Difference between revisions of "Faith"

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'''Faith''' is a confidence or trust in the achievement of [[God]]'s will, even though unseen and unexpected by non-believers.  A classic statement of faith in the [[Bible]] was by the [[Roman Empire|Roman]] centurion of [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew%208:5-10;&version=49; Matthew 8:5-10], who expressed his confidence that [[Jesus]] could cure his beloved servant from a distance without even seeing him.  [[Jesus]] repeatedly emphasized the importance and value of faith to his disciples.
  
'''Faith''' is a [[belief]] in the trustworthiness of an [[idea]] or person. Formal usage of the word "faith" is usually reserved for concepts of [[religion]], as in [[theology]], where it almost universally refers to a trusting belief in a [[Transcendence (religion)|transcendent reality]], or else in a [[Supreme Being]] and said being's role in the order of transcendent, spiritual things.
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Faith embodies more than belief.  Faith elevates one's being, while belief is limited to a mental state or emotion. Faith implies a causal role by the believer in an outcome, as in [[Peter]]'s walking on water based on his faith or in overcoming a personal fear.  Faith also implies advancement or accomplishment rather than wrongdoing, while belief implies neither.
  
Informal usage of the word "faith" can be quite broad, and may be used standardly in place of "[[Trust (social sciences)|trust]]", "belief", or "[[hope]]".  
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Faith plays a central role in overcoming [[addiction]]. Virtually everyone is plagued by one or more addictions, and faith enables overcoming those weaknesses.
For example, the word "faith" can refer to a religion itself or to religion in general. (For informal uses of the word "faith", see [[Faith (word)]]).
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As with "trust", faith involves a concept of future events or outcomes.
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[[Image:La Fe (L.S. Carmona, MRABASF E-108) 01.jpg|thumb|230px|right|[[Allegory]] of '''faith''', by [[Luis Salvador Carmona|L.S. Carmona]] (1752–53). Veil symbolizes the impossibility to know directly the evidences.]]
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Faith is also helpful in overcoming fear, such as fear of public speaking,  appearing on [[television]], or standing up to a [[bully]].
  
== Epistemological validity of faith ==
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Lack of faith includes fear, anxiety, depression and lack of confidence. A lack of faith can be very harmful, leading to self-destructive behavior.
There exists a wide spectrum of opinion with respect to the [[epistemology|epistemological]] validity of faith. On one extreme is [[logical positivism]], which denies the validity of any beliefs held by faith; on the other extreme is [[fideism]], which holds that true belief can only arise from faith, because reason and evidence cannot lead to truth. Some [[Foundationalism|foundationalists]], such as [[St. Augustine of Hippo]] and [[Alvin Plantinga]], hold that all of our beliefs rest ultimately on beliefs accepted by faith. Others, such as [[C. S. Lewis]], hold that faith is merely the virtue by which we hold to our reasoned ideas, despite moods to the contrary.<ref name="isbn0-06-065292-6">{{cite book |author=[[C. S. Lewis|Lewis, C. S.]] |title=[[Mere Christianity]]: a revised and amplified edition, with a new introduction, of the three books, Broadcast talks, Christian behaviour, and Beyond personality |publisher=HarperSanFrancisco |location=[[San Francisco]] |year=2001 |pages= |isbn=0-06-065292-6 |oclc= |doi=}}</ref>
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=== Fideism and Pistisism===
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Faith is expressed in [[Greek]] using the term ''pistis'', and in [[Latin]] using the term ''fides''. Faith is mentioned in 229 verses in the [[New Testament]] ([[KJV]]), but only twice in the much larger [[Old Testament]] ([[KJV]]).<ref>http://www.crosswalk.com</ref> In attempt to convert [[Jews]] to [[Christianity]], [[Paul]] described [[Abraham]]'s willingness to sacrifice his beloved son [[Isaac]] to [[God]] as an act of faith, though the [[Old Testament]] did not describe it with that term.
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Fideism is not a synonym for “religious belief”, but describes a particular philosophical proposition in regard to the relationship between faith's appropriate jurisdiction at arriving at truths, contrasted against reasons. It states that faith is needed to determine some philosophical and religious truths, and it questions the ability of reason to arrive at all truth. The word and concept had its origin in the mid to late nineteenth century by way of [[Roman Catholic]] thought, in a movement called traditionalism. The Roman Catholic [[Magisterium]] has repeatedly condemned fideism though.<ref>http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/fideism/</ref>
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The word is also occasionally used to refer to the Protestant belief that Christians are saved by faith alone: for which see [[sola fide]]. This position is sometimes called solifidianism and sol Pistisism.
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Faith is strengthened by prayer ([http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=jude%2020;&version=9; Jude 20]). For those who strengthen their faith, [[Jesus]] promised "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."<ref>John 14:12 (NIV).</ref>
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==Biblical examples==
  
