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Faith, derived from
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...
''fides'' and
Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French: ) was the language spoken in most of the northern half of France from approximately the 8th to the 14th centuries. Rather than a unified language, Old French was a linkage of Romance dialects, mutually intel ...
''feid'', is confidence or trust in a
person A person (plural, : people) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part of a culturally established form of social relations such as kinship, ownership of pr ...
, thing, or In the context of
religion Religion is usually defined as a social- cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or religious organization, organizations, that generally relates hu ...
, one can define faith as "
belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer to attitudes about the world which can be either truth value, true o ...
in
God In monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith. Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxford Companion to Philosophy'', Oxford University Press, 1995. God is typicall ...
or in the doctrines or teachings of religion". Religious people often think of faith as confidence based on a perceived degree of warrant, or evidence while others who are more skeptical of religion tend to think of faith as simply belief without
evidence Evidence for a proposition is what supports this proposition. It is usually understood as an indication that the supported proposition is true. What role evidence plays and how it is conceived varies from field to field. In epistemology, evid ...
.Russell, Bertrand
"Will Religious Faith Cure Our Troubles?"
''Human Society in Ethics and Politics''. Ch 7. Pt 2. Retrieved 16 August 2009.


Etymology

The English word ''faith'' is thought to date from 1200 to 1250, from the Middle English ''feith'', via Anglo-French ''fed'', Old French ''feid'', ''feit'' from Latin ''fidem'', accusative of ''fidēs'' (trust), akin to ''fīdere'' (to trust).


Stages of faith development

James W. Fowler (1940–2015) proposes a series of stages of faith-development (or spiritual development) across the human lifespan. His stages relate closely to the work of Piaget, Erikson, and Kohlberg regarding aspects of psychological development in children and adults. Fowler defines faith as an activity of trusting, committing, and relating to the world based on a set of assumptions of how one is related to others and the world.


Stages of faith

# Intuitive-Projective: a stage of confusion and of high impressionability through stories and
ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed according to a set sequence. Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including a religious community. Rituals are characterized, b ...
s (pre-school period). # Mythic-Literal: a stage where provided information is accepted in order to conform with
social norm Social norms are shared standards of acceptance, acceptable behavior by groups. Social norms can both be informal understandings that govern the behavior of members of a society, as well as be codified into wikt:rule, rules and laws. Social normat ...
s (school-going period). # Synthetic-Conventional: in this stage the faith acquired is concreted in the
belief system A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer to attitudes about the world which can be either truth value, true o ...
with the forgoing of personification and replacement with
authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is a social science that focuses on society, human social behavior, patterns of Interpersonal ties, social relationships, social interaction, and aspects of culture associated with everyday life. It use ...
in individuals or groups that represent one's beliefs (early late adolescence). # Individuative-Reflective: in this stage the individual critically analyzes adopted and accepted faith with existing systems of faith. Disillusion or strengthening of faith happens in this stage. Based on needs, experiences and paradoxes (early adulthood). # Conjunctive faith: in this stage people realize the limits of
logic Logic is the study of correct reasoning. It includes both Mathematical logic, formal and informal logic. Formal logic is the science of Validity (logic), deductively valid inferences or of logical truths. It is a formal science investigating h ...
and, facing the paradoxes or transcendence of
life Life is a quality that distinguishes matter that has biological processes, such as Cell signaling, signaling and self-sustaining processes, from that which does not, and is defined by the capacity for Cell growth, growth, reaction to Stimu ...
, accept the "mystery of life" and often return to the sacred stories and symbols of the pre-acquired or re-adopted faith system. This stage is called negotiated settling in life (mid-life). # Universalizing faith: this is the "enlightenment" stage where the individual comes out of all the existing systems of faith and lives life with universal principles of compassion and love and in service to others for uplift, without worries and
doubt Doubt is a mental state in which the mind remains suspended between two or more contradictory propositions, unable to be certain of any of them. Doubt on an emotional level is indecision between belief and wikt:disbelief, disbelief. It may invo ...
(middle-late adulthood (45–65 years old and plus). No hard-and-fast rule requires individuals pursuing faith to go through all six stages. There is a high probability for individuals to be content and fixed in a particular stage for a lifetime; stages from 2–5 are such stages. Stage 6 is the summit of faith development. This state is often considered as "not fully" attainable.


