act of faith

Discussion in 'English Only' started by aha123, Sep 4, 2010.

  1. aha123 Senior Member

    Maui, Hawaii(here is heaven! :)
    Mixed Asian Languages
    "Regulating an industry that deems itself clairvoyant, has no standard education requirements and yet rakes in cash for revealing spiritual truths may itself be an act of faith."

    According to Longman, "act of faith" means "something you do that shows you trust someone completely." But it seems this meaning doesn't fit into this context. Here is the link to the article in case you need more context:
  2. mplsray Senior Member

    "Act of faith" here means "act done because one has faith" as opposed to "rational act," meaning "act done because there are logical reasons to believe it will be effective."

    The author is expressing skepticism that effective regulation by government authorities can succeed in the case of so-called "psychics."
  3. aha123 Senior Member

    Maui, Hawaii(here is heaven! :)
    Mixed Asian Languages
    Thanks for the reply! I can't link "act done because one has faith" to "expressing skepticism". Can you elaborate on what you are trying to say?
  4. mplsray Senior Member

    It is the government regulators that are "acting on faith," according to the author. It is the author who is expressing skepticism that those regulators can succeed in any effective regulation.
  5. Tazzler Senior Member

    American English

    Look at these two definitions of the word "faith": 2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence and 1. strong or unshakeable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence.

    So the government's beliefs aren't based on anything concrete; it can't have any real certainty that its regulations will succeed.
  6. aiyu

    aiyu Senior Member


    But if there was hope, it lay in the proles. You had to cling on to that. When you put it in words it sounded reasonable: it was when you looked at the human beings passing you on the pavement that it became an act of faith. (1984, George Orwell)

    In the text, does became an act of faith mean that it might sound easy but it required faith to do that?

    Thanks a lot!
  7. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    Hello aiyu,

    I have merged your thread with a previous discussion of the same phrase. Please read from the top. If you need further help to understand it in this context, please tell us what still needs to be explained. :)

    Cagey, moderator.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
  8. aiyu

    aiyu Senior Member

    Thanks a lot Cagey!!!

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