that is not based on proof. In religion, faith is a belief in a transcendent reality
, a religious teacher, a set of teachings or a Supreme Being
. Generally speaking, it is offered as a means by which the truth of the proposition, "things will turn out well in the end," can be enjoyed in the present and secured in the future. This faith appeals to transcendent reality, or that reality which is beyond the range of normal physical experience (e.g.
"Faith strikes me as intellectual laziness, but I don't argue with it - especially as I am rarely in a position to prove that it is mistaken. Negative proof is usually impossible"
"Faith creates the foundation for conviction."
"Faith is cold as ice. Why are little ones born only to suffer for the want of immunity or a bowl of rice? Well, who would hold a price on the heads of the innocent children if there's some immortal power to control the dice?" ~ Rush, Roll the Bones
"Faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate." ~ Richard Dawkins
"Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe." ~ St. Augustine
"Faith is the surrender of the mind, it's the surrender of reason, it's the surrender of the only thing that makes us different from other animals. It's our need to believe and to surrender our skepticism and our reason, our yearning to discard that and put all our trust or faith in someone or something, that is the sinister thing to me. ... Out of all the virtues, all the supposed virtues, faith must be the most overrated" ~Christopher Hitchens
"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable." ~ H.L. Mencken
"The word faith is not generally regarded as a primary term in the scientist's lexicon, yet . . . Faith is the vial ingredient in the Cyclops project" (i.e., communicating with extraterrestrial races via microwave transmission). - Norman Cousins
"Faith, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge about things without parallel." ~ Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
Faith, Quinn mused, was a strange power. They had committed their lives to the sect, never questioning its gospels. Yet in all of that time, they had the reassurance of routine […] The bedrock of every religion, that your God is a promise, never to be encountered in this life, this universe.
that is not based on proof. In religion, faith is a belief in a transcendent reality
, a religious teacher, a set of teachings or a Supreme Being
. Generally speaking, it is offered as a means by which the truth of the proposition, "things will turn out well in the end," can be enjoyed in the present and secured in the future. This faith appeals to transcendent reality, or that reality which is beyond the range of normal physical experience (e.g. the future).
Transcendent reality, in this view, constitutes a realm which is off limits to material measurement and scientific inquiry such as falsifiability
. Philosophical reflection on the nature of theistic and religious faith has produced different accounts or models of its nature. The concept of faith is a broad one: at its most general ‘faith’ means much the same as ‘trust’. Informal usage of the word faith can be quite broad, and the word is often used as a mere substitute for "hope", trust or belief. The English word is thought to date from 1200–50, from the Latin
"Armani", also from fidem or fidēs, meaning trust, derived from the verb
fīdere, to trust.
Some critics of faith have argued that faith is opposed to reason
. In contrast, some advocates of faith argue that the proper domain of faith concerns questions which cannot be settled by evidence. This is exemplified by attitudes about the future, which (by definition) has not yet occurred. Logical reasoning may proceed from any set of assumptions, positive or negative. In this view, faith is simply a positive assumption.
Epistemological validity of faithThere exists a wide spectrum of opinion with respect to the 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 physical evidence cannot lead to truth. Some 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.
believed that the varieties of religious experiences should be sought by psychologists, because they represent the closest thing to a microscope of the mind—that is, they show us in drastically enlarged form the normal processes of things. For a useful interpretation of human reality, to share faith experience he said that we must each make certain "over-beliefs
" in things which, while they cannot be proven on the basis of experience, help us to live fuller and better lives.
Fideism and PistisismFideism 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 reason. 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-19th century by way of Catholic
thought, in a movement called Traditionalism. The Roman Catholic Magisterium
has, however, repeatedly condemned fideism
Bahá'í FaithIn 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.
By faith is meant, first, conscious knowledge, and second, the practice of good deeds.
