The difference between belief, faith, and the supernatural

March 26, 2019 by Joshua
in Nature

People use the terms like belief, faith, and the supernatural interchangeably, but they mean different things.

A belief, as I understand them, is a mental representation of something. Beliefs are necessary and inevitable. The universe is too large and complex for our minds to take it all in. Our minds take in only what they can. So we think about beliefs about things, not the things themselves, which don’t fit in our minds.

A mental representation necessarily throws out information and forms based on biases, so all representations are wrong in that they are biased and incomplete. Our minds didn’t evolve to be right, but to help our ancestors live and reproduce more than their peers.

Faith is a belief without evidence, as I see it. Faith doesn’t seem to require the supernatural. I have faith that I’ll succeed at my next public speaking occasion. You could say I believe I’ll succeed at it, but I don’t know, so it feels more like faith.

The supernatural is things that don’t exist.

Some non-religious people convolve faith with supernatural. The supernatural requires faith, but faith doesn’t require supernatural. Some atheists dislike faith but I don’t. I don’t even dislike people believing in the supernatural. I don’t like them imposing their views and values on me when based on the supernatural.

To someone who doesn’t believe anything supernatural exists, basing views on the supernatural means baseless views. I don’t like people imposing rules or behaviors on me baselessly, which basing them on supernatural claims.

Another word for supernatural is unnatural.

I’d been meaning to clarify these terms and what I don’t like about most religions (they base their beliefs on the supernatural, which means they have hopelessly baseless beliefs, which they often impose on others), while I do like faith (when not based on supernatural).

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