Presidential Faith and Religion

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The Republican candidates for the President have generated much discussion and press about faith and religion in the United States.  Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry are evangelical Christians and wear their faith on their sleeve. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are Mormons, and even though neither discusses his religion often, there are many evangelical Christians who bring out religion out as a reason to not vote for either of them.  Polls consistently show that many voters take into account the religion of a presidential candidate, and Mormons do not fare well.

This whole discussion has me thinking about faith and what it really is.  Faith and religion are not the same thing.  Religion is the practice of various rites and ordinances, such as prayers, coming of age rituals like bar & bat mitvas, communion, confirmations and baptisms. Each denomination has their own style of performing these rituals that tie a person to their religion.

Faith on the other hand, is more of a worldview and understanding of the meaning of life.  It is an interpretation and trust of the spiritual world that is unseen. It involves beliefs regarding what happens after we die and the unseen ‘purpose of life’. The Christian tradition often uses a verse from Hebrews Chapter 11, verse 1 to describe faith.

I’ve compiled various translations of this verse to better explore how faith is an intangible understanding or belief in what cannot be proved. Contemplation of the various translations can help one better understand the concept. Notice how many times “hope” is used in the definitions. It is the key element.

Hebrews 11

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Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

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Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen.
American Standard Version (ASV)

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NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, [a]the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].
Amplified Bible (AMP)

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Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see.
Common English Bible (CEB)

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Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see.
Contemporary English Version

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Now faith is [the] substantiating of things hoped for, [the] conviction of things not seen.
Darby Translation (DARBY)

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Now faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.
Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

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Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
English Standard Version (ESV)

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Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see.
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

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To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see.
Good News Translation (GNT)

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Now faith is the reality [a] of what is hoped for, the proof [b] of what is not seen.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

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Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see.
J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

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Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
King James Version (KJV)

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Now faith is the realization of what is hoped for, the proof of things not seen.
Lexham English Bible (LEB)

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The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living.
The Message (MSG)

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Now faith is the [a]assurance of things [b]hoped for, the [c]conviction of things not seen.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

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Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.
New Century Version (NCV)

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Faith is being sure of what we hope for. It is being certain of what we do not see.
New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

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Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
New International Version (NIV)

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Now faith is being sure we will get what we hope for. It is being sure of what we cannot see.
New Life Version (NLV)

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Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
New Living Translation (NLT)

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Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Today’s New International Version (TNIV)

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Credit to biblegateway.com for the various translations.

Faith and Hope

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About The Pluralist Advocate

The Pluralist Advocate started out this life in a conservative Military oriented community, and he later moved to that bastion of liberal activism called the San Francisco Bay Area. Having lived both ends of the political spectrum he has a unique understanding of both sides of most issues. He was also very religious growing up, serving as a studying the Christian scriptures and even spending some time as a foreign missionary. He used to think he had all the answers to life's greatest questions, but the more he looks around the world, the more he finds a wide variety of different values that work for different people. This blog is an exploration of thought and consideration from as many points of view as can be held at one time. He now holds the position that truth is found in many different disciplines. You may know the Pluralist Advocate around the web and twitter as brihartwell, or his given name of Brian Hartwell. He hates to be narrowly defined by one title, so as you read these musings you may find things you identify with, and others that you despise. That is good. Please share your reactions to the thoughts here and we will all grow together.