Quotes on faith
These quotes on faith will help you to explore its nature, form links with other WOKs and AOKs, and provide discussion points for TOK lessons. They will also support you as you address knowledge questions within your TOK essay and TOK presentation.
- What do the quotes suggest about the role faith plays in our acquisition of knowledge?
- Are the quotes consistent, or do they clash about the role it plays as a way of knowing, and its relationship with others WOKs and AOKs?
- Can you think of other ways of knowing and areas of knowledge that these quotes relate to?
- How many of these thinkers are you familiar with? Research the ones you haven’t come across before – and, indeed, the ones you think you already know. Click on the names to take you to the corresponding Wikipedia article, although this should only be used as a starting point for your research.
Finally, how would you use the quotes to construct a typical IB Diploma TOK essay title? Look at previous TOK essay titles, and see if you can compose something similar (and think about how you’d go about structuring it).
1. The nature of faith
To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.
Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.
A man of courage is also full of faith.
The faith that stands on authority is not faith.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
To follow by faith alone is to follow blindly.
Trust is not the same as faith. A friend is someone you trust. Putting faith in anyone is a mistake.
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Faith means belief in something concerning which doubt is theoretically possible.
Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.
H. L. Mencken
How many things we held yesterday as articles of faith which today we tell as fables.
Michel de Montaigne
Faith: not wanting to know what is true.
Faith is what someone knows to be true, whether they believe it or not.
Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith.
2. Faith and emotion
My faith helps me overcome such negative emotions and find my equilibrium.
3. Faith and imagination
5. Faith and reason
My reason nourishes my faith and my faith my reason.
Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.
Reason is our soul’s left hand, faith her right.
Faith is reason grown courageous.
The way to see by Faith is to shut the Eye of Reason.
Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof.
Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding.
Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists.
What is faith? If you believe something because you have evidence for it, or rational argument, that is not faith. So faith seems to be believing something despite the absence of evidence or rational argument for it.
Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.
6. Faith and sense perception
Faith indeed tells what the senses do not tell, but not the contrary of what they see. It is above them and not contrary to them.
Painting is a faith, and it imposes the duty to disregard public opinion.
Vincent Van Gogh
Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.
E. B. White
8. Faith and ethics
We are twice armed if we fight with faith.
9. Faith and history
To study history means submitting to chaos and nevertheless retaining faith in order and meaning.
Anyone who knows history, particularly the history of Europe, will, I think, recognize that the domination of education or of government by any one particular religious faith is never a happy arrangement for the people.
10. Faith and human sciences
In the affairs of this world, men are saved not by faith, but by the want of it.
In economics, hope and faith coexist with great scientific pretension and also a deep desire for respectability.
John Kenneth Galbraith
Politics is an act of faith; you have to show some kind of confidence in the intellectual and moral capacity of the public.
I respect faith, but doubt is what gives you an education.
The faith religious believers have in God is small compared to the faith people put in politicians, knowing how many times they have been disappointed in the past but still insisting that this time it will be different.
11. Faith and natural sciences
The man of science has learned to believe in justification, not by faith, but by verification.