Faith Definition

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A traditional definition of faith, which can be found in any of the current dictionaries, associates faith with “a strong or unshakable belief in something, especially without proof or evidence” (Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged) as well as “confidence or trust in a person or thing” (Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary). As it can clearly be seen, the principal difference between the two definitions is that they speak about faith as a belief and faith as trust. At the same time, both definitions provide a non-religious interpretation of faith. For me, however, it would be not enough to define faith simply as a belief. In fact, faith hardly has anything to do with a person’s belief. Instead, faith is very close to trust, yet there is also an element of sacredness about faith. THESIS STATEMENT: The best definition will be faith is a kind of a sacred trust.

Faith, defined as sacred trust, suggests the ability to trust somebody or something from the core of an individual’s being. In this, sense the definition of faith is broad: it assumes a religious faith, faith in someone, faith in some systems, in community, in people, in principles, in beliefs, or in the universe. For example, faith in the universe can be an understanding that the universe is friendly to a person rather than conspiring against him or her. This may also be a kind of trust to the universe and a feeling that a person is a part of it. In its turn, faith in someone is about placing the sacred faith in other people. Such phrases as a faithful wife or husband, a faithful person, or a faithful friend, which have the highest moral significance in the society, demonstrate how important faith is for humans. Indeed, these phrases show the extent of sacred trust that people have in them. In this understanding, faith is seen as a foundational part of human relationships. For example, when a man and woman intend to marry, it means that they have faith in each other.

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However, the greatest meaning of faith as a sacred trust is seen through the lens of a person’s relationship with God. Some would call it religious faith; others would refer to it as faith in God. In Christianity, the meaning of sacred faith in God is best explained in The New Testament. In particular, Jesus Christ commends people who ask Him for healing, saying “your faith has made you well.” Also, when the Roman centurion says to Jesus Christ that He will not need to come to his home for the purposes of healing the servant, Jesus says, “Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith” (Matthew 8: 10). These examples illustrate how in the Christian interpretation faith is close to the meaning of sacred trust, and not just trust in God.

However, in the Christian understanding, faith is also multidimensional. Specifically, faith in God is described by trusting God personally, as humans see how virtuous He is and realize the extent of His sacrifice for the humanity. Such kind of faith is present in The Old Testament where, for example, the Hebrew people were enduring great hardships inflected upon them, only owing to their faith in God. In other words, the Hebrews counted on God, Who had already revealed Himself to them.

In Christian understanding, faith as sacred trust may also be interpreted as pure faith. Pure faith is a sort of trust that people hold even if their rational mind tells them they should not. Such pure faith is demonstrated by many Biblical personalities. For example, the three Hebrews, who were thrown to a horrible fiery furnace by Nebuchadnezzar the king showed absolute and sacred trust in God and His will to do the right thing. Next, Daniel placed in the lion den, had a remarkable trust in unfailing Lord. Plus, when Peter was asked by Jesus to walk on the water together with Him, he was driven by his faith. These examples illustrate how faith is associated with trust in Christianity.

Some people might argue that faith and trust are different things. They may say that the core meaning of faith is its dependence on lacking evidence, whereas the meaning of trust is based on the evaluation of existing evidence. Trust results from thinking of the evidence as compelling. While these views certainly make sense, it is not hard to see that they are not opposing to the definition of faith as provided above. People’s faith would not happen without trust. In its turn, trust evolves as a result of people’s seeing what God have already done to them. In this sense, trust nurtures faith and is understood as its inseparable part. Faith, in its turn, incorporates trust, whether it is a blind faith or just faith. If a person does not have trust, it means that he or she does not actually have faith. This is the reason faith is different from a belief. In other words, trust is a defining element of faith. Even in Christianity, belief is perceived as an abstract notion, but faith is always about action, i.e. it involves doing something to confirm the belief. In case with the Roman centurion, for example, he addresses Jesus in a way that shows trust and in a way that shows he is confident in what he says. Therefore, face and trust are synonymous, and faith can well be defined as sacred trust.

In conclusion, faith is sacred trust. It is more than trust and it cannot be without trust. It can be defined from a variety of perspectives, but the greatest understanding of faith comes in relation to God’s relationship with the man. Anyway, for everyone, the definition of faith will be different, based on how much he or she is able to trust.

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