How to Seize upon the Culture's View of Faith

Justin Holcomb

How to Seize upon the Culture's View of Faith

Faith According to Pop Culture

"Faith" is an important word and concept for Christians. We are saved because we have faith in Jesus Christ. Protestants believe in sola fide, meaning that we are saved by "faith alone" and not by our works or obedience. The Bible teaches that faith is associated with a specific person (Jesus Christ), knowledge, or a set of beliefs. 

Faith is belief in the value or trustworthiness of someone or something. In Christianity, faith is a confident and certain knowledge of God and trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ on our behalf and in our place.

The word "faith" is used frequently in contemporary pop culture and primarily refers to the act of believing—not the content of belief. In the movie Dogma we see an example of this. Serendipity, a muse, is asked what is the right religion and responds: "It's not about right or wrong—it's a question of faith. It doesn't matter what you believe in—just that you believe." 

In many expressions of contemporary popular culture, the central concern of faith is the act of believing or having faith, not what is believed or the object of faith. In pop culture, the object of faith is rarely specified; it can be love, hope, fate, the unknown, oneself, someone else, or God.

Faith as a Personal Need

In The Simpsons episode Lisa the Skeptic, we see an example of this. Talking to her daughter, Lisa, Marge Simpson says faith means there is something "more to life than what we see."  It is important to "make a leap of faith now and then" because "everyone needs something to believe in." The focus is the individual benefit of having faith and the result is that faith is malleable to the specific needs of the one who has faith.

Faith as Hope

Other examples of this are found in popular music. Whether the genre is hip-hop, country, pop, or rock, "faith" is synonymous with "hope" and usually in reference to love or relationships. George Michael's "Faith," and Limp Bizkit's remake of the song, reminds us that having faith ("I gotta have faith!") does not mean holding certain religious teachings to be true, but hoping that it is worth the risk to end a relationship in order to "wait for something more."

Faith as a Source of Strength

Jessica Simpson's song "Your Faith in Me" is a celebration of faith, understood as reliability and strength, as the foundation of love: "Your faith in me. It pulls me through when there's nothing around to hold on to. When I fall, when I'm weak, all the strength that I need is your faith, baby."

Faith as Waiting for a Miracle

Faith is also used as hoping against all odds or resolve in times of trouble.  In the movie John Q, John Q. Archibald comforts his wife during their son's hopeless medical situation by encouraging her to "have faith," which is "believing what you don't want to believe."  In this sense, faith is acknowledging their son's situation is hopeless and there is nothing that can be done except to hope for a miracle of fate.


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