Religious views


Baháʼí Faith

In the Baháʼí Faith, faith is meant, first, conscious knowledge, and second, the practice of good deeds, 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.


Buddhism

Faith in Buddhism ('' pi, saddhā'', '' sa, śraddhā'') refers to a serene commitment in the practice of the Buddha's teaching and trust in enlightened or highly developed beings, such as Buddhas or ''
bodhisattvas In Buddhism, a bodhisattva ( ; sa, 𑀩𑁄𑀥𑀺𑀲𑀢𑁆𑀢𑁆𑀯 (Brahmī), translit=bodhisattva, label=Sanskrit) or bodhisatva is a person who is on the path towards Enlightenment in Buddhism, bodhi ('awakening') or Buddhahood. In ...
'' (those aiming to become a Buddha). Buddhists usually recognize multiple objects of faith, but many are especially devoted to one particular object of faith, such as one particular Buddha. In early Buddhism, faith was focused on the
Triple Gem In Buddhism Buddhism ( , ), also known as Buddha Dharma and Dharmavinaya (), is an Indian religions, Indian religion or Indian philosophy#Buddhist philosophy, philosophical tradition based on Pre-sectarian Buddhism, teachings attribute ...
, that is,
Gautama Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, most commonly referred to as the Buddha, was a śramaṇa, wandering ascetic and religious teacher who lived in South Asia during the 6th or 5th century BCE and founded Buddhism. According to Buddhist tradition, he was ...
, his teaching (the
Dhamma Dharma (; sa, wikt:धर्म#Sanskrit, धर्म, dharma, ; pi, dhamma, italic=yes) is a key concept with multiple meanings in Indian religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and others. Although there is Untranslatabili ...
), and the community of spiritually developed followers, or the monastic community seeking enlightenment (the
Sangha Sangha is a Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its prede ...
). Although offerings to the monastic community were valued highest, early Buddhism did not morally condemn peaceful offerings to
deities A deity or god is a supernatural being who is considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as a God (male deity), god or goddess, or anything revered as divine. C. Scott Littleton defines a deity as " ...
. A faithful devotee was called ''upāsaka'' or ''upāsika'', for which no formal declaration was required. In early Buddhism, personal verification was valued highest in attaining the truth, and sacred scriptures, reason or faith in a teacher were considered less valuable sources of authority. As important as faith was, it was a mere initial step to the path to
wisdom Wisdom, sapience, or sagacity is the ability to contemplate and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. Wisdom is associated with attributes such as unbiased judgment, compassion, Experiential learning, experie ...
and enlightenment, and was obsolete or redefined at the final stage of that path. While faith in Buddhism does not imply "blind faith", Buddhist practice nevertheless requires a degree of trust, primarily in the spiritual attainment of
Gautama Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, most commonly referred to as the Buddha, was a śramaṇa, wandering ascetic and religious teacher who lived in South Asia during the 6th or 5th century BCE and founded Buddhism. According to Buddhist tradition, he was ...
. Faith in
Buddhism Buddhism ( , ), also known as Buddha Dharma and Dharmavinaya (), is an Indian religions, Indian religion or Indian philosophy#Buddhist philosophy, philosophical tradition based on Pre-sectarian Buddhism, teachings attributed to the Buddha. ...
centers on the understanding that the Buddha is an Awakened being, on his superior role as teacher, in the truth of his
Dharma Dharma (; sa, धर्म, dharma, ; pi, dhamma, italic=yes) is a key concept with multiple meanings in Indian religions, such as Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religions, Indian religion or ''dharma'', a religious and univers ...
(spiritual teachings), and in his
Sangha Sangha is a Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its prede ...
(community of spiritually developed followers). Faith in Buddhism can be summarized as faith in the Three Jewels: the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. It is intended to lead to the goal of enlightenment, or
bodhi The English term enlightenment is the Western translation of various Buddhist Buddhism ( , ), also known as Buddha Dharma and Dharmavinaya (), is an Indian religion or philosophical tradition based on teachings attributed to the ...
, and
Nirvana ( , , ; sa, निर्वाण} ''nirvāṇa'' ; Pali: ''nibbāna''; Prakrit: ''ṇivvāṇa''; literally, "blown out", as in an oil lampRichard Gombrich, ''Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benāres to Modern Colombo.' ...
. 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. In the later stratum of Buddhist history, especially Mahāyāna Buddhism, faith was given a much more important role. The concept of the Buddha Nature was developed, as devotion to Buddhas and ''bodhisattvas'' residing in
Pure Land A pure land is the celestial realm of a buddhahood, buddha or bodhisattva in Mahayana, Mahayana Buddhism. The term "pure land" is particular to East Asian Buddhism () and related traditions; in Sanskrit the equivalent concept is called a buddha- ...
s became commonplace. With the arising of the cult of the Lotus Sūtra, faith gained a central role in Buddhist practice, which was further amplified with the development of devotion to the Amitabha Buddha in
Pure Land Buddhism Pure Land Buddhism (; ja, 浄土仏教, translit=Jōdo bukkyō; , also referred to as Amidism in English,) is a broad branch of Mahayana, Mahayana Buddhism focused on achieving rebirth in a Buddha's Buddha-field or Pure land, Pure Land. It is ...
. In the Japanese form of Pure Land Buddhism, under the teachers Hōnen and Shinran, only entrusting faith toward the Amitabha Buddha was believed to be a fruitful form of practice, as the practice of celibacy, morality and other Buddhist disciplines were dismissed as no longer effective in this day and age, or contradicting the virtue of faith. Faith was defined as a state similar to enlightenment, with a sense of self-negation and humility. Thus, the role of faith increased throughout Buddhist history. However, from the nineteenth century onward,
Buddhist modernism Buddhist modernism (also referred to as modern Buddhism, modernist Buddhism, and Neo-Buddhism are new movements based on modern era reinterpretations of Buddhism. David McMahan states that modernism in Buddhism is similar to those found in other ...
in countries like Sri Lanka and Japan, and also in the West, has downplayed and criticized the role of faith in Buddhism. Faith in Buddhism still has a role in modern Asia or the West but is understood and defined differently from traditional interpretations. Within the Dalit Buddhist Movement communities, taking refuge is defined not only as a religious, but also a political choice.