BuddhismFaith (Pali: Saddhā, Sanskrit: Śraddhā) is an important constituent element of the teachings of Gautama Buddha
— in both the Theravada
and the Mahayana
traditions. The teachings of Buddha were originally recorded in the language Pali
and the word saddhā is generally translated as "faith". In the teachings, saddhā is often described as:
- a conviction that something is
- a determination to accomplish one's goals
- a sense of joy deriving from the other two
While faith in Buddhism
does not imply "blind faith", Buddhist faith nevertheless requires a degree of faith and belief, primarily in the spiritual attainment of Gautama 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 teachings), and in his Sangha
(community of spiritually developed followers). Faith in Buddhism can be summarised as faith in the Three Jewels
: the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. It is intended to lead to the goal of enlightenment, or bodhi
, and Nirvana
. Volitionally, faith implies a resolute and courageous act of will. It combines the steadfast resolution that one will do a thing with the self-confidence that one can do it.
As a counter to any form of "blind faith", the Buddha's teachings included those included in the Kalama Sutra, exhorting his disciples to investigate any teaching and to live by what is learnt and accepted, rather than believing in something simply because it is taught.
ChristianityFaith in Christianity is based in and on the work and teachings of Jesus Christ. In this way Christianity declares not to be distinguished by its faith, but by the object of its faith. Faith is an act of trust or reliance. Rather than being passive, faith leads to an active life aligned with the ideals and the example of the one being trusted. It sees the mystery of God
and his grace
and seeks to know and become obedient to God. To a Christian; faith is not static but causes one to learn more of God and grow; it has its origin in God.
In Christianity 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. Before the Christian has faith, they must understand in whom and in what they have faith. Without understanding, there cannot be true faith and that understanding is built on the foundation of the community of believers, the scriptures and traditions and on the personal experiences of the believer
. In English translations of the New Testament, the word faith generally corresponds to the Greek noun πίστις (pistis) or the Greek verb πιστεύω (pisteuo), meaning "to trust, to have confidence, faithfulness, to be reliable, to assure".
In the Bible (Hebrews 11) says that faith is "the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen."
Ethical CultureEthical Culture
is a humanist
religion that centers on living an ethical
life. With its emphasis on human worth and dignity, it asks that all actions elicit the best in others in order to bring out the best in the self. The faith is in the interrelatedness of all people and in an improvable future in this world.
: shraddhA) is translated as faith in Sanskrit
. All schools of Hindu philosophy
posit that consciousness (ātman
) is distinct and independent from mind and matter (prakṛti). Therefore, Hindu faith is based on the premise that logic
are not conclusive methods of epistemic knowing. Spiritual practice (sadhana
) is performed with the faith that knowledge beyond the mind
and sense perception
will be revealed to the practitioner.
The schools of Hindu philosophy differ in their recommended methods to cultivate faith, including selfless action (karma-yoga
), renunciation (jnana-yoga
) and devotion (bhakti-yoga
In chapter 17 of the Bhagavad Gita
describes how faith, influenced by the three modes (guṇa
s) lead to different approaches in worship, diet, sacrifice, austerity and charity.
Faith for good reason arises out of the mystery that underlies the very structure and nature of reality, a mystery that in its entirety will never be entirely demystified despite what those who have placed reason on their altar might like us to believe. The mystery of life that gives rise to faith as a supra-rational means of unlocking life's mystery—one that reason does not hold the key to—suggests that faith is fundamentally rational in that it is a logical response to the mysterious.
, faith (iman) is complete submission to the will of God
, which includes belief, profession and the body's performance of deeds, consistent with the commission as vicegerent on Earth, all according to God's will.
Iman has two aspects:
- Recognizing and affirming that there is one CreatorCreator deityA creator deity is a deity responsible for the creation of the world . In monotheism, the single God is often also the creator deity, while polytheistic traditions may or may not have creator deities...
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.
- Willingness and commitment to submitting that God exists, and to His prescriptions for living in accordance with vicegerency. The Qur'anQur'anThe Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...
is the dictation of God's prescriptions through Prophet Muhammad and is believed to have updated and completed the previous revelations that God sent through earlier prophets.
In the Qur'an, God (Allah
in Arabic) states (2:62): "Surely, those who believe, those who are Muslim
, the Christian
s, and the Sabians
; 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."
