Faith Without God

Photo by tar07 / 123RF

I grew up with a Catholic mother and a humanist father. We went to church on Sundays, and I went to Sunday school as a child. My most vivid memory of that time was eating donuts after church—I guess I should have known religion wasn’t going to stick.

I was baptized, but never confirmed. I don’t recall it being a conscious decision by me to reject Catholicism, but rather, as a family, we all began drifting away from the church. I was around sixteen when I really started to question my belief in a god, and I was lucky enough to be raised in a household without pressure to be a believer. I had the right to question and think for myself.

Now I consider myself a former Catholic and a current atheist. I’m a humanist. I’m a secularist. I don’t believe in a higher purpose, but I do think my life has meaning. I don’t find comfort in thinking someone has a plan for my life. I don’t think things happen for a reason. I don’t think there’s life after death, and I’m perfectly content with that. I have faith—it’s just not in a god.

Faith is a concept that connotes religiosity and a term that is monopolized by the religious. If someone says “my faith,” then the god part is implied. It doesn’t require a qualifier. There seems to be an idea that faith in a god somehow makes one stronger or better than those who don’t share that faith. That faith in something you can’t see or can’t know for sure exists takes greater courage. The primary definition of faith, however, is “strong belief or trust in someone or something” and only secondarily does it denote “strong religious feelings or beliefs.”

I have faith—I just choose to put my faith in people. I have faith that when I’m sad I’ll find comfort in the arms of my mother. I have faith that when I’m confused my father will provide guidance. I have faith that my siblings will always have my back. I have faith in the restorative power of laughter with friends. I have faith in me, that more often than not I’ll make the right decision.

It takes courage to put your faith in people. You can’t always know a person’s motivations, their decision-making processes, or their rationale for their behavior. People are unpredictable, and sometimes faith in them is misplaced. That’s why it’s called faith. And for me, in my life, faith in people beats faith in a god every time.