Many noted philosophers and [[theologians]] have espoused the idea that ''faith'' is the basis of  [[knowledge]]. One example is [[St. Augustine of Hippo]]. Known as one of his contributions to philosophy, the idea of "faith seeking understanding" was set forth by St. Augustine in his statement "''Crede, ut intelligas''" ("Believe in order that you may understand").
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Perhaps the greatest description of faith is Hebrews 11. It states: "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."<ref>Hebrews 11:1 (NIV).</ref>
  
One illustration of this concept is in the development of knowledge in children. A child typically holds parental teaching as credible, in spite of the child's lack of sufficient research to establish such credibility [[empirical]]ly. That parental teaching, however fallible, becomes a foundation upon which future knowledge is built.{{Fact|date=February 2007}} The child’s faith in his/her parents teaching is based on a belief in their credibility. Unless/until the child’s belief in their parents’ credibility is superseded by a stronger belief, the parental teaching will serve as a filter through which other teaching must be processed and/or evaluated. Following this line of reasoning, and assuming that children have finite or limited empirical knowledge at birth, it follows that faith is the fundamental basis of all knowledge one has. Even adults attribute the basis for some of their knowledge to so called "[[authorities]]" in a given field of study. This is true because one simply does not have the time or resources to evaluate all of his/her knowledge empirically and exhaustively. "Faith" is used instead.
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[[Paul]] indicated that faith itself is a gift of the [[Holy Spirit]]. 1 Corinthians 12:8-9 <i>For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit</i>
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However, a child's parents are not infallible. Some of what the child learns from them will be wrong, and some will be rejected. It is rational (albeit at a perhaps instinctive level) for the child to trust the parents in the absence of other sources of information, but it is also irrational to cling rigidly to everything one was originally taught in the face of countervailing evidence. Parental instruction may be the ''historical'' foundation of future knowledge, but that does not necessarily make it a ''structural'' foundation.
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It is sometimes argued that even scientific knowledge is dependent on 'faith' - for example, faith that the researcher responsible for an empirical conclusion is competent, and honest. Indeed, distinguished chemist and philosopher [[Michael Polanyi]] argued that scientific discovery begins with a scientist's faith that an unknown discovery is possible. Scientific discovery thus requires a passionate commitment to a result that is unknowable at the outset. Polanyi argued that the scientific method is not an objective method removed from man's passion. On the contrary, scientific progress depends primarily on the unique capability of free man to notice and investigate patterns and connections, and on the individual scientist's willingness to commit time and resources to such investigation, which usually must begin before the truth is known or the benefits of the discovery are imagined, let alone understood fully. It could then be argued that until one possesses all knowledge in totality, one will need faith in order to believe an understanding to be correct or incorrect in total affirmation. 
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As discussed above, a potential reference to faith is [[Genesis]] 22 where [[God]] tested [[Abraham]] by commanding him to sacrifice his only son [[Isaac]]. As Abraham prepared to do what God commanded -he was stopped.  
 