JudaismFaith itself is not a religious concept in Judaism
. Although Judaism does recognize the positive value of Emunah (generally translated as faith, trust in God) and the negative status of the Apikorus (heretic)
, faith is not as stressed or as central as it is in other religions, especially as it is in the faith possessed Christendom
. It could be a necessary means for being a practicing religious Jew, but the emphasis is placed on practice rather than on faith itself. Very rarely does it relate to any teaching that must be believed. Classical Judaism does not require one to explicitly identify God (a key tenet of faith in Christianity
), but rather to honour the idea of God.
In the Jewish scriptures trust in God - Emunah - refers to how God acts toward his people and how they are to respond to him; it is rooted in the everlasting covenant established in the Torah
, notably Deuteronomy 7:9 (The Torah
- A Modern Comentary; Union of American Hebrew Congregations, NY 1981 by W. G. Plaut)
"Know, therefore, that only the LORD your God is God, the steadfast God who keeps His gracious covenant to the thousandth generation of those who love Him and keep His commandments"
The specific tenets that compose required belief and their application to the times have been disputed throughout Jewish history. Today many, but not all, Orthodox Jews have accepted Maimonides
' Thirteen Principles of Belief. 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).)
A traditional example of Emunah 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).
"The TalmudTalmudThe Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....
describes how a thief also believes in G‑d: On the brink of his forced entry, as he is about to risk his life—and the life of his victim—he cries out with all sincerity, 'G‑d help me!' The thief has faith that there is a G‑d who hears his cries, yet it escapes him that this G‑d may be able to provide for him without requiring that he abrogate G‑d’s will by stealing from others. For emunah to affect him in this way he needs study and contemplation."
SikhSikhism, the fifth-largest
in the world, was founded in 15th-century Punjab
on the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev
and ten successive Sikh gurus
, the last one being the sacred text Guru Granth Sahib
. The core philosophy
of the Sikh religion is described in the beginning hymn
of the Guru Granth Sahib,
, the founder of the faith, summed up the basis of Sikh lifestyle in three requirements: Nām Japō
(meditate on the holy name (Waheguru
), Kirat karō
(work diligently and honestly) and Vaṇḍ chakkō (share one's fruits).
Meher BabaMeher Baba
described three types of faith, emphasizing the importance of faith in a spiritual master:
"One of the most important qualifications for the aspirant is faith. There are three kinds of faith: (i) faith in oneself, (ii) faith in the Master and (iii) faith in life. Faith is so indispensable to life that unless it is present in some degree, life itself would be impossible. It is because of faith that cooperative and social life becomes possible. It is faith in each other that facilitates a free give and take of love, a free sharing of work and its results. When life is burdened with unjustified fear of one another it becomes cramped and restricted....Faith in the Master becomes all-important because it nourishes and sustains faith in oneself and faith in life in the very teeth of set-backs and failures, handicaps and difficulties, limitations and failings. Life, as man knows it in himself, or in most of his fellow-men, may be narrow, twisted and perverse, but life as he sees it in the Master is unlimited, pure and untainted. In the Master, man sees his own ideal realised; the Master is what his own deeper self would rather be. He sees in the Master the reflection of the best in himself which is yet to be, but which he will surely one day attain. Faith in the Master therefore becomes the chief motive-power for realising the divinity which is latent in man."
Support of FaithReligious epistemologists
have formulated and defended reasons for the rationality of accepting belief in God without the support of an argument. Some religious epistemologists hold that belief in God is more analogous to belief in a person than belief in a scientific hypothesis. Human relations demand trust and commitment. If belief in God is more like belief in other persons, then the trust that is appropriate to persons will be appropriate to God. American psychologist
and philosopher William James
offers a similar argument in his lecture The Will to Believe. Foundationalism
is a view about the structure of justification or knowledge
. Foundationalism holds that all knowledge and justified belief
are ultimately based upon what are called properly basic beliefs
. This position is intended to resolve the infinite regress problem in epistemology. According to foundationalism, a belief is epistemically justified only if it is justified by properly basic beliefs. One of the significant developments in foundationalism is the rise of reformed epistemology
Reformed epistemology is a view about the epistemology of religious belief, which holds that belief in God can be properly basic. Analytic
philosophers Alvin Plantinga
and Nicholas Wolterstorff
develop this view. Plantinga holds that an individual may rationally believe in God even though the individual does not possess sufficient evidence to convince an agnostic. One difference between reformed epistemology and fideism
is that the former requires defence against known objections, whereas the latter might dismiss such objections as irrelevant. Plantinga has developed reformed epistemology in Warranted Christian Belief as a form of externalism
that holds that the justification
conferring factors for a belief may include external factors. Some theistic
philosophers have defended theism by granting evidentialism
but supporting theism through deductive arguments whose premises are considered justifiable. Some of these arguments are probabilistic, either in the sense of having weight but being inconclusive, or in the sense of having a mathematical probability
assigned to them. Notable in this regard are the cumulative arguments presented by British
philosopher Basil Mitchell
philosopher Richard Swinburne
, whose arguments are based on Bayesian probability
. In a notable exposition of his arguments, Swinburne appeals to an inference for the best explanation.
CriticismSome critics argue that religious faith is irrational and see faith as ignorance of reality: a strong belief in something with no evidence and sometimes a strong belief in something even with evidence against it. Bertrand Russell
noted, "Where there is evidence, no one speaks of 'faith'. We do not speak of faith that two and two are four or that the earth is round. We only speak of faith when we wish to substitute emotion for evidence."
In the rationalist view, belief should be restricted to direct observation in the past and present.
Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins
criticizes all faith by generalizing from specific faith in propositions that conflict directly with scientific evidence. He describes faith as mere belief without evidence; a process of active non-thinking. He states that it is a practice which only degrades our understanding of the natural world by allowing anyone to make a claim about nature that is based solely on 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.
- ApostasyApostasyApostasy , 'a defection or revolt', from ἀπό, apo, 'away, apart', στάσις, stasis, 'stand, 'standing') is the formal disaffiliation from or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. One who commits apostasy is known as an apostate. These terms have a pejorative implication in everyday...
- Crisis of faithCrisis of faithCrisis of faith is a term commonly applied to periods of intense doubt and internal conflict about one's preconceived beliefs or life decisions...
- DelusionDelusionA delusion is a false belief held with absolute conviction despite superior evidence. Unlike hallucinations, delusions are always pathological...
- DogmaDogmaDogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization. It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioners or believers...
- Faith and rationalityFaith and rationalityFaith and rationality are two modes of belief that exist in varying degrees of conflict or compatibility. Rationality is belief based on reason or evidence. Faith is belief in inspiration, revelation, or authority...
- Faith, Hope, and Charity
- Fowler's stages of faith development
- IncorrigibilityIncorrigibilityIn philosophy, incorrigibility is a property of a philosophical proposition, which implies that it is necessarily true simply by virtue of being believed...
- Lectures on FaithLectures on FaithThe document "Lectures on Faith" is a set of seven lectures on the doctrine and theology of the Latter Day Saint movement, first published as the doctrine portion of the 1835 edition of the canonical Doctrine and Covenants, but later removed from that work by both major branches of the faith. It...
- Life stanceLife stanceA person's life stance, or lifestance, is their relation with what they accept as being of ultimate importance, the presuppositions and theory of this, and the commitments and practice of working it out in living....
- Major world religions
- Pascal's WagerPascal's WagerPascal's Wager, also known as Pascal's Gambit, is a suggestion posed by the French philosopher, mathematician, and physicist Blaise Pascal that even if the existence of God could not be determined through reason, a rational person should wager as though God exists, because one living life...
- RationalismRationalismIn epistemology and in its modern sense, rationalism is "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification" . In more technical terms, it is a method or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive"...
- ReligionReligionReligion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...
- Religious beliefReligious beliefReligious belief is a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny. Such a state may relate to the existence, characteristics and worship of a deity or deities, divine intervention in the universe and human life, or values and practices centered on the teachings of a...
