I have read about the difference between "croire à" and "croire en" in other questions.

  • croire à qqch: to believe in the existence or veracity of sth (sth. may be a fictional character or a group of people)
  • croire en qqch/qqun: to have trust/faith in sth./sb. It is the one idiomatically used to express faith in the existence of God.

My understanding is that "to have faith in sth which is not proven to exist" is identical "to believe in its existence". Is that right? If so, both sentences below are identical.

Je crois à l'existence de Dieu/extraterrestres.

Je crois en l'existence de Dieu/extraterrestres.

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    The meanings are overlapping but are fully not identical. Croire à means you believe that it is scientifically possible, despite being unproven, croire en means you just do not question the existence and are not interested in a scientific proof.
    – jlliagre
    Jul 3 '19 at 23:05
  • A counter-argument: If "an enfant croit au Père Noël" , he/she does not care about any scientific proof. Jul 3 '19 at 23:50
  • @jiliagre I had already read that question you suggested before creating this one, but I was not able to infer answer to my question from it. Jul 3 '19 at 23:52
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    I wrote the meaning are overlapping in my reply so that means they are not identical. The issue with your counter-argument is that neither croire à Dieu nor croire en Père Noël do exists. There is a strong difference between a kid believing Santa Claus exists because he has seen him face to face, and has received very concrete "proofs" of his existence in the form of Christmas presents and believers who have generally a less concrete experience with miracles and God in general.
    – jlliagre
    Jul 4 '19 at 0:25
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