Faith

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by lunamoth, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Note: I tried to put this thread in Christianity but it did not show up. Mods please move to there if possible (and it works this time).

    A comment in another thread made me think about what we mean when we say we have "faith." In "The Heart of Chrisitianity" Marcus Borg offers four meanings of faith and discusses how each of these meanings affects our approach to spirituality and religion. Thought I'd present them here for discussion. The meanings are not meant to be exclusive of each other, but complementary. Borg uses Latin terms to identify each meaning of faith. The focus is on Christianity but I think it can be applied to other religions as well.

    1. Faith as Assensus (assent, or belief).
    Faith as believing a claim or statement to be true. Borg sugggests that the primacy of this approach to faith is a recent development. With the combination of the Protestant Reformation plus the birth of modern science in the Enlightenment, faith began to mean "believing in the right things" and identifying the truth (specifically of the bible) with factuality. This change in orthodoxy from "right worship" to "right belief" has strained Christianity for many people: "For many, Christian faith began to mean believing questionable things to be true--as assenting to the truth of claims that have become "'iffy.'" (p. 29)

    The opposite of this type of faith is doubt.

    While this description of faith as belief is negatively critical, Borg gives what he says are three foundational affirmations of Christianity that fall squarely in this category of faith. 1) Being a Christian means affirming the reality of God (There is something "More"). 2) Christian faith means affirming the utter centrality of Jesus (but does not mean that this centrality needs to lead to Christian exclusivism) and 3) Christian faith means affirming the centrality of the Bible, as "our story," "our foundational document," and our "identity document."

    2. Faith as Fiducia, or Trust. I will summarize this in Borg's words, "faith as radical trust in God." It does not mean trusting in a set of statments about God. This is trusting God as our foundation and safe place, our rock and our foundation.

    The opposite of this type of faith is mistrust, anxiety, and worry.

    3. Faith as Fidelitas, or Fidelity. Faith is loyalty, allegience, faithfulness to our relationship with God.

    The opposite of this type of faith is not doubt or disbelief, but infidelity, adultary, idolatry.

    How are we faithful to God? We pay attention to our relationship with Him, through worship, prayer, meditation, practice, and a life of compassion and justice. Love God and love what God loves: thy neighbor and the whole of creation.

    4. Faith as Visio, a way of Seeing. "In particular, this is faith as a way of seeing the whole, a way of seeing 'what is.'" How do we see life? As hostile and threatening (death will get us all, or God will get us unless we...)? As indifferent (which tends to encourage us to seek material security)? As life-giving and nourishing (filled with wonder and terrible beauty, reality as gracious)? This last is not in denial about the atrocities that occur, it does not mean that reality is simply "nice," "or that one can demonstrate that it is gracious." However, it acknowledges that our perception affects our life experience. The "life as gracious" outlook leads to radical trust in God. Radical trust leads to the kind of life that we see in Jesus and the saints, a self-giving and self-forgetfullness, a "willingness to spend and be spent."

    The first type of faith, assensus, is a "head" approach to faith, while the latter three are relationship or "heart" types of faith.

    When we say a creed, the opening words are "I believe," or in Latin, credo. Borg explains that credo does not mean "I hereby agree to the literal-factual truth of the following statements," but rather "I give my heart to."

    For me, these ideas really open up the meaning of faith and what it means to be a passionate Christian.

    Peace,
    lunamoth
     
  2. Sacredstar

    Sacredstar New Member

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    Dear Lunamoth beautiful, yes I accept giving/sharing my heart with GOD in every moment in prefrence to a book of words.

