How and why did the definition of the word FAITH change in the last 100 years?
According to Webster's New World Dictionary (original copyright 1953), the definition of the word faith is; Unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence.
According to Noah Webster's Dictionary 1904 edition, the definition of the word faith is; The ascent of the mind or understanding to the truth of what God has revealed. Simple belief of the scriptures, of the being and perfections of God, and of the existence, character, and doctrines of Christ founded on the testimony of the sacred writers, is called historical or speculative faith.
The modern definition makes no sense to me. The former definition compels me to question things of a religious nature, which is necessary to obtain meaning in anything. I have followed the earlier definition with good results (leading to spiritual growth). I have seen many abandon religion because of how it is being presented in modern times. I can't say that I blame them. How did faith get so twisted and narrow minded?
Closing Statement from Roy Bourque
The general consensus is that the modern definition of faith reflects how most fundamentalist present it. No longer is faith being presented as something to ponder, but is presented as the definition states. The people who have charge of the church expect you to take faith without proof or evidence.
In my personal view, the modern definition of faith is a departure from what true faith was meant to be. I believe that the ascent of the mind represented enlightenment. Creationists rebuke evolution, not by enlightenment, but by blind faith. If faith is blind, then it follows the modern definition.
Another point made is that faith is based on a creed. In today's world, there are so many differing creeds that it is impossible to tell which one may be closer to the original. Every church says they have the right answer even though they differ, sometimes appreciably. Since there is no consensus, then the ascent of the mind seems moot.
As far as how it got changed it, that was never settled.
For the record, the word "theology" was also changed. The old definition included that which can be learned from nature. The new definition excludes any reference to nature. It appears that the definition of both words changed in the wake of teachings on evolution.