- Religious conversionReligious conversionReligious conversion is the adoption of a new religion that differs from the convert's previous religion. Changing from one denomination to another within the same religion is usually described as reaffiliation rather than conversion.People convert to a different religion for various reasons,...
- Simple churchSimple churchThe Simple Church movement is an Evangelical Christian movement that seeks to redefine the nature and practice of church.The movement claims to be "a Christ-centered community established primarily on relationship both to God and to the other members of the group." In doing so it discards many...
- Spectrum of Theistic ProbabilitySpectrum of theistic probabilityPopularized by Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion, the spectrum of theistic probability is a way of categorizing one's belief regarding the probability of the existence of a deity.- Atheism, theism, and agnosticism :...
- St. Faith
- There are no atheists in foxholes
- TruthinessTruthinessTruthiness is a "truth" that a person claims to know intuitively "from the gut" or that it "feels right" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts....
- World viewWorld viewA comprehensive world view is the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing the entirety of the individual or society's knowledge and point-of-view, including natural philosophy; fundamental, existential, and normative postulates; or themes, values, emotions, and...
- Sam HarrisSam Harris (author)Sam Harris is an American author, and neuroscientist, as well as the co-founder and current CEO of Project Reason. He received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Stanford University, before receiving a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA...
, The End of FaithThe End of FaithThe End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason is a book written by Sam Harris, concerning organized religion, the clash between religious faith and rational thought, and the problems of tolerance towards religious fundamentalism....
: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, W. W. Norton (2004), hardcover, 336 pages, ISBN 0-393-03515-8
- Hein, David. "Faith and Doubt in Rose Macaulay's The Towers of Trebizond." Anglican Theological Review Winter2006, Vol. 88 Issue 1, p47-68.
- 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, Kant's System of Perspectives (Lanham: University Press of America, 1993).
- D. Mark Parks, "Faith/Faithfulness" Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Eds. Chad Brand, Charles Draper, Archie England. Nashville: Holman Publishers, 2003.
- Marbaniang, Domenic, Explorations of Faith. 2009.
- Poetry & Spirituality
- On Faith and Reason by Swami TripurariSwami TripurariTripurari Swami, also known as Swami B.V. Tripurari and Swami Tripurari, is "an author, poet and guru. As a prominent master in the Gaudiya Vaishnava lineage, he is one of the leading practitioners of Bhakti-yoga in the West."-Biography:...
- Baba, MeherMeher BabaMeher Baba , , born Merwan Sheriar Irani, was an Indian mystic and spiritual master who declared publicly in 1954 that he was the Avatar of the age....
: Discourses, San Francisco: Sufism Reoriented, 1967.
Classic reflections on the nature of faith
- Martin BuberMartin BuberMartin Buber was an Austrian-born Jewish philosopher best known for his philosophy of dialogue, a form of religious existentialism centered on the distinction between the I-Thou relationship and the I-It relationship....
, I and Thou
- Paul TillichPaul TillichPaul Johannes Tillich was a German-American theologian and Christian existentialist philosopher. Tillich was one of the most influential Protestant theologians of the 20th century...
, The Dynamics of Faith
The Reformation view of faith
- John CalvinJohn CalvinJohn Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...
, The Institutes of the Christian Religion
- R.C. Sproul, Faith Alone
- Patheos - unaffiliated educational resource striving to be the premier online destination to engage in global dialogue about religion and spirituality
- Epistemics of Divine Reality, Studies in Rationalism, Empiricism, and Fideism
- Martin Luther's Definition of Faith
- John Calvin on Justification by Faith from The Institutes of the Christian Religion
- The Skeptic's Dictionary entry on Faith
- Rational Christian Faith Versus Reason
- Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Faith
- Faith in Judaism chabad.org
- Faith from the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia
- Pew Research Center Reports on Religion
- Faith News & Religion | Times Online Articles and comment about faith issues and religion from The Times
- WFN | World Faith News Worldwide