    Love beyond measure

    Sacredstar
     
  3. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    Yes. There are about 400 beautiful scriptures on this. That is how important faith in God is. That is all in line with the bible and he did a nice job with that page. I think you found a good one there. Romans 10:17 is good too:)
    Thank You


    14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

    15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

    16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

    17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
     
  4. Sacredstar

    Sacredstar New Member

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    wonderful quote from Bandit

    by hearing Hearing being very different to seeing

    hearing by the word of GOD

    Have they not heard All can hear, the Quakers call this the inner voice

    their sound went into all the earth which infers that the sound is coming from outside of the earth, GOD and the messengers being the preachers

    and their words unto the ends of the world needs no insight

    I have thought a lot more about this 'Faith' overnight, in my reality it is without doubt absolute trust and trust in the absolute. I have faith in myself, faith in experience and faith that all is meant to be for our highest good. Faith in the goodness of human nature and GODs creation.

    But in GOD I TRUST with my whole being and I entrust others to GODs care and love through surrender of my own desires. It is a place of no doubt only total confidence in the original goodness of all.

    A trust that is not a blind faith for I see
    A trust that is not deaf for I hear
    A trust that is beyond any shadow of doubt because I feel
    A trust that was built upon proof for I know the experience

    So yes the complete trust and confidence in GOD is the foundation of rock on which I AM.

    So I do agree with this statement

    2. Faith as Fiducia, or Trust. I will summarize this in Borg's words, "faith as radical trust in God." It does not mean trusting in a set of statments about God. This is trusting God as our foundation and safe place, our rock and our foundation.

    Trust in love beyond measure from GOD

    Sacredstar
     
  5. Sacredstar

    Sacredstar New Member

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    PS

    A trust that is not dumb for GOD speaks through the heart
     
  6. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

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    Interesting Lunamoth,

    You seem to be summarizing different types of faith...

    1) belief
    2) trust
    3) loyalty
    4) perspective

    I tend to think of faith in the #1 sense as a vice. But #2 would be what I would call "confidence" to avoid confusion. My summary on faith and my problems with it can be found here.
     
  7. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Dear DTS,

    Hello, yes, although it's not my summary, but that of Marcus Borg whose book I mentioned in the OP, The Heart of Christianity.

    His hypothesis is that Christianity today is experiencing two paradigms that he calls the Earlier Paradigm and the Emerging Paradigm. While he (and I) clearly identify with the Emerging Paradigm, he attempts to find ways to build bridges between the two worldviews as well. The Earlier Paradigm is characterized by belief that the Bible is a divine product with divine authority, that it should be interpretted literal-factually, that it's function is the revelation of doctrine and morals, and the the Christian life-emphasis is on the afterlife and what to believe or do to be saved. The Emergent Paradigm holds the Bible to be a human response to God, to be interpretted historically and metaphorically, it's function is metaphorical and sacramental, and the Christian life emphasis is transformation in this life through relationship with God.

    One phrase he used is to affirm our beliefs deeply but loosely: "Deeply: faith involves our loyalty and trust and seeing at the deepest level of the self. Loosely: we need to avoid the human tendency toward excessive precision and certitude." He talks quite al lot about the problems that can arise when one "has to believe x, y and z to be saved" especially when x, y or z resist intellectual assent. And it does lead to eclusivism and false barriers between "them and us." However, it's possible to be passionate and liberal in Christianity. A message I appreciate hearing.

    Faith as trust, loyalty and perspective are more about the relationship, the path, the transformation aspects. I will think more about this as confidence--it's not striking me right off the bat. However, faith as belief is necessary to give shape to the process. I wouldn't call it a vice but depending upon one's experience I can see how one might come to this conclusion.

    I'm going to take some more time to read over your page on Faith. I see that you are a secular humanist. Back in my days as an agnostic I heard Kurt Vonnegut speak, he's one of my favorites, and he told the audience that if he was anything he was a humanist. :cool:

    Anyway, most impressive website. Looking forward to perusing it.

    lunamoth

    I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.
    Kurt Vonnegut


    Love that BrainyQuote!
     
  8. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Just wanted to add that Borg's Earlier Paradigm is not the Earliest Paradigm, but of more modern (couple hundred years) origins.
     