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Genesis 22:12
Again, scientific faith is not dogmatic. While the scientist must make presuppositions in order to get the enterprise under way, almost everything (according to some thinkers, such as [[Willard Van Orman Quine|Quine]], ''literally'' everything) is revisable and discardable.
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<i>"Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son." </i>
  
==Faith in world religions==
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==Martin Luther on Faith==
===Judaism===
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{{main|Jewish principles of faith}}
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Although [[Judaism]] does recognize the positive value of ''Emunah'' (faith/belief) and the negative status of the ''Apikorus'' (heretic) the specific tenets that compose required belief and their application to the times have been heatedly disputed throughout Jewish history. Many, but not all, [[Orthodox Judaism|Orthodox Jews]] have accepted [http://studentorgs.utexas.edu/cjso/Chabad/moshiach/techiya-masim.html [[Maimonides]]' Thirteen Principles of Belief].
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A traditional example of faith as seen in the Jewish annals is found in the person of [[Abraham]]. On a number of occasions, Abraham both accepts statements from God that seem impossible and offers obedient actions in response to direction from God to do things that seem implausible (see [[Genesis]] 12-15).
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Luther in his Table Talk papers writes this thought provoking and rather difficult passage on faith:
  
For a wide history of this dispute, see: Shapira, Marc: The Limits of Orthodox Theology: Maimonides' Thirteen Principles Reappraised (Littman Library of Jewish Civilization (Series).)
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"This is the acme of faith, to believe that God, who saves so few and condemns so many, is merciful; that he is just who, at his own pleasure, has made us necessarily doomed to damnation, so that he seems to delight in the torture of the wretched and is more deserving of hate than of love.  If by any effort of reason I could conceive how God, who shows so much anger and harshness, could be merciful and just, there would be no need of faith."
  
===Christianity===
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==Faith as a virtue==
{{main|Faith in Christianity}}
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[[Image:Konrad Witz – Petri fiskafänge.jpg|thumb|right|210px|The 'walking on water' episode, which both showed and tested St Peter's faith (painting by Konrad Witz).]]
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[[St Paul]] identified faith, [[hope]] and [[love]] (or [[charity]]) as the three greatest [[virtue]]s that are central to Christianity, and this idea is repeated and elaborated upon throughout Christian tradition. Faith is put first because it provides the foundation upon which the other two are built: a faithful heart and mind cause one to have hope, and hope causes one to have love for God and one's fellow man.
  
Faith in Christianity is directed toward an object, or more particularly a person, [[Jesus Christ]].  In this way Christianity claims not to be distinguished by its faith, but by the object of its faith.  Faith is essentially an act of trust or reliance on God.  Rather than being passive, this leads to an active life of [[Obedience (human behavior)|obedience]] to the one being trusted.  Faith causes questions and seeks answers from God and transforms, it sees the mystery of [[God]] and his [[Divine grace|grace]] and seeks to know and become obedient to God. Faith is not static but causes one to learn more of God and grow, faith causes change as it seeks a greater understanding of God. Faith is not fideism, or simple obedience to a set of rules or statements. <ref>Migliore, Daniel L. 2004. ''Faith seeking understanding: an introduction to Christian theology''. Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans. pp 3-8.</ref>  Before the Christian has faith, they must understand who and what they are having faith in. Without understanding, there cannot be true faith. Understanding is built on the foundation of the community of believers: the understanding of the scriptures and traditions of the community of believers and on personal experiences of the [[Belief|believer]].<ref>Inbody, Tyron. 2005. The faith of the Christian church: an introduction to theology. Grand Rapids, Mich: William B. Eerdmans Pub. pp 1-10.</ref>
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In [[Dante]]'s [[Divine Comedy]], [[St Peter]] is most identified with faith. This is appropriate, since he was the 'rock' on which the Church was built, just as a Christian life must be rooted in faith. Peter's great faith is shown in Matthew 14:28-31, when he is briefly able to walk on water until doubt enters his mind.
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{{clear}}
  
===Islam===
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== Uniqueness to Christianity ==
{{main|Iman (concept)}}
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Christianity is unique among religions in that its followers are defined by faith rather than by adherence to a prescribed code. St Paul makes this distinction clear in Galatians 3:24-25:
Faith in [[Islam]] is called [[Iman (Islamic concept of faith)|Iman]]. It is a complete submission to the will of Allah which includes belief, profession, and the body's performance of deeds consistent with the commission as vicegerent on Earth, all according to Allah's will.
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{{cquote|The law was a kind of tutor in charge of us until Christ should come, when we should be justified through faith; and now that faith has come, the tutor's charge is at an end.}}
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That is to say, whereas [[Judaism]] required (and still requires) its followers to obey the law, Christianity begins with faith, and any moral or ethical decisions must follow from that. In this regard, Islam has much more in common with Judaism than it does with Christianity: the word 'Islam' itself means 'submission to God'.
  
