dictionary page showing definition of faith

Faith is the feeling of certainty or trust, a loyalty to a belief or idea. Faith can also signal conviction. Faith can mean a strong belief in God or another religious belief, or it can mean any strongly held belief or conviction. In medieval usages faith could refer to making a pledge or taking an oath. The root word is related to trusting. You can have faith in a person when you trust that they’ll be reliable, or you can have faith in a heavenly reward for living a good life.

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The problem to be faced is: how to combine loyalty to one’s own tradition with reverence for different traditions.

— Abraham Joshua Heschel

Faith is a state of openness or trust. To have faith is like when you trust yourself to the water. You don’t grab
hold of the water when you swim, because if you do you will become stiff and tight in the water, and sink. You
have to relax, and the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging and holding on. In other words, a person
who is fanatic in matters of religion and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe
becomes a person who has no faith at all. Instead they are holding tight. But the attitude of faith is to let go and
become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.

— Alan Watts

To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.

— Alan Watts

In faith and hope the world will disagree,
but all mankind’s concern is charity.

— Alexander Pope

This is a call to the living,
To those who refuse to make peace with evil,
With the suffering and the waste of the world. This is a call to the human, not the perfect,
To those who know their own prejudices,
Who have no intention of becoming prisoners of their own limitations. This is a call to those who remember the dreams of their youth,
Who know what it means to share food and shelter,
The care of children and those who are troubled,
To reach beyond barriers of the past
Bringing people to communion. This is a call to the never ending spirit
Of the common man, his essential decency and integrity,
His unending capacity to suffer and endure,
To face death and destruction and to rise again
And build from the ruins of life. This is the greatest call of all
The call to a faith in people.

— Algernon Black

There is always light.
Only if we are brave enough to be it.

— Amanda Gorman

When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow.

— Anais Nin

Have Faith! Have faith in the Eternal Goodness. Believe that the core of the Universe is sound and sweet.

— Anna Garlin Spencer

I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot and have no real certainty about anything. I remembered something Father Tom had told me — that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.

— Anne Lamott

Among us, on the other hand, ‘the righteous man lives by faith.’ Now, if you take away positive affirmation, you take away faith, for without positive affirmation nothing is believed. And there are truths about things unseen, and unless they are believed, we cannot attain to the happy life, which is nothing less than life eternal.

— Augustine of Hippo

As men’s habits of mind differ, so that some more readily embrace one form of faith, some another, for what moves one to pray may move another to scoff, I conclude … that everyone should be free to choose for himself the foundations of his creed, and that faith should be judged only by its fruits.

— Baruch Spinoza

Faith minus vulnerability and mystery equals extremism. If you’ve got all the answers, then don’t call what you do ‘faith.’

— Brene Brown

I am not a quitter. I will fight until I drop. It is just a matter of having some faith in the fact that as long as you are able to draw breath in the universe, you have a chance.

— Cicely Tyson

It is virtue, virtue, which both creates and preserves friendship. On it depends harmony of interest, permanence, fidelity.

— Cicero

I cannot be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope.

— Cornel West

This is what I believe:
That I am I.
That my soul is a dark forest.
That my known self will never be more than a little clearing in the forest.
That gods, strange gods, come forth from the forest into the clearing of my known self, and then go back.
That I must have the courage to let them come and go.
That I will never let mankind put anything over me, but that I will try always to recognize and submit to the gods in me and the gods in other men and women.
There is my creed.

— D. H. Lawrence

Skepticism has never founded empires, established principles, or changed the world’s heart. The great doers in history have always been people of faith.

— Edwin Hubbel Chapin

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.

— Elie Wiesel

Religion is not necessarily allied with dogma, a new kind of faith is possible, based not upon legend and tradition, not upon the authority of any book, but upon the moral nature of man.

— Felix Adler

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy

— Francis of Assisi

Faith is homesickness. Faith is a lump in the throat. Faith is less a position on than a movement toward.

— Frederick Buechner

Faith is a commitment to live as if certain things are true, and thereby help to make them so. Faith is a commitment to live as if life is a wondrous mystery, as if life is good, as if love is divine, as if we are responsible for the well-being of those around us.

