(Everywhere on this website and in reality, it should be remembered that faith and belief are synonyms. “Believe” is the verb form of faith. Thus, the English language has not helped in our understanding of belief, as these three words are not often linked and sometimes defined differently!)

Perhaps the most deceit that can be found in philosophers is their presentation of a conflict between faith and reason. I could graciously assume that they are just ignorant of what faith means, but surely not, for they are “lovers of wisdom,” and as such use the tool of philosophy known as definitions.

Simply, where does one start to think? Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am.” That he is able to think is an assumption. How does he know? He has done no epistemology nor cosmology before that statement. He has offered no proof of the statement. Further, how does he jump from “I think” to “I am.” He has proved no relationship between thinking and existence. A rock on a hillside “exists,” but it does not think.

The country bumpkin is quite willing to give his opinions on God, religion, politics, and sexual morality. Where does he get these ideas? While he might not reason as carefully as the professional philosopher, nevertheless, given the opportunity to be President of the United States, he would surely implement his ideas authoritatively over everyone else.

How does the person with a gun to his head intent to commit suicide reason that life is not worth living? Most people might say that suicide is a form of insanity, but if one cannot prove by the most sophisticated philosophical reasoning, as Jean Paul Sartre could not, maybe suicide is the only rational thing to do.

Simply, every person starts his thinking somewhere. Now, that most basic first principle may be buried under layers of other assumptions, life experience, teaching of others, and even wishful thinking. But there is a first, second, third, and nth list of principles that cause a person to think the way that they do.

Most people reading this article probably would not argue that the majority of individuals have little or no system to their thinking. And I would not argue that one of the most desired ends of philosophy is to lead people to think more clearly and systematically.

The fact that most people have no system to their thinking demonstrates that they have no basis upon which to state their ideas with the force that they do (as our country bumpkin above). That is, given the power to do so, they would govern the lives of as many as are placed under their jurisdiction.

(1) Without demonstrable reasoning, they are acting on faith: a jumble of ideas that have come from every avenue of life in which they have had contact. And these ideas are quite forceful, governing this one person, perhaps his family, and anyone else under his authority.

(2) Given enough time, interest, and pursuit, every person could analyze their way to their most basic principles. Likely, these would be several in number: the rules and reasons of their parents, school teachers, and other influential people in their lives. Often, these principles would be simply assumed in their minds as truth. Over the years, these principles accumulate in an unorganized manner to become the rules for the person himself.

The point is that however far one goes back, there will be first principles. These will be assumed, not reasoned out. Assumptions without proof are by definition principles of faith. I defy any reader to start at any level without a faith principle. Even the empiricists and evidentialists start with the unproven, “facts speak for themselves.”

Thus, at the level of conscious interactions with the world and its ideas, faith rules. At the foundations of one’s ideas are first principles or beliefs. Beliefs precede reason, always. If then, beliefs precede reason, then belief determines the truth that a person holds.

This position is well known in the syllogisms of logic. One can make a valid inference from false propositions. The conclusion is valid, but is false. What determines the truth of the propositions? Reality.

What is Reality? We are back to cosmology and metaphysics: assumptions (belief principles) about the universe. Faith is inescapably foundational to all systems of thought and any considerations of truth.

For the application of faith to the supposed “hard” sciences, see Science Is As Faith-based As Any Religion!