faith

faith
/fayth/, n.
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
6. the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith.
7. the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.
8. Christian Theol. the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.
9. in faith, in truth; indeed: In faith, he is a fine lad.
[1200-50; ME feith < AF fed, OF feid, feit < L fidem, acc. of fides trust, akin to fidere to trust. See CONFIDE]

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(as used in expressions)
Ringgold Faith
Thirteen Principles of Faith

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Greek  Pistis , Latin  Fides 

      inner attitude, conviction, or trust relating man to a supreme God or ultimate salvation. In religious traditions stressing divine grace, it is the inner certainty or attitude of love granted by God himself. In Christian theology, faith is the divinely inspired human response to God's historical revelation through Jesus Christ and, consequently, is of crucial significance.

      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. For example, words in ancient Egypt or ancient (Vedic) India that can be roughly rendered by the general term “religion” do not allow for “faith” as a translation but rather connote cultic duties and acts. In Hindu (Hinduism) and Buddhist Yoga traditions, inner attitudes recommended are primarily attitudes of trust in the guru, or spiritual preceptor, and not, or not primarily, in God. Hindu and Buddhist concepts of devotion (Sanskrit bhakti) and love or compassion (Sanskrit karuṇā) are more comparable to the Christian notions of love (Greek agapē, Latin caritas) than to faith. Devotional forms of Mahāyāna Buddhism and Vaiṣṇavism show religious expressions not wholly dissimilar to faith in Christian and Jewish traditions.

      In biblical Hebrew, “faith” is principally juridical; it is the faithfulness or truthfulness with which persons adhere to a treaty or promise and with which God and Israel adhere to the Covenant between them. In Islām and Christianity, both rooted in this tradition, the notion of faith reflects that view. In Islām, faith (Arabic īmān) is what sets the believer apart from others; at the same time, it is ascertained that “None can have faith except by the will of Allāh” (Qurʾān 10:100). The Christian First Letter to the Corinthians (Corinthians, The Letter of Paul to the) similarly asserts that faith is a gift of God (I Cor. 12:8–9), while the Letter to the Hebrews (Hebrews, Letter to the) (11:1) defines faith (pistis) as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Some scholars think that Zoroastrianism, as well as Judaism, may have had some importance in the development of the notion of faith in Western religion; the prophet Zoroaster (c. 628–c. 551 BC) may have been the first founder of a religion to speak of a new, conscious religious choice on the part of man for truth (asha).

      In Christianity the intellectual component of faith is stressed by St. Thomas Aquinas (Aquinas, Thomas, Saint). One of the major issues of the Protestant movement (Reformation) was the theological problem of justification (q.v.) by faith alone. Luther (Luther, Martin) stressed the element of trust, while Calvin (Calvin, John) 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.

      Notions of religious trust in India, China, and Japan are as a rule different from the notion of faith in Christianity. The “trust” (Pāli saddhā, Sanskrit śraddhā) described in the Buddhist Eightfold Path is comparable to the confidence with which a sick person entrusts himself to a physician. The Chinese hsin (“confidence, trust, sincerity”) is considered to be one of the five principal virtues.

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Universalium. 2010.

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