Iman has two aspects
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==Other Definitions and Religions==
*Recognizing and affirming that there is one [[Creator deity|Creator]] of the universe and only to this Creator is worship due. According to Islamic thought, this comes naturally because faith is an instinct of the human soul. This instinct is then trained via parents or guardians into specific religious or spiritual paths. Likewise, the instinct may not be guided at all.
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*Willingness and commitment to submitting that Allah exists, and to His prescriptions for living in accordance with vicegerency. The Qur'an (Koran) is the dictation of Allah's prescriptions through Prophet Muhammad and is believed to have updated and completed previous revelations Allah sent through earlier prophets.
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Outside of [[Christianity]], faith is misused as a synonym for "belief". The [[Merriam-Webster]] dictionary, for example, includes this definition of faith:  "a system of religious beliefs."<ref>http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/faith</ref> 
  
In the [[Qur'an]], God ([[Allah]] in Arabic), states (2:62): Surely, those who believe, those who are [[Jewish]], the [[Christians]], and the converts; anyone who (1) believes in GOD, and (2) believes in the Last Day, and (3) leads a righteous life, will receive their recompense from their Lord. They have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.<ref>[http://www.submission.org/ Islam (Submission). Your best source for Islam on the Internet. Happiness is submission to God.-Islam-Submission-Introduction,definition, discussion, debate, laws, justice, hum...<!-- Bot generated title -->]</ref>
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Alternatively, faith often refers to a "firm belief in something for which there is no proof" or evidence.
  
===Hinduism===
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In the [[Koran]], the concept of submission to [[Allah]] is mentioned 11 times, while the concept of faith in Allah is mentioned only once.
In Hinduism, Śraddhā is the word that is synonymous with faith. It means unshaken belief and purity of thought. Faith is recognized as a virtue throughout all schools of Hinduism, although there is a variety of interpretations of the role of faith in one's daily life, its foundation, and what rests upon it. Some schools more strongly emphasize reason and direct personal knowledge, while other schools of thought more strongly emphasize religious devotion. In chapter 17 of the [[Bhagavad Gita]], [[Krishna]] mentions the three [[guna]]s of faith: Faith rooted in [[sattva]], faith rooted in [[rajas]], and faith rooted in [[tamas]]. Those with sattvic faith are said to worship the [[deva]]s, those with rajasic faith are said to worship demons, and those with tamasic faith are said to worship ghosts and spirits.
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===Buddhism===
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Etymologically, the word 'faith' is closely linked to the concept of "fidelity," which emphasizes commitment to something or someone, specifically [[Christ]]. Thus, faith is often understood to mean 'loyalty' to a particular view of [[divinity]]. Yet, faith can also be envisioned more broadly as a trust in [[providence]], as it entails an active role for the believer himself for advancing good.
{{Main|Faith in Buddhism}}
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Faith (Pali: Saddhā, Sanskrit: Śraddhā) is an important constituent element of the teachings of the [[Gautama Buddha|Buddha]] - both in the [[Theravada]] tradition as in the [[Mahayana]]. Faith in Buddhism derives from the [[pali]] word ''saddhā'', which often refers to a sense of conviction. The saddhā is often described as:
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The literary critic Harold Bloom distinguishes Christianity from the other two dominant monotheistic religions in his book Agon by contrasting them with Gnosticism:
  