Christianity

The word translated as "faith" in English-language editions of the New Testament, the Greek word ''πίστις'' (''pístis''), can also be translated as "belief", "faithfulness", or "trust". Christianity encompasses various views regarding the nature of faith. Some see faith as being persuaded or convinced that something is true. In this view, a person believes something when they are presented with adequate evidence that it is true. The 13th-century theologian Saint
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas, Dominican Order, OP (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar and Catholic priest, priest who was an influential List of Catholic philo ...
did not hold that faith is mere opinion: on the contrary, he held that it represents a mean (understood in the Aristotelian sense) between excessive reliance on science (i.e. demonstration) and excessive reliance on opinion. Numerous commentators discuss the results of faith. Some believe that true faith results in good works, while others believe that while faith in
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 or 33), also referred to as Jesus Christ or Jesus of Nazareth (among other Names and titles of Jesus in the New Testament, names and titles), was ...
brings eternal life , it does not necessarily result in good works. Regardless of the approach taken to faith, all Christians agree that the Christian faith (in the sense of Christian practice) is aligned with the ideals and the example of the life of
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 or 33), also referred to as Jesus Christ or Jesus of Nazareth (among other Names and titles of Jesus in the New Testament, names and titles), was ...
. The Christian contemplates the mystery of
God In monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith. Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxford Companion to Philosophy'', Oxford University Press, 1995. God is typicall ...
and his grace and seeks to know and become obedient to God. To a Christian, the faith is not static , but causes one to learn more of God and to grow in faith; Christian faith has its origin in God. The definition of faith given by the author of the
Epistle to the Hebrews The Epistle to the Hebrews ( grc, Πρὸς Ἑβραίους, Pros Hebraious, to the Hebrews) is one of the books of the New Testament. The text does not mention the name of its author, but was traditionally attributed to Paul the Apostle. Most ...
at Hebrews 11:1 carries particular weight with Christians who respect the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek , , 'the books') is a collection of religious texts or scriptures that are held to be sacredness, sacred in Christianity, Judaism, Samaritanism, and many other religions. The Bible is an anthologya compilation of ...
. There the author writes: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Heb.11:1— King James Version "Now faith is the assurance that what we hope for will come about and the certainty that what we cannot see exists." — Heb.11:1International Standard Version In Christianity, faith causes change as it seeks a greater understanding of God. Faith is not only fideism or simple obedience to a set of rules or statements. Before Christians have faith, but they must also 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 to the Greek verb πιστεύω (''pisteuo''), meaning "to trust, to have confidence, faithfulness, to be reliable, to assure".