  9. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Just realized this kind of comes off like, "some of my best friends are humanists." :eek: Actually I was trying to say that I identified with secular humanism at one point in my life.

    lunamoth
     
  10. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Hi DTStrain,

    I enjoyed reading your exposition on faith. For sections 1.2.1-1.2.3 I would just mostly agree with what you say, faith is needed for belief in God, God can't be proven to exist or not, and there is no objective way to know which religion one should follow if one does believe in Something More. Note however that choosing which religion one follows is different than having faith in God.

    In section 1.2.4 you discuss criteria for determining which belief system is "most true." You point out that there are lots of belief systems and anyone who holds to one of them believes in its truth, and even if it the religion of your parents or a religion in which transcendent experiences are known to occur, none of this uniquely points to any single religion as "most true." You say that even if the belief system makes adherents "feel good" (provides emotional well-being) or creates a stable culture and civilization (material well-being), this is not sufficient. The primary goal, you conclude, is that the belief system should be to find truth.

    Now, if you are talking about which belief system helps us to find the correct facts, i.e., scientific, technological, historical, economical facts, then I would agree that faith and religion are not the way to go. :) But, I see a lot of Truth in any religion/belief system (including atheistic ones) that strengthens the bonds of family and provides emotional and material well-being to its adherents. Perhaps you address what you mean by truth in one of the other sections of your website--apologies that I dont' have time to read more.

    You do raise important points later about fanaticism, extremists, terrorists, but I would say that these extremes can be found in any ideological group, religious, political, environmental, etc. It has more to do with unstable personalities in unstable environments, I think, than with faith.

    In 1.2.5 you address the apparent rigidity of religious faith, particularly Christian religious faith. Here I repsectfully disagree. You seem to be talking about absolute, blind faith through and through, a religion that requires all adherents to accept manner of dogma and doctrine without question. You say
    Again I think you might be mixing up religion and faith. Christianity and other religions do draw lines in the sand and say basically, cross this line and you are no longer a... That's what doctrine does. Speaking just about Christianity, some denominations have lots of lines, others just a few. But they are not all absolute and rigid, I think a few denominations are more so and many are not much so at all. Even a secular humanist has certain lines in the sand, no??? Still talking about religion, not faith, many of the mainline Protestant churches certainly are not rigid but responsive to culture and changing human needs. But, as far as having faith in God and, particular to Christianity, faith in Jesus Christ, this is different than binding oneself to religious doctrine.

    1.2.6, you say that faith is not in our control, that we can't choose to believe in something any more than we could choose to believe the moon is made of cheese. I think faith is a choice, made easily by some and with great difficutly by others, but it is a choice. And once the choice is made it is a matter of practice. No, you can't compare it to believing the moon is made of cheese because that is testable. You say quite correctly:
    If there was an objective reason to believe in God, it would not be choice and it would not be faith. Subjective experience, however, is not something to be discounted. It is very real, very rational, but non-transferable. If I meet Jesus, or one of His disciples, my subjective experience may change in such a way that the choice seems like a no-brainer. But the next person I meet may or may not respond to my passionate conversion. If I do a scientific experiment to demonstrate that the moon is made of cheese, the next person along following my protocol will also be able to demonstrate that the moon is made of cheese.

    This is getting long, and I do thank you for the opportunity to examine my ideas about faith a bit more, but I will try to wrap this up. In 1.2.7 you make two very intereesting points. First, you talk about having confidence in God and thus making judegements about His character. Borg (I wonder whether we should be worried about that name :D ) talks about this and my summary of his idea is that you also choose the character of your God. Now, for a Christian this doesn't mean that you can decide that your God has seven heads and requires us to stockpile cheese in our basements (to stick with your fun analogy). For Christians in means to remain Biblical. However, what characters do you choose to empahsize? Is your God primarily concerned with personal virtue? Primarily a lawgive and judge, somebody you need to measure up to? A God of requirements and rewards? Primarily a God of heaven and hell? Is your God a national God, an indifferent God? Is your God a God of compassion, a God of justice? All of these can be Biblically based, and all can be believed to some extent non-exculsively, but where do you put your empahsis?