* A conviction that something is
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"Gnosticism polemically is decidedly not a faith, whether in the Christian sense, pisits, a believing that something was, is, and will be so; or in the Hebraic sense, emunah, a trusting in the Covenant.  If religion is a binding, then Gnosticism is an unbinding, but not for the sake of things or persons merely as they are.  Gnostic freedom is a freedom for knowledge, knowledge of what in the self, not in the psyche or soul, is Godlike, and knowledge of God beyond the cosmos.  But also it is a freedom to be known, to be known by God, by what is alien to everything created, by what is alien to and beyond the stars and the cosmic system and our earth."
* A determination to accomplish one's goals
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* A sense of joy deriving from the other two
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While faith in Buddhism does not imply "blind faith", Buddhist faith (as advocated by the [[Gautama Buddha|Buddha]] in various scriptures, or ''sutras'') nevertheless requires a ''degree'' of faith and belief primarily in the spiritual attainment of the Buddha. Faith in [[Buddhism]] centers on the understanding that the Buddha is an Awakened being, on his superior role as teacher, in the truth of his [[Dharma]] (spiritual Doctrine), and in his [[Sangha]] (community of spiritually developed followers). Faith in Buddhism is better classified or defined as a Confidence in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and is intended to lead to the goal of Awakening ([[bodhi]]) and [[Nirvana]]. Volitionally, faith implies a resolute and steadfast pursuit of Truth. It combines the steadfast resolution that one will do a thing with the self-confidence that one can do it.
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Faith is emphasized in Christianity but is unrecognized by the worldview of [[Philosophical Skepticism|philosophical skepticism]].
  
As a counter to any form of "blind faith", the Buddha taught the [[Kalama Sutra]], exhorting his disciples to investigate any teaching and to live by what is learnt and accepted, rather than believing something outright.
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==References==
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<references/>
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[[Category:religion]]
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[[Category:philosophy]]
  
===Bahá'í Faith===
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== External links ==
In the [[Bahá'í Faith]] faith is ultimately the acceptance of the divine authority of the [[Manifestations of God]]. In the religion's view, faith and knowledge are both required for spiritual growth. Faith involves more than outward obedience to this authority, but also must be based on a deep personal understanding of religious teachings.<ref>{{cite book |last = Smith |first = P. |year = 1999 |title = A Concise Encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith |publisher = Oneworld Publications |location = Oxford, UK |pages = 155 |isbn = 1851681841 }}</ref>
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* Holding, James Patrick, [http://tektonics.org/whatis/whatfaith.html Fallacious Faith]
 
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*[http://jesuschrist.lds.org/SonOfGod/eng/finding-faith-in-christ/video/finding-faith-in-christ Finding Faith in Christ], video at ''JesusChrist.lds.org''
<blockquote>
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By faith is meant, first, conscious knowledge, and second, the practice of good deeds.<ref>Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 383</ref>
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</blockquote>
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: See the ''[[Role of faith in the Baha'i Faith]]''
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== Criticisms of faith ==
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A certain number of religious [[rationalism|rationalist]]s, as well as non-religious people, criticize implicit faith as being irrational, and see faith as ignorance of reality: a strong belief in something with no evidence. [[Bertrand Russell]] used to note that no one speaks of faith in the existence of such entities as gravity or electricity; rather, resorts to arguing faith occur only when evidence or logic fails. The issue is more than theoretical.<ref>[[Dennis Rawlins|D. Rawlins]], [http://www.dioi.org/rel.htm#fjri Atheism]</ref> People can agree on the reality of that which is evidential or reasonable, but what is based on faith is not usually communicable except by common inculcation, which makes faith a divider and thus a phenomenon commonly correlated to intolerance and warfare. In the rationalist view, belief should be restricted to what is directly supportable by logic or [[scientific method|scientific evidence]].<ref>{{cite book|first=Sam|last=Harris|title=The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason|publisher=The Free Press|date=2006|isbn=978-0-7432-6809-7}} </ref>
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Defenders of faith say that belief in scientific evidence is itself based on faith — in [[positivism]]; yet they do not themselves defy reason by walking off cliffs out of faith in divine intervention. Others claim that faith is perfectly compatible with and does not necessarily [[contradiction|contradict]] [[reason]], "faith" meaning an assumed belief. Many [[Judaism|Jews]], [[Christianity|Christians]] and [[Islam|Muslims]] claim that there is adequate [[Evidence|historical evidence]] of their God's [[existence]] and [[interaction]] with human beings. As such, they may believe that there is no need for "faith" in God in the sense of belief against or despite evidence; rather, they hold that evidence is sufficient to demonstrate that their God probably exists or certainly exists.
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Some religious believers – and many of their critics – often use the term "faith" as the [[affirmation]] of belief without an ongoing [[Experiment|test]] of evidence. In this sense ''faith'' refers to ''belief beyond evidence or [[logical argument]]s'', sometimes called "implicit faith". Another form of this kind of faith is [[fideism]]: one ought to believe that God exists, but one should not base that belief on any other beliefs; one should, instead, accept it without any [[reason]]s at all. "Faith" in this sense, belief for the sake of believing, is often associated with [[Søren Kierkegaard]]'s ''[[Fear and Trembling]]'' and some other [[existentialism|existentialist]] religious thinkers.
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Faith as [[Religious]] [[belief]], has been advanced as being desirable, for example for emotional reasons or to regulate society, and this can be seen as ‘positive’ when it has 'benign’ effects. However, [[rationalist]]s may become alarmed that faithful [[activist]]s, perhaps with extreme beliefs, might not be amenable to argument or to negotiation over their behavior
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[[Robert Todd Carroll]], an advocate of atheism, argues that the word "faith" is usually used to refer to belief in a proposition that is not supported by a perceived majority of evidence. Since many beliefs are in propositions that are supported by a perceived majority of evidence, the claim that all beliefs/knowledge are based on faith is a misconception "or perhaps it is an intentional attempt at disinformation and obscurantism" made by religious apologists:
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<blockquote>
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"There seems to be something profoundly deceptive and misleading about lumping together as acts of faith such things as belief in the Virgin birth and belief in the existence of an external world or in the principle of contradiction. Such a view trivializes religious faith by putting all non-empirical claims in the same category as religious faith. In fact, religious faith should be put in the same category as belief in superstitions, fairy tales, and delusions of all varieties."<ref> Carroll, Robert T. faith (religious). skepdic.com. 2006. http://www.skepdic.com/faith.html (accessed February 20, 2007).</ref>
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</blockquote>
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Michael Green includes the idea that faith is belief not based on evidence as one of the myths about Christianity. Faith is to commit oneself to act based on sufficient experience to warrant belief, but without absolute proof. To have faith involves an act of will. For example, many people saw [[Blondin]] walk across the gorge below [[Niagara Falls]] on a tightrope, and believed (on the basis of the evidence of their own eyes) that he was capable of carrying a man on his back safely across. But only his manager Harry Colcord had enough faith to allow himself to be carried.<ref>{{Cite book | author=Green, Michael; Carkner, Gordon | authorlink= | coauthors= | title=Ten Myths About Christianity | date= | publisher=OM Publishing | location= | isbn=1-85078-097-8 | pages=}}</ref>
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Atheist [[Richard Dawkins]] contends that faith is merely belief without evidence. A practice which only degrades our understanding of the natural world by allowing anyone to make a claim about reality that is based solely off of their personal thoughts, and possibly distorted perceptions, that does not require testing against nature, has no ability to make reliable and consistent predictions, and is not subject to peer review. <ref name="Is Science a Religion?">{{cite web
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| author=Dawkins, Richard | date=January/February 1997 | url=http://www.thehumanist.org/humanist/articles/dawkins.html | title =Is Science a Religion? | accessdate=2008-03-15 | publisher = American Humanist Association}}</ref>
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==See also==
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{|width=100%
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|-valign=top
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|width=50%|
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*[[Apostasy]]
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*[[Belief system]]
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*[[Crisis of faith]]
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*[[Faith and rationality]]
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*[[Fideism]]
