For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. -Ephesians 2:8-9
Faith is not the gift, Jesus is. Faith is what everyone operates on at some level as we are not omniscient beings who can possess knowledge with 100% certainty. Faith is trust and trust must have an object. It is on the object of our faith that the strength of our faith may be built. If that object is weak, so will be our faith.
Faith, along with our ability to reason and love are both vestiges of the image of God in us. Also, faith is not a work under the law, so even if it were volitional (which it isn’t) it doesn’t count as a work meritorious unto salvation.
Now many (mostly of the reformed variety) like to argue that such a view of faith entails a view of men wherein we are somehow independent of God. We are not wholly independent beings, and quite frankly that is not the issue, its more like a red herring. The issue is whether we are
- accountable for our own sins and
- whether we are obliged to freely trust (believe/have faith in) Christ that He is who He claimed to be and is able to save us like He claimed to be able to do.
So yes, my faith did come from God, the ability to faith propositional statements (or trust/believe them), and the object of my faith came from God as well. However the responsibility to turn our wills towards Christ in response to the calling of the Holy Spirit is wholly our own.
Faith is not blind (it cannot be and is not prescribed in Scripture). Jesus Himself appeared to be very interested in giving definitive proofs of His resurrection. He argued theologically and historically with the disciples on the road to Emmaus and He provided His body for physical examination by all the disciples (not just Thomas).
Finally, the Greek word translated as faith may be marked as a noun in lexicons. However a noun is defined as:
a content word that can be used to refer to a person, place, thing, quality, or action
the word class that can serve as the subject or object of a verb, the object of a preposition, or in apposition
Faith is an action, the object of grace, what grace is intended to lead us towards, specifically faith or trust in Christ. In that sense faith is synonymous with believe and trust. Belief or trust or faith are commonly portrayed in the Bible in the context of a marriage relationship, so my faith in Christ is akin to the faith I have in my wife. Both are based on love, and both are ongoing attitudes I take towards persons I love.
Here are a few more resources on the subject of faith: