Religion and faith

The difference between the two

March 17th 2018
Suppose a person tells you that they are Catholic – or Protestant, Orthodox, Jewish, or Muslim. When you see how they behave, however, you realize that the religion they claim to belong to has no real impact on their life. It is no more than a collection of vague notions and meaningless forms. They were taught these beliefs in childhood, as one repeats a lesson learned by heart. But these beliefs do not correspond to anything profound or alive. It can therefore be said that they have a religion but no real faith. Someone else may claim to belong to no religion. Their parents were perhaps Christians, but they did not practise their religion, they did not have them baptised and gave them no religious instruction. Then, as you continue the conversation and get to know the person better, you realize that they have a sense of the sacred, that they are motivated by a high ideal, by the noblest aspirations. They do not talk of God, but they have a vague sense of a higher presence that exists both in the depths of their being and in the universe as a whole. This person may not have religion, but they have faith.