    Second, you point out
    Exactly.

    I love this quote from Baha'u'llah: O Son of Being! Love Me that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant.

    You conclude in 1.2.8 that it is improper and unjust to determine who lives in paradise and who lives in torment based upon having some kind of "correct faith." I wholeheartedly agree! This is not the worldview held by all Christians. Stated in these terms it is not even part of the the doctrine of mainline Christian churches, I'm not sure about Catholocism. You conclude that faith, defined as "belief as fact without proof" is a vice because it inevitable leads to intolerance, ignorance, violence and wars. I think I've already said that this is an extreme view of Christianity in particular and religion in general.

    I believe in Something More. It's not objectively rational but I believe it. Therefore I have reasons for believing it that are real and valid to me, even if not to others. That I "feel" it is too weak; that I "know" it is closer but still not adequate. It transcends words. The Bible is an account of (OK, I admit I'm guessing, but a lot of years) 4000 years of experiences of others who also believed in Something More and what they thought about that. I figure I can learn something from that. The New Testament is the recorded experience and reaction of people who met that Something More in a Person. I don't understand it, but I believe it.

    Many thanks,
    lunamoth

    PS--it's late so I will apologise for all the typos I didn't correct and I hope I was not too abrasive in any of my comments but it happens sometimes when I write late at night.
     
  11. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

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    Lunamoth,

    Thanks much for reading my article and for your thoughtful responses. I'll answer a few of your questions/comments...

    I would agree that there are many truths in religions and other belief systems. But your suspicion is correct that I was speaking of truth in matters of fact. However, I should point out that, for instance, whether or not "god exits" is a matter of fact. My intention here is to point out that matters of fact are best established by scientific method (albeit imperfect and limited, the best we have it seems). As for truths concerning ethics, emotional well-being, family bonds, and so on, this is best accomplished through philosophy (religious or not) but that philosophy should be consistent with facts established through science and not be based on improvable facts. It seems to me that it is possible to have meaningful, beneficial, and even spiritual beliefs not dependent on matters of faith, as I am a living example of such.

    I think unstable personalities and environments are key, but I think that faith (in the generic sense of the word) is an element in all forms of fanaticism. In other words, "belief without, or despite, evidence" plays a role, not just in religious contexts, but in political and other contexts as well. It was in this more universal concept of faith as a means to knowledge that I was addressing, rather than merely the religious.

    Yes, I'm not really talking about religions or religious doctrines, although these may be included. What I'm talking about is the basic concept of faith in anything itself. Let's take the fundamentals devoid of doctrine, as you mention them - "faith in God and, particular to Christianity, faith in Jesus Christ." This alone qualifies for my argument. For, could a person be wrong about there being a God or a divine Jesus? My argument is yes, and that the nature of faith makes it more unlikely that a believer will re-evaluate that belief as he or she would other rationality-based beliefs.

    As for Humanists having "lines in the sand", there are basically two: (1) a valuing of human life and human needs, and (2) the stance that open minded freethought and rational skepticism be applied to the furthering of those needs. #1 is not a statement of fact, but merely a decision of priority, so it is irrelevant to talk of faith vs. evidence. #2 is a "line in the sand" but only so far as to say we "shouldn't have lines in the sand". So, on that count, I think the exception is reasonable.

    This is exactly my point. You will have had little choice in believing because of your experience. A person who does not have a similar experience, yet is simply looking at the world around him as best he can, will come to certain conclusions and this is equally beyond his control. So, religious experience or not, we are lead to conclusions (beliefs) based on how all of the things we perceive around us seem to "add up".

    Consider it like this, even if you say that we could technically "choose" between alternatives regarding what we believe, what we can't choose, is our perception of the relative values of those alternatives. In other words, even if I could choose between being a Humanist and being a Neo-Nazi skinhead, what I have absolutely no control over, is the fact that my experiences have painted a picture that makes it seem to me that Humanism is a more ethical and rational choice than Neo-Naziism. