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Faith really means "confidence, trust, integrity." The modern interpretation as "belief" started in the 13th-16th centuries when the Christians were attempting to spread their teachings, and changed the meaning to "belief." In reality, faith is not equal to belief.

Ultimately, faith comes from the Greek πείθω pitho / peitho "to persuade," and πίστη pisti, "faith." Over the centuries, root words include:

  1. The Old French feid, foi from root of fidere "to trust." The change from feid to feith (faith) made to render it analogous in form with truth, ruth, wealth, health, and other similar sbs: feiþ, feith, feyth.

  2. From Latin fidem, acc. of fides, faith, reliance, credibility, credit, integrity, veracity.

  3. Greek πίστις, faith; πείθειν, to persuade; πέποιθα, I trust.

From the same root are fid-el-i-ty, af-fi-ance, con-fide, de-fy, dif-fid-ent, per-fid-y, fiducial, faith, confidense, fiance, fiancee. Thus, we can now see why we still say an adulterer is "unfaithful." Faith does not relate to "belief," but to confidence.

"In order to enter the kingdom, the treasure of faith is essential. As long as the psychological split has not been produced within each of us, faith is more than impossible. Faith is pure knowledge, direct experiential wisdom. Faith has always been confused with vain beliefs; Gnostics must never make such a serious mistake. Faith is direct experience of the real, the magnificent vivification of the Inner Human Being, authentic divine cognition... Faith is the direct perception of what is real, it is fundamental wisdom; it is the experience of that which is beyond the body, the affections and the mind. We must distinguish between faith and belief. Beliefs are found stored in the Intermediate Mind. Faith is a characteristic of the Inner Mind. Unfortunately, there is always a general tendency to confuse belief with faith. Although it seems paradoxical, we emphasize the following: “Those who have true faith do not need to believe.” This is because genuine faith is living knowledge, exact cognition, and direct experience. For many centuries people have confused faith and belief. Now it is very difficult to make them understand that faith is true knowledge and never futile beliefs." - Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion

"Faith is not simply admiration, but something that arises from a deep understanding of the teachings..." - The 14th Dalai Lama, Illuminating the Path to Enlightenment