Adler On

Faith, Hope, and Charity

According to Christian theology, these three words name the theological virtues that are divine gifts to those upon whom God bestows his grace. Faith consists of beliefs voluntarily espoused, beliefs that are totally beyond the reach of evidence and rational processes. "I believe," said an early Christian, Tertullian, "because it is absurd" -- that is, nonrational.

Hope is the nonrational expectation of salvation and the beatific vision in Heaven, Charity is one of the three major forms of love -- the love of God and of thy neighbor as thyself.

What appears to be faith, but is not living faith, because it is not accompanied by hope and charity, is a counterfeit of faith. It is the voluntarily exercised will to believe, a merely human faith, not the supernatural faith that is a gift of God. (See Belief.)

Adapted from
Adler's Philosophical Dictionary (1995)

Revised 27 July 2002