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Religion has long claimed to hold an unjustified monopoly on faith that makes those who do not believe in a God highly suspicious of the term. Believers see it as a requirement for salvation – whatever that salvation may be – while everyone else interprets the term as an excuse to do anything and everything for one’s belief. There is even a division within believers that boils down to bare minimum differences from one system of belief or another. Ideas such as: faith is enough for salvation, and faith is only good when complimented with works, have divided religionists of all creeds and backgrounds. In reality, faith is not the monopoly of religionists, nor the scourge of the atheists; it is a necessary emotional anchor which keeps us believing in the ever-changing indivisible element of humanity: the individual. That individual is the atom of our species, the basic element of culture, the person which could never be relied upon without that much needed dose of faith – though we may call it trust in a less religion-involved format, Faith plays an vital part in our everyday actions, interactions and thoughts.

Let us first dive into the meaning of the word ‘Faith’ in order to attain a minimum understanding of its roots and background. Faith originated in the Latin ‘Fides’ (Trust), and it shares a root with the verb ‘Fidere’ (to trust). This word however, has always had a monetary connotation in Ancient Rome; the term was used for a person who placed confidence on another’s ability to pay back a debt, that is, ‘Fides’ also was a word for credit. The term in the 13th century was used for the duty associated with fulfilling one’s trust; ‘in good faith’ is still a term used for transactions today. The term then applies to trust indeed, but a trust not without investment; in fact, there would be no faith without the necessary extension of credit. Using this definition, we extend credit to others, or whatever deity we claim allegiance to, in expectation that said credit will be returned in the future. Faith is no more than a transaction, indeed a deposit, into an account from which we expect payment in full. Sometimes said payment does not return to us immediately, in others, the return is so great that we seem reticent to accept it, and yet, the vast majority of the time, we end up with our own account having suffered a withdrawal it will never recover, leaving us to our own devices in regards to building our Faith funds once more.

The religionist may say that whoever or whatever God is, he cannot be the entity we hold responsible to our credit. The question is, why not? No matter which religion one adheres to, the entity which is God wants us to improve and to grow. Whether the maxim of a religion is to reach the uppermost reaches of understanding, heaven, or some imaginary animal hierarchical chain, the god or gods leading them wish them to improve. Granted, we are speaking in general terms of a Judeo-Christian religion and in regards to a personified God, although polytheistic religions also have examples of greatness in their understanding of divine beings which their human counterparts attempt to imitate. However, ignore that, see these concepts as they apply to you. Our faith to these beings, money, power, or whatever moves you is but an extension of credit; and whether we expect to be paid in full now or later, before or after death, in the shape of cash or produce; our choices and expectations are but an accumulation of belief.

Both atheists and religionists may ask: What is the purpose of faith if it is dependent on the expectations of man and his god? Indeed, it may seem that we have little choice in regards to how nature and the divine work, so why should we have a choice on faith? However, if we are placing our faith on a certain subject or belief, giving that line of credit ac chance, aware of the circumstances that place our investment in jeopardy in order to have some sort of expectation, said expectation will compel us to act in order to defend our investment. That is our choice; that is our possibility. God, nature, atoms, they may be unattainable, but it is our choice to place face on one or another concept. It is our choice to trust or distrust, to care or not to care. Trust that atom of society, man; or trust that grand body of the world, nature or god. Either way, if we see belief and faith in this light, we will rise to a better tomorrow by trusting, once again, that life can be better if we only follow St. Augustine’s plea: Pray is if everything depended [on whatever you believe], rise as if everything depended on yourself.