Sam asks, “Why is faith important to you?”
To answer this, I first have to answer a question he asked earlier in his comment (linked above): “What precisely do you mean by using the word “faith” (or, “belief”)?”
Let me answer by quoting the most definitive and authoritative statement on the subject that I can think of:
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
A few verses later comes another statement which adds light to this one:
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
To put this issue in personal terms, faith is the conviction that God is…and that it’s beneficial to trust Him.
So, that’s what faith is. Now, why is it important? Because it’s the only way to relate productively to a person you cannot see (i.e. sense physically).
I don’t find anything irrational or even non-rational about this process. Quite the contrary, I find it completely and necessarily rationale…or else I wouldn’t engage in it.
The original disciples, who knew Jesus personally, did not have to believe that He was, for they could see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears that He was. Once He was raised from the dead and ascended into heaven, however, they had to rely upon faith in Him for they could no longer contact Him by their physical senses.
When Jesus was in a physical state, he was limited in the number of human interactions he could have at any one time. By resuming His spiritual state, He is accessible by every single human being simultaneously. The trade-off is that His invisibility requires our trust. This trade-off seems well worth it from our point of view.
Moreover, in a physical state, Jesus could walk beside us, but in a spiritual state He can dwell inside us – a far greater form of intimacy. Again, this exchange of states seems entirely beneficial to us.
Therefore, faith is important because it enables us to enjoy a God who is greater than all of us. Without faith, we are forced to live in doubt and uncertainty regarding our origin, our fate, and our worth.