What Is the Difference Between Religion and Faith?

Religion and faith are often used interchangeably. However, according to About.com, faith is a strong conviction or belief in something for which there is no tangible proof. Religion, according to Dictionary.com, is a specific set of fundamental beliefs and practices agreed upon by a number of people or a religious sect.

Religion often refers to specific religious beliefs and principles such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam or Buddhism. Faith, however, refers to a strong belief in the universe or a higher universal power, often without claim to a specific “god” or religious practice. The practice of religious beliefs, such as attending church, a mosque or synagogue, is an example of a religious practice. Celebrating Passover or other religious holidays is an example of this as well. Generally, rituals and traditions are rooted in religion, while faith is regarded as an individual practice. For instance, someone who is religious, or follows a religion, is likely to observe a traditional, religion-based ceremony every Saturday or Sunday. Someone who has faith is likely to create an individual practice at home.

Religion is often viewed as a belief in a higher power and devotion to the traditional practices, ideologies and traditions of a particular religion. Faith, on the other hand, concerns believing in something without the devotion to the traditional practices. For many, faith is simply a hope for and certainty of what cannot be seen.