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*[[Lectures on Faith]]
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*[[Major world religions]]
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*[[Pascal's Wager]]
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|width=50%|
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*[[Religion]]
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*[[Rationalism]]
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*[[Religious belief]]
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*[[Religious conversion]]
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*[[Spectrum of Theistic Probability]]
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*[[St. Faith]]
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*Saints - [[Faith, Hope, and Charity]]
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|}
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==Notes==
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{{reflist}}
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==Further reading==
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* [[Sam Harris (author)|Sam Harris]], ''[[The End of Faith]]: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason'', W. W. Norton (2004), hardcover, 336 pages, ISBN 0-393-03515-8
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* Hein, David. "Faith and Doubt in Rose Macaulay's ''The Towers of Trebizond''." ''Anglican Theological Review'' Winter2006, Vol. 88 Issue 1, p47-68.
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* [[Stephen Palmquist]], "Faith as Kant's Key to the Justification of Transcendental Reflection", The Heythrop Journal 25:4 (October 1984), pp.442-455. Reprinted as Chapter V in Stephen Palmquist, [http://www.hkbu.edu.hk/~ppp/ksp1 Kant's System of Perspectives] (Lanham: University Press of America, 1993).
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*Zarlengo, Michael. ''Pray Like This: God's Secret to Answered Prayer''. Dallas, Texas: Michael Zarlengo Publishing, 2005.
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*[[D. Mark Parks]], "Faith/Faithfulness" ''Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary''. Eds. Chad Brand, Charles Draper, Archie England. Nashville: Holman Publishers, 2003.
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*[http://cecyl.over-blog.com/categorie-10167052.html Poetry & Spirituality]
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===Classic reflections on the nature of faith===
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*[[Martin Buber]], ''I and Thou''
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*[[Paul Tillich]], ''The Dynamics of Faith''
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===The Reformation view of faith===
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*[[John Calvin]], ''The Institutes of the Christian Religion''
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*[[R.C. Sproul]], ''Faith Alone''
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===Faith in Analysis===
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*[[Paul Williams]], ''The Anatomy of Spiritual Growth''
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*[http://www.webspawner.com/users/faithnword/index.html Word of Faith Ezine]
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==External links==
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{{wiktionarypar|faith}}
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{{Wikiquote}}
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{{commonscat|Faith}}
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*[http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/religion-epistemology/ Epistemology of the religion, article from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy by Peter Forrest]
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*[http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/luther-faith.txt Martin Luther's Definition of Faith]
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*[http://www.apuritansmind.com/Justification/CalvinJohnJustification.htm John Calvin on Justification by Faith from The Institutes of the Christian Religion]
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*[http://www.seegod.org/the_warrant_of_faith.htm Charles Spurgeon on the Warrant of Faith]
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*[http://public.csusm.edu/public/guests/rsclark/Warfield.html B.B. Warfield on Justification By Faith]
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*[http://www.skepdic.com/faith.html The Skeptic's Dictionary entry on Faith]
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*[http://rationalchristianity.org/?p=23 Rational Christianity on Faith Versus Reason]
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*[http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05752c.htm Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Faith]
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*[http://www.chabad.org/search/keyword.asp?scope=6198&kid=1247 Faith in Judaism] chabad.org
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*[http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05752c.htm Faith] from the [http://www.newadvent.org 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia]
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[[Category:Religious philosophy and doctrine]]
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[[Category:Belief]]
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[[Category:Spirituality]]
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[[Category:Virtues]]
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[[ar:إيمان]]
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[[bg:Вяра]]
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[[ca:Fe]]
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[[cs:Víra]]
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[[da:Tro]]
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[[et:Usk]]
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[[es:Fe]]
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[[eu:Fede]]
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[[fr:Foi]]
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[[hr:Vjera]]
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[[id:Iman]]
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[[ia:Fide]]
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[[is:Trú]]
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[[it:Fede]]
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[[hu:Hit]]
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[[ja:信仰]]
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[[pl:Wiara]]
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[[pt:Fé]]
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[[ro:Credinţă]]
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[[ru:Вера]]
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[[sr:Вера]]
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[[tt:Íman]]
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[[vi:Tín ngưỡng]]
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[[uk:Віра (релігійна)]]
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[[yi:בטחון]]
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Revision as of 06:38, 27 December 2008