Strength of faith

Christians may recognize different degrees of faith when they encourage each other to and themselves strive to develop, grow, and/or deepen their faith. This may imply that one can measure faith. Willingness to undergo
martyrdom A martyr (, ''mártys'', "witness", or , ''marturia'', Word stem, stem , ''martyr-'') is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, or refusing to renounce or advocate, a religious belief or other cause as demanded by a ...
indicates a proxy for depth of faith, but does not provide an everyday measurement for the average contemporary Christian. Within the
Calvinist Calvinism (also called the Reformed Tradition, Reformed Protestantism, Reformed Christianity, or simply Reformed) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice set down by John C ...
tradition the degree of prosperity may serve as an analog of level of faith. Other Christian strands may rely on personal self-evaluation to measure the intensity of an individual's faith, with associated difficulties in calibrating to any scale. Solemn affirmations of a
creed A creed, also known as a confession of faith, a symbol, or a statement of faith, is a statement of the shared belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition is truth, true. In epist ...
(a statement of faith) provide broad measurements of details. Various tribunals of the
Inquisition The Inquisition was a group of institutions within the Catholic Church whose aim was to combat Christian heresy, heresy, conducting trials of suspected heretics. Studies of the records have found that the overwhelming majority of sentences consi ...
, however, concerned themselves with precisely evaluating the orthodoxy of the faith of those it examined – in order to acquit or to punish in varying degrees. The classification of different degrees of faith allows that faith and its expression may wax and wane in fervor - during the lifetime of a faithful individual and/or over the various historical centuries of a society with an embedded religious system. Thus, one can speak of an "Age of Faith" or of the "decay" of a society's religiosity into corruption, secularism, or
atheism Atheism, in the broadest sense, is an absence of belief in the existence of Deity, deities. Less broadly, atheism is a rejection of the belief that any deities exist. In an even narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that ther ...
, - interpretable as the ultimate loss of faith.


