Faith, as a word, is used in two related senses:
- religious: a belief in a relationship with a deity (most commonly God) or other supernatural entities ("Many people of faith pray regularly.").
- personal: a belief that a particular person or process will succeed at some goal, especially in the face of past failures ("I have faith in you", "I have faith in humanity" or "I have faith in the legal system").
It is entirely possible that personal faith in the veracity of another person (e.g. one's parents or a trusted authority figure) who professes a religious belief may be how religious faith often begins, that faith being later transferred from the personal to the supernatural (e.g. God).
"Faith" in general is usually seen as a positive force; this usage is often conflated with having faith in the religious sense.
retyped in haste after FireFox crashed multiple times and lost my original edit; to be smoothed out later
In the most general sense, faith can be defined as following one's intuition when logic or reason would seem to lead to a different conclusion, but only if:
- There must be at least some evidence for the intuitive conclusion
- The positiveness of the outcome must relate to a larger ideal, not immediate personal gain