Faith is confidence or trust in a person, thing, or concept.
No definition allows for identification of “faith” with “religion.” Some inner attitude has its part in all religious traditions, but it is not always of central significance.
Religious people often think of faith as confidence based on a perceived degree of warrant, while others who are more skeptical of religion tend to think of faith as simply belief without evidence.
Within Christianity, faith, in one sense, is often discussed in terms of believing God’s promises, trusting in his faithfulness, and relying on God’s character and faithfulness to act. Some denominations believe in
the New Covenant and in the doctrine of salvation by faith alone (sola fide). According to most Christian traditions and denominations, Christian faith requires a belief in the resurrection of Jesus, and the Agony in the Garden which Jesus states is the plan of God the Father.
In Islam, a believer’s faith in the metaphysical aspects of Islam is called Iman, 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 Paradise. In the Hadith of Gabriel, Iman in addition to Islam and Ihsan form the three dimensions of the Islamic religion.
Judaism recognizes the positive value of Emunah (generally translated as faith, trust in God) and the negative status of the 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 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 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.
Faith in Buddhism 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 (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 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.
Bhakti literally means “attachment, participation, fondness for, homage, faith, love, devotion, worship, purity”. It was originally used in Hinduism, referring to devotion and love for a personal god or a representational god by a devotee. In ancient texts such as the Shvetashvatara Upanishad, the term simply means participation, devotion and love for any endeavor, while in the Bhagavad Gita, it connotes one of the possible paths of spirituality and towards moksha, as in bhakti marga.
Christians may recognise 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 indicates a proxy for depth of faith, but does not provide an everyday measurement for the average contemporary Christian. Within the Calvinist 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 statement of faith) provide broad measurements of details. Various tribunals of the Inquisition,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.
In Christianity the intellectual component of faith is stressed by St. Thomas Aquinas. One of the major issues of the Protestant movement was the theological problem of justification by faith alone. Martin Luther stressed the element of trust, while John Calvin emphasized faith as a gift freely bestowed by God. A 19th-century German theologian, Friedrich Schleiermacher, wrote of the subjective nature of faith. In the 20th century, theologians, led by Karl Barth, made conscious efforts to turn away from Schleiermacher’s subjective interpretation.
The expression “just have faith, it will work out” is used by people to encourage and comfort someone facing serious problems or stressful situations.
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”.