Faith is like snowflakes. All snowflakes are different, and likewise, I believe no two people have the same faith. There are many definitions, religions and conflicts revolving around faith. The differences make our faith unique to each of us.
In the dictionary, faith is defined as "belief without evidence." Another definition is "confidence in or dependence on a statement or thing as trustworthy." Though these definitions are good attempts, there is no true definition as to how faith affects each person. People have different levels of faith and have faith in different things. The common factor is that people don't have proof that their faith is true; they only believe and hope it is.
Faith varies from religion to religion. Roman Catholics, for example, have strict rules and those who stray are excommunicated. Muslims pray five times a day at set times. This displays their intense discipline and faith in their religion. But Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and cults all believe one thing: their way is true. They follow their beliefs and live with this faith as a guide.
Not all faith is strong and pure. It can become dull or tainted for a number of reasons. When bad things happen, people usually do one of two things - they either fall back on their faith and use it to help them get through the pain, or turn against their faith in frustration or resentment.
When people believe something very deeply, they tend to argue with those who believe something else. For instance, when two people with different faiths fall in love, it can be difficult for their families to accept. My great-grandparents fought this battle. They were both very religious, but my great-grandpa was Roman Catholic and my great-grandma was Lutheran. They were also both very in love. Even when their families cut off ties, they kept their faith in each other and in their separate religions.
War after war has been fought over conflicting faiths. Blood has been shed, lands have been destroyed and cultures wiped off the earth. All this over faith. Over the years, faith has destroyed families, countries, and lives. Despite this, we must keep our faith in the future. If we don't, then what are we living for?
Faith isn't always in God, gods, or even a higher being. Some people exist with faith in themselves, loved ones, or even something they love doing. We all have faith in something. Like the snowflakes falling, we each take different paths with different structures, but we all end up falling on the same earth below.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.