Christian apologetic views

In contrast to
Richard Dawkins Richard Dawkins (born 26 March 1941) is a British evolutionary biology, evolutionary biologist and author. He is an Oxford fellow, emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford and was Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, Prof ...
' view of faith as "blind trust, in the absence of evidence, even in the teeth of evidence",
Alister McGrath Alister Edgar McGrath (; born 1953) is a Northern Irish theologian, Anglican priest, intellectual historian, scientist, Christian apologetics, Christian apologist, and public intellectual. He currently holds the Andreas Idreos Professorship in ...
quotes the Oxford Anglican theologian W. H. Griffith Thomas (1861–1924), who states that faith is "not blind, but intelligent" and that it "commences with the conviction of the mind based on adequate evidence...", which McGrath sees as "a good and reliable definition, synthesizing the core elements of the characteristic Christian understanding of faith". American biblical scholar Archibald Thomas Robertson (1863-1934) stated that the Greek word ''pistis'' used for "faith" in the New Testament (over two hundred forty times), and rendered "assurance" in Acts 17:31 (KJV), is "an old verb meaning "to furnish", used regularly by
Demosthenes Demosthenes (; el, Δημοσθένης, translit=Dēmosthénēs; ; 384 – 12 October 322 BC) was a Greeks, Greek statesman and orator in History of Athens, ancient Athens. His Public speaking, orations constitute a significant expression ...
for bringing forward evidence." Tom Price (Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics) affirms that when the New Testament talks about faith positively it only uses words derived from the Greek root istiswhich means "to be persuaded". British Christian apologist John Lennox argues that "faith conceived as belief that lacks warrant is very different from faith conceived as belief that has warrant". He states that "the use of the adjective 'blind' to describe 'faith' indicates that faith is not necessarily, or always, or indeed normally, blind". "The validity, or warrant, of faith or belief depends on the strength of the evidence on which the belief is based." "We all know how to distinguish between blind faith and evidence-based faith. We are well aware that faith is only justified if there is evidence to back it up." "Evidence-based faith is the normal concept on which we base our everyday lives." Peter S Williams holds that "the classic Christian tradition has always valued rationality and does not hold that faith involves the complete abandonment of reason while believing in the teeth of evidence". Quoting Moreland, faith is defined as "a trust in and commitment to what we have reason to believe is true". Regarding
doubting Thomas A doubting Thomas is a skeptic who refuses to believe without direct personal experience — a reference to the Gospel of John's depiction of the Thomas the Apostle, Apostle Thomas, who, in John's account, refused to believe the resurrected Jesu ...
in John 20:24–31, Williams points out that "Thomas wasn't asked to believe without evidence". He was asked to believe on the basis of the other disciples' testimony. Thomas initially lacked the first-hand experience of the evidence that had convinced them... Moreover, the reason John gives for recounting these events is that what he saw is evidence... Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples...But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that believing ye might have life in his name. John 20:30,31. Concerning
doubting Thomas A doubting Thomas is a skeptic who refuses to believe without direct personal experience — a reference to the Gospel of John's depiction of the Thomas the Apostle, Apostle Thomas, who, in John's account, refused to believe the resurrected Jesu ...
, Michael R. Allen wrote: "Thomas's definition of faith implies adherence to conceptual propositions for the sake of personal knowledge, knowledge of and about a person ''qua'' person". Kenneth Boa and Robert M. Bowman Jr. describe a classic understanding of faith that is referred to as '' evidentialism'', and which is part of a larger
epistemological Epistemology (; ), or the theory of knowledge, is the branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge. Epistemology is considered a major subfield of philosophy, along with other major subfields such as ethics Ethics or moral philosophy ...
tradition called ''classical
foundationalism Foundationalism concerns epistemology, philosophical theories of knowledge resting upon non-inferential knowledge, justified belief, or some secure foundation of certainty such as a conclusion inferred from a basis of sound premises.Simon Blackbu ...
'', which is accompanied by '' deontologism'', which holds that humans have an obligation to regulate their beliefs in accordance with evidentialist structures. They show how this can go too far, and Alvin Plantinga deals with it. While Plantinga upholds that faith may be the result of evidence testifying to the reliability of the source (of the truth claims), yet he sees having faith as being the result of hearing the truth of the gospel with the internal persuasion by the
Holy Spirit In Judaism Judaism ( he, ''Yahăḏūṯ'') is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. I ...
moving and enabling him to believe. "Christian belief is produced in the believer by the internal instigation of the Holy Spirit, endorsing the teachings of Scripture, which is itself divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit. The result of the work of the Holy Spirit is faith."