Faith.jpg

Faith is a confidence or trust in the achievement of God's will, even though unseen and unexpected by non-believers. A classic statement of faith in the Bible was by the Roman centurion of Matthew 8:5-10, who expressed his confidence that Jesus could cure his beloved servant from a distance without even seeing him. Jesus repeatedly emphasized the importance and value of faith to his disciples.

Faith embodies more than belief. Faith elevates one's being, while belief is limited to a mental state or emotion. Faith implies a causal role by the believer in an outcome, as in Peter's walking on water based on his faith or in overcoming a personal fear. Faith also implies advancement or accomplishment rather than wrongdoing, while belief implies neither.

Faith plays a central role in overcoming addiction. Virtually everyone is plagued by one or more addictions, and faith enables overcoming those weaknesses.

Faith is also helpful in overcoming fear, such as fear of public speaking, appearing on television, or standing up to a bully.

Lack of faith includes fear, anxiety, depression and lack of confidence. A lack of faith can be very harmful, leading to self-destructive behavior.

Faith is expressed in Greek using the term pistis, and in Latin using the term fides. Faith is mentioned in 229 verses in the New Testament (KJV), but only twice in the much larger Old Testament (KJV).[1] In attempt to convert Jews to Christianity, Paul described Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac to God as an act of faith, though the Old Testament did not describe it with that term.

Faith is strengthened by prayer (Jude 20). For those who strengthen their faith, Jesus promised "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."[2]

Biblical examples

Perhaps the greatest description of faith is Hebrews 11. It states: "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."[3]

Paul indicated that faith itself is a gift of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:8-9 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit

As discussed above, a potential reference to faith is Genesis 22 where God tested Abraham by commanding him to sacrifice his only son Isaac. As Abraham prepared to do what God commanded -he was stopped. Genesis 22:12 "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son."

Martin Luther on Faith

Luther in his Table Talk papers writes this thought provoking and rather difficult passage on faith:

"This is the acme of faith, to believe that God, who saves so few and condemns so many, is merciful; that he is just who, at his own pleasure, has made us necessarily doomed to damnation, so that he seems to delight in the torture of the wretched and is more deserving of hate than of love. If by any effort of reason I could conceive how God, who shows so much anger and harshness, could be merciful and just, there would be no need of faith."

Faith as a virtue

The 'walking on water' episode, which both showed and tested St Peter's faith (painting by Konrad Witz).

St Paul identified faith, hope and love (or charity) as the three greatest virtues that are central to Christianity, and this idea is repeated and elaborated upon throughout Christian tradition. Faith is put first because it provides the foundation upon which the other two are built: a faithful heart and mind cause one to have hope, and hope causes one to have love for God and one's fellow man.

In Dante's Divine Comedy, St Peter is most identified with faith. This is appropriate, since he was the 'rock' on which the Church was built, just as a Christian life must be rooted in faith. Peter's great faith is shown in Matthew 14:28-31, when he is briefly able to walk on water until doubt enters his mind.

Uniqueness to Christianity

Christianity is unique among religions in that its followers are defined by faith rather than by adherence to a prescribed code. St Paul makes this distinction clear in Galatians 3:24-25:

The law was a kind of tutor in charge of us until Christ should come, when we should be justified through faith; and now that faith has come, the tutor's charge is at an end.

That is to say, whereas Judaism required (and still requires) its followers to obey the law, Christianity begins with faith, and any moral or ethical decisions must follow from that. In this regard, Islam has much more in common with Judaism than it does with Christianity: the word 'Islam' itself means 'submission to God'.

Other Definitions and Religions

Outside of Christianity, faith is misused as a synonym for "belief". The Merriam-Webster dictionary, for example, includes this definition of faith: "a system of religious beliefs."[4]

Alternatively, faith often refers to a "firm belief in something for which there is no proof" or evidence.

In the Koran, the concept of submission to Allah is mentioned 11 times, while the concept of faith in Allah is mentioned only once.

Etymologically, the word 'faith' is closely linked to the concept of "fidelity," which emphasizes commitment to something or someone, specifically Christ. Thus, faith is often understood to mean 'loyalty' to a particular view of divinity. Yet, faith can also be envisioned more broadly as a trust in providence, as it entails an active role for the believer himself for advancing good.

The literary critic Harold Bloom distinguishes Christianity from the other two dominant monotheistic religions in his book Agon by contrasting them with Gnosticism:

"Gnosticism polemically is decidedly not a faith, whether in the Christian sense, pisits, a believing that something was, is, and will be so; or in the Hebraic sense, emunah, a trusting in the Covenant. If religion is a binding, then Gnosticism is an unbinding, but not for the sake of things or persons merely as they are. Gnostic freedom is a freedom for knowledge, knowledge of what in the self, not in the psyche or soul, is Godlike, and knowledge of God beyond the cosmos. But also it is a freedom to be known, to be known by God, by what is alien to everything created, by what is alien to and beyond the stars and the cosmic system and our earth."

Faith is emphasized in Christianity but is unrecognized by the worldview of philosophical skepticism.

References

  1. http://www.crosswalk.com
  2. John 14:12 (NIV).
  3. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV).
  4. http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/faith

External links