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Vocabulary: Who or What is a “Believer”

Published: 10th of August, 2023

Last updated: September 10, 2023 at 17:19 pm

By definition, a “believer” is someone or something who believes in something or someone. However, the word “believer” takes up a different connotation from place to place. For example, in the State of Mato Grosso, Brazil, the term “believer” is applied to Christians while disbelievers, non-believers, or unbelievers are used to refer to people who do not believe in Christ and are therefore not adherents to the Christian faith.

In the Middle East, on the other hand, in predominantly Muslim countries such as Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, and Iran, a believer is one who believes in the Koran and Islam. A verse in the Koran reads, “believers will dwell in the gardens of paradise for eternity.” Believers, in this context, refers to people who believe in the Islamic Faith and not in any other religion.

During my stay in the State of Mato Grosso, Brazil, in the year 2013, I spent some time on a beautiful farmland with a wonderful Christian family. They asked me what my religion was. I told them, “Christian.” The little girl exclaimed to her mother, “ah, he’s a believer!”

Although the dictionary just has one definition for “believer,” the meaning of the word changes depending on the context in which it is used, and also the community in which it is used. People in the Middle East, for example, use the word “believer” to refer to someone of different beliefs than people of Brazil.

As you can see from the above examples, the word a believer in one place or country might refer to a disbeliever in another place or country. Whether you’re a believer or not may change from place to place and community to community.

The word “believer” is not that simple to define, although the dictionary makes a pretty neat attempt, but the word “believe” is even harder to define, and much harder to understand. But that’s another story altogether which I’ll talk about in another article.

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