Catholicism

The four-part ''
Catechism of the Catholic Church The ''Catechism of the Catholic Church'' ( la, Catechismus Catholicae Ecclesiae; commonly called the ''Catechism'' or the ''CCC'') is a catechism A catechism (; from grc, κατηχέω, "to teach orally") is a summary or exposition of doct ...
'' (CCC) gives Part One to "The Profession of Faith". This section describes the content of faith. It elaborates and expands particularly upon the
Apostles' Creed The Apostles' Creed (Ecclesiastical Latin, Latin: ''Symbolum Apostolorum'' or ''Symbolum Apostolicum''), sometimes titled the Apostolic Creed or the Symbol of the Apostles, is a Christianity, Christian creed or "symbol of faith". The creed most ...
. CCC 144 initiates a section on the "Obedience of Faith". In the
theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the Divinity, divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an Discipline (academia), academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the ...
of
Pope John Paul II Pope John Paul II ( la, Ioannes Paulus II; it, Giovanni Paolo II; pl, Jan Paweł II; born Karol Józef Wojtyła ; 18 May 19202 April 2005) was the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 until his ...
, faith is understood in personal terms as a trusting commitment of person to person and thus involves Christian commitment to the divine person of
Jesus Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 or 33), also referred to as Jesus Christ or Jesus of Nazareth (among other Names and titles of Jesus in the New Testament, names and titles), was ...
.


Methodism

In
Methodism Methodism, also called the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related Christian denomination, denominations of Protestantism, Protestant Christianity whose origins, doctrine and practice derive from the life and teachings of John W ...
, faith plays an important role in justification, which occurs during the New Birth. The Emmanuel Association, a Methodist denomination in the conservative holiness movement, teaches:


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Articles of Faith of
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a Nontrinitarianism, nontrinitarian Christianity, Christian church that considers itself to be the Restorationism, restoration of the ...
(LDS Church) states that "faith in the Lord Jesus Christ" is the first principle of the gospel. Some alternative, yet impactful, ideas regarding the nature of faith were presented by church founder
Joseph Smith Joseph Smith Jr. (December 23, 1805June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement. When he was 24, Smith published the Book of Mormon. By the time of his death, 14 years later, he ...
in a collection of sermons, which are now published as the '' Lectures on Faith''. # Lecture 1 explains what faith is; # Lecture 2 describes how mankind comes to know about God; # Lectures 3 and 4 make clear the necessary and unchanging attributes of God; # Lecture 5 deals with the nature of God the Father, his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost; # Lecture 6 proclaims that the willingness to sacrifice all earthly things is prerequisite to gaining faith unto salvation; # Lecture 7 treats the fruits of faith—perspective, power, and eventually perfection.


Hinduism

Bhakti ( sa, भक्ति) literally means "attachment, participation, fondness for, homage, faith, love, devotion, worship, purity".See Monier-Williams, ''Sanskrit Dictionary'', 1899. It was originally used in
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religions, Indian religion or ''dharma'', a religious and universal order or way of life by which followers abide. As a religion, it is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest, with over 1.2–1.35 billion ...
, referring to devotion and love for a personal god or a representational god by a devotee.Bhakti
''Encyclopædia Britannica'' (2009)
In ancient texts such as the '' Shvetashvatara Upanishad'', the term simply means participation, devotion and love for any endeavor, while in the ''
Bhagavad Gita The Bhagavad Gita (; sa, श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता, lit=The Song by God, translit=śrīmadbhagavadgītā;), often referred to as the Gita (), is a 700-Sanskrit prosody, verse Hindu texts, Hindu scripture that is part o ...
'', it connotes one of the possible paths of spirituality and towards
moksha ''Moksha'' (; sa, मोक्ष, '), also called ''vimoksha'', ''vimukti'' and ''mukti'', is a term in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism for various forms of emancipation, enlightenment, liberation, and release. In its soteriology, ...
, as in ''bhakti marga''.
Ahimsa Ahimsa (, IAST: ''ahiṃsā'', ) is the ancient Indian principle of nonviolence which applies to all living beings. It is a key virtue in most Indian religions: Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Hinduism.Bajpai, Shiva (2011). The History of In ...
, also referred to as nonviolence, is the fundamental tenet of Hinduism which advocates harmonious and peaceful co-existence and evolutionary growth in grace and wisdom for all humankind unconditionally. In Hinduism, most of the Vedic prayers begins with the chants of Om. Om is the Sanskrit symbol that amazingly resonates the peacefulness ensconced within one's higher self. Om is considered to have a profound effect on the body and mind of the one who chants and also creates a calmness, serenity, healing, strength of its own to prevail within and also in the surrounding environment.


