Faith and belief are often considered to be one and the same. I have given the concepts and faith and belief considerable thought and contemplation and I have concluded that while they seem to be similar, they are not the same at all. They are two distinct and separate entities. One can have faith without a belief just as one can believe without having faith. Faith and belief are independent of one another but they can coexist.
Faith is intuitive and internal; it comes from within. Belief, on the other hand, is external. Beliefs are entirely derived from external sources — what you’ve been told, what you’ve read, what you’ve experienced, and what you’ve observed. Belief is based upon what one perceives as one’s external reality. One can point to something outside oneself and say, “This is what I believe and why I believe it.” Faith, on the other hand, is completely intuitive. One cannot point the the source of one’s faith and say, “This is why I have faith.” One can only know that it is.
A set of beliefs may be used to support or justify one’s faith but it is not necessary. Faith can, and often does, exist independently of a belief system or it may even be contradictory to what one believes. It is also quite possible and, indeed, quite common for people to be firmly entrenched in a belief system and either have no faith or to believe that their belief system is their faith, blissfully not knowing the difference.