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Greek Pistis & Faith

Pistis Does Not Refer to Belief w/out Evidence

While in English faith may be belief without evidence, that is not a proper definition of faith. But over and over, more and more, it seems like the word faith is abused that way to mean just up and believing, leap in the dark, credulity, gullibility. Some persons may even speak proudly and positively of such faith: "Well, my beliefs are based on faith." Also, "believe," is often used to mean "think so," while uncertain. And dictionaries now include "belief without evidence" as one definition of the term faith in English.

It is a debater's trick to try to control the definitions & the vocabulary. For example, we have recently seen an abandonment of such terms as queer & sodomist and the adoption of gay & homophobe. Liberals like to define a debate in terms of woman's right to choose [object of choose left out] instead of in terms of murdering babies. Fornication has become "being sexually active." By insisting on a definition of "faith" as belief without evidence, the debating goal may be to discredit the concept of faith, even faith in the Lord Jesus as Savior or faith in God. However, the Greek word Pistis in the NT does not have the definition of faith without evidence.

BDAG, the standard NT Greek Lexicon has a long entry on pistis:

πίστις, εως, ἡ (Hes., Hdt.+; ranging in meaning from subjective confidence to objective basis for confidence).
1. that which evokes trust and faith
a. the state of being someone in whom confidence can be placed, faithfulness, reliability, fidelity, commitment …

b. a solemn promise to be faithful and loyal, assurance, oath, troth

c. a token offered as a guarantee of someth. promised, proof, pledge

2. state of believing on the basis of the reliability of the one trusted, trust, confidence, faith in the active sense=‘believing’, in ref. to deity …

[and the article goes on at length]

I have put proof in bold so that it is noticed how one meaning listed by BDAG is proof.

Actually faith (like pistis & pisteuo in Greek) refers to a conviction that something is so, dependence upon, trust in. Persons may be convinced that something is so, for no reason, slight reason, sufficient reason, or obviousness. Some people are gullible and credulous, who would buy the Brooklyn Bridge. All of this is faith. (To say you believe because of faith is really a tautology). Others are paranoid and don't trust what they should trust.

Actually Objective Faith is the conviction that a proposition is true (with or without evidence). Subjective Faith is dependence on or trust in someone or something. Lack of proper subjective faith is paranoia. As to objective faith, while objective faith is essentially a conviction, there is proper & improper faith. Credulity or gullibility is improper faith, the faith that a fool has.

I put it to you that proper objective faith is the conviction that a proposition is true based on the sufficiency of the evidence or the obviousness of the self-evident. As to the self-evident, I have faith that the sky is blue; that is obvious. I do not need to stand a long time under the hot sun and argue with a fool that the sky is blue. It us self-evident to me that I exist. If I gave an argument for it, I would be more sure that I exist that of the validity of that argument. I believe that if A = B, the A + C = B + C; that is self-evident. As to faith based upon sufficient evidence, I have faith that the government will tax me.

BTW, I don't find a definition of faith at the start of Hebrews 11. Just as "God is love" is not a definition of either God or love, but a statement about the essential nature of God, so it appears to me that "Ἔστιν δὲ πίστις ἐλπιζομένων ὑπόστασις, πραγμάτων ἔλεγχος οὐ βλεπομένων" means that faith makes real the things hoped for & unseen. Faith is not necessarily tied to things unseen & wishfully hoped for. We trust the Lord; we have faith in Him & thus we believe His statements & promises concerning things unseen.