Islam

In Islam, a believer's faith in the metaphysical aspects of Islam is called ''Iman'' ( ar, ), which is complete submission to the will of God, not unquestionable or blind belief. A man must build his faith on well-grounded convictions beyond any reasonable doubt and above uncertainty. According to the Quran, Iman must be accompanied by righteous deeds and the two together are necessary for entry into Jannah, Paradise. In the Hadith of Gabriel, ''Iman'' in addition to ''Islam'' and ''Ihsan'' form the three dimensions of the Islamic religion. Muhammad referred to the Iman (concept)#The Six Axioms of Faith, six axioms of faith in the Hadith of Gabriel: "Iman is that you believe in God and His Angels and His Books and His Messengers and the Hereafter and the good and evil fate [ordained by your God]." The first five are mentioned together in the Qur'an The Quran states that faith can grow with remembrance of God. The Qur'an also states that nothing in this world should be dearer to a true believer than faith.


Judaism

Judaism recognizes the positive value of ''Emunah'' (generally translated as faith, trust in God) and the negative status of the ''Epikoros, Apikorus'' (heretic), but faith is not as stressed or as central as it is in other religions, especially compared with Christianity and Islam. It could be a necessary means for being a practicing religious Jew, but the emphasis is placed on true knowledge, true Prophecy#Judaism, prophecy and practice rather than on faith itself. Very rarely does it relate to any teaching that must be believed. Judaism does not require one to explicitly identify God (a key tenet of Christian faith, which is called Avodah Zarah in Judaism, a minor form of idolatry, idol worship, a big sin and strictly forbidden to Jews). Rather, in Judaism, one is to honour a (personal) idea of God, supported by the many principles quoted in the Talmud to define Judaism, mostly by what it is not. Thus there is no established formulation of Jewish principles of faith which are mandatory for all (observant) Jews. 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 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. 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.
"The Talmud 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."


Sikhism

Faith itself is not a religious concept in Sikhism. However, the five Sikh symbols, known as Kakaars or Five Ks (in Punjabi known as pañj kakkē or pañj kakār), are sometimes referred to as the ''Five articles of Faith''. The articles include ''Kesh (Sikhism), kēs'' (uncut hair), ''Kanga (Sikhism), kaṅghā'' (small wooden comb), ''Kara (Sikhism), kaṛā'' (circular steel or iron bracelet), ''kirpan, kirpān'' (sword/dagger), and ''kaccha, kacchera'' (special undergarment). Baptised Sikhs are bound to wear those five articles of faith, at all times, to save them from bad company and keep them close to God.


Epistemological validity

There is a wide spectrum of opinion with respect to the epistemological validity of faith - that is, whether it is a reliable way to acquire true beliefs.


Fideism

Fideism is an epistemology, epistemological theory which maintains that faith is independent of reason, or that reason and faith are hostile to each other and faith is superior at arriving at particular truths (see natural theology). 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 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 (Catholicism), Traditionalism. The Roman Catholic Magisterium has, however, repeatedly condemned fideism.


Support

Religious epistemology, Religious 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 Theory of justification, justified belief are ultimately based upon what are called Basic belief, properly basic beliefs. This position is intended to resolve the Regress argument, 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 philosophy, 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 Theory of justification, justification conferring factors for a belief may include external factors. Some Theism, 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 probability, mathematical probability assigned to them. Notable in this regard are the cumulative arguments presented by United Kingdom, British philosopher Basil Mitchell (academic), Basil Mitchell and Analytic philosophy, analytic 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. Professor of Mathematics and philosopher of science at University of Oxford John Lennox has stated, "Faith is not a leap in the dark; it’s the exact opposite. It’s a commitment based on
evidence Evidence for a proposition is what supports this proposition. It is usually understood as an indication that the supported proposition is true. What role evidence plays and how it is conceived varies from field to field. In epistemology, evid ...
… It is irrational to reduce all faith to blind faith and then subject it to ridicule. That provides a very anti-intellectual and convenient way of avoiding intelligent discussion.” He criticises
Richard Dawkins Richard Dawkins (born 26 March 1941) is a British evolutionary biology, evolutionary biologist and author. He is an Oxford fellow, emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford and was Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, Prof ...
as a famous proponent of asserting that faith equates to holding a belief without evidence, thus that it is possible to hold belief without evidence, for failing to provide evidence for this assertion.


