faith for the struggle. Faith for the struggle, involvement in the concerns of love and justice, vindicates the ongoing struggle for faith. For religious believers, faith and action become virtually indistinguishable from one another; a key word is "praxis" (Dennett 2006) reflection and action to transform the world.
In religion, faith symbolizes universal knowledge and truth. Faith can be described as "God's benevolence," his goodwill toward his children (Dennett 2006). This is not merely a psychological insight propounded to protect mortal men from prideful assertions that they can create faith themselves or work their way up into God's presence by dutiful striving. Rather, the recognition that faith is a gift is one of the consequences of the content of this particular kind of faith. The nature of this particular promise is that it comes to us in personal terms, in a life to which we can make response. It comes to us, more importantly, in a