— Galen Guengrich

It is easy — terribly easy — to shake a man’s faith in himself. To take advantage of that, to break a man’s spirit, is devil’s work.

— George Bernard Shaw

Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.

— George Carlin

The faith of free persons must tangibly make them free in a community of human dignity and equal justice.

— James Luther Adams, A Faith for the Free

We slowly learn that life consists of processes as well as results, and that failure may come quite as easily from ignoring the adequacy of one’s method as from selfish or ignoble aims. We are thus brought to a conception of Democracy not merely as a sentiment which desires the well-being of all [people], nor yet as a creed which believes in the essential dignity and equality of all [people], but as that which affords a rule for living as well as a test of faith.

— Jane Addams

I have one life and one chance to make it count for something … My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.

— Jimmy Carter

Unthinking faith is a curious offering to be made to the creator of the human mind.

— John A. Hutchinson

You must never, ever give out. We must keep the faith because we are one people. We are brothers and sisters. We all live in the same house: The American house.

— John Lewis

To be an atheist requires an indefinitely greater measure of faith than to receive all the great truths which atheism would deny.

— Joseph Addison

Faith in God means believing absolutely in something with no proof whatsoever. Faith in humanity means believing absolutely in something with a huge amount of proof to the contrary. We are the true believers.

— Joss Whedon

The Hebrew word for faith in the Old Testament is emoonah. What makes that word interesting is that it’s the
sound that a baby donkey makes when it is calling for its mother. To appreciate that, you have to say emoonah
so it sounds like that. If you want to hear the meaning of emoonah, you need to say it like braying. I sometimes
think to myself, if you say it soft, it’s almost like braying. The point being that faith in the Hebrew Bible is like a
baby donkey calling out or crying for its mother. There’s something kind of wonderful about that. There is an
element…I don’t know if you want to say of desperation in it or not, but there certainly is an element of
confidence also that the cry will be heard.

— Marcus Borg

Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.

— Mark Twain

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

— Martin Luther King Jr.

The jump is so frightening between where I am and where I want to be. Because of all I may become, I will close my eyes and leap.

— Mary Anne Radmacher

Faith in oneself is the best and safest course.

— Michelangelo

The spiritual treasure is already there, with you, in your heart. But often you have to go somewhere else, to another teacher outside your tradition, to find the answer. To find yourself, you sometimes must go to a stranger.

— Mircea Eliade, in A Chosen Faith by John A. Buehrens

Skepticism is the beginning of Faith.

— Oscar Wilde

The deeper our faith, the more doubt we must endure; the deeper our hope, the more prone we are to despair; the deeper our love, the more pain its loss will bring: these are a few of the paradoxes we must hold as human beings. If we refuse to hold them in the hopes of living without doubt, despair, and pain, we also find ourselves living without faith, hope, and love.

— Parker J. Palmer

Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance and have faith that in this love there is a
strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.

— Rainer Maria Rilke

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Gods we worship write their names on our faces; be sure of that. A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore, we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love.

— Reinhold Niebuhr

Faith is always, finally, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Faith actually begins to create what it desires… Without faith,
you sink into the bad world that you most feared. With faith, you keep trusting, hoping, believing, and calling
forth life from stones…

— Richard Rohr

Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith! Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge!

— Robert G. Ingersoll

Most institutions demand unqualified faith; but the institution of science makes skepticism a virtue.

— Robert K. Merton

The opposite of faith is not doubt. It’s despair.

— Sharon Salzberg

For me, faith has a lot to do with courage, and it’s the courage to step forward into the unknown and, first of all,
to admit that we don’t know… to actually admit we don’t know, and yet to say, `You know, I have the strength to
go forward anyway… it’s connecting to our own deepest strengths so that we’re not defined by this
circumstance we find ourselves in in any given day.

— Sharon Salzberg

Faith is a willingness to take the next step, to see the unknown as an adventure, to launch a journey.

— Sharon Salzberg

The opposite of faith is not doubt. It’s despair.

— Sharon Salzberg
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