Criticism

Bertrand Russell wrote: Evolutionary biology, Evolutionary biologist
Richard Dawkins Richard Dawkins (born 26 March 1941) is a British evolutionary biology, evolutionary biologist and author. He is an Oxford fellow, emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford and was Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, Prof ...
criticizes all faith by generalizing from specific faith in propositions that conflict directly with scientific evidence. He describes faith as belief without evidence; a process of active non-thinking. He states that it is a practice that 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. Philosophy professor Peter Boghossian argues that reason and evidence are the only way to determine which "claims about the world are likely true". Different religious traditions make different religious claims, and Boghossian asserts that faith alone cannot resolve conflicts between these without evidence. He gives as an example of the belief held by that Muslims that Muhammad (who died in the year 632) was the last prophet, and the contradictory belief held by Mormons that
Joseph Smith Joseph Smith Jr. (December 23, 1805June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement. When he was 24, Smith published the Book of Mormon. By the time of his death, 14 years later, he ...
(born in 1805) was a prophet. Boghossian asserts that faith has no "built-in corrective mechanism". For factual claims, he gives the example of the belief that the Earth is 4,000 years old. With only faith and no reason or evidence, he argues, there is no way to correct this claim if it is inaccurate. Boghossian advocates thinking of faith either as "belief without evidence" or "pretending to know things you don't know". Friedrich Nietzsche expressed his criticism of the Christian idea of faith in passage 51 of The Antichrist (book), The Antichrist:Friedrich Nietzsche, H.L. Mencken (Translator), The Anti-Christ, Chicago, Sharp Press, 1999, p. 144.
The fact that faith, under certain circumstances, may work for blessedness, but that this blessedness produced by an idée fixe by no means makes the idea itself true, and the fact that faith actually moves no mountains, but instead raises them up where there were none before: all this is made sufficiently clear by a walk through a lunatic asylum. Not, of course, to a priest: for his instincts prompt him to the lie that sickness is not sickness and lunatic asylums not lunatic asylums. Christianity finds sickness necessary, just as the Greek spirit had need of a superabundance of health—the actual ulterior purpose of the whole system of salvation of the church is to make people ill. And the church itself—doesn’t it set up a Catholic lunatic asylum as the ultimate ideal?—The whole earth as a madhouse?—The sort of religious man that the church wants is a typical décadent; the moment at which a religious crisis dominates a people is always marked by epidemics of nervous disorder; the “inner world” of the religious man is so much like the “inner world” of the overstrung and exhausted that it is difficult to distinguish between them; the “highest” states of mind, held up before mankind by Christianity as of supreme worth, are actually epileptoid in form—the church has granted the name of holy only to lunatics or to gigantic frauds in majorem dei honorem....


See also


References


Sources

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Further reading

* Sam Harris (author), Sam Harris, ''The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason'', W. W. Norton (2004), hardcover, 336 pages, * 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. *
On Faith and Reason
' by Swami Tripurari * Meher Baba, Baba, Meher
''Discourses''
San Francisco: Sufism Reoriented, 1967.


Classic reflections on the nature of faith

* Martin Buber, ''I and Thou'' * Paul Tillich, ''The Dynamics of Faith''


The Reformation view of faith

* John Calvin, ''Institutes of the Christian Religion, The Institutes of the Christian Religion'', 1536 * R.C. Sproul, ''Faith Alone'', Baker Books, 1 February 1999,


The Catholic view of faith

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External links

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Faith in Judaism
chabad.org
Pew Research Center Reports on Religion
{{Portal bar, Religion Faith, Belief Religious belief and doctrine Seven virtues