Belief, Trust and Faith
By Neil Thrussell
This is an excerpt from Neil’s talk, “My Faith Assures Me That Every Event in My Life Has Meaning”, delivered at Unity of Calgary Spiritual Community on Jan 16, 2022:
For me, Faith is an interesting word. Most people understand faith as either
1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something. e.g. “this restores one’s faith in politicians”
2. a strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof. “bereaved people who have shown supreme faith”
I read the above definitions and two words jumped out at me to muddle the water for me – Trust and Belief.
Is Faith a concept on its own? Or is it just a fancy word for Trust and Belief, or is it deeper?
Those questions triggered me to ponder the potential interaction between, Faith, Belief and Trust.
The difference between trust and belief can be explained by an example.
There was a tight rope walker, Charles Blondin, (1800’s) who could perform death-defying feats without support or lifesaving equipment. Crowds gathered to watch his feats. He would walk across Niagara Falls over the tight rope.
In one event, he performed the daring stunt and took a wheelbarrow over the tight rope. Before he walked the tight rope he asked the audience, “Do you believe that I can take the wheelbarrow over the tight rope?” Everyone in the audience believed and cheered him on.
Blondin then asked, “In case you believe I can do it, who will sit in the wheelbarrow?” There were no volunteers.
Here we see that everyone had a firm belief that he could carry the wheelbarrow successfully over the tight rope. But no one wanted to volunteer to sit in the wheelbarrow and trust him with their life.
Here you see the difference between belief and trust. They had a belief that Blondin would do it successfully, but they wouldn’t trust him with their life.
Which gets me to think, “Am I operating at the default level of belief, trust or faith?” At a little level, my ego wants me to figure this out, so I know how evolved I am compared to you. (Let’s face it, whether we like it or not, we are judgement machines. I am no different than you.)
We are always operating on two basic human principles – am I safe? or am I not safe? Every room, or situation we find ourselves in, we are assessing for those two conditions.
Ego has me feeling safe if I am in a group where I am ahead of another or am at least at the same level as the others in the group; fear kicks in if I’m not at their level.
Good thing this talk is on Faith and not pride… Or I would be in such big trouble!”
We’ve shared this snippet of Neil’s talk as a way of encouraging you to examine your own faith – what do you have faith in? And do you back up that faith with trust? We’d love to hear from you!
Write to us at email@example.com or better yet, call us at 403-285-5266.
P.S. Besides Neil’s talk, you might like to enjoy the great live music of the Unity Band and the affirmative prayer that are part of the Sunday Experience at Unity, too. This YouTube link takes you to the video of the full Sunday morning experience (which is about 90 minutes long): https://youtu.be/By2i1pljpiM (Neil’s talk begins at 28:26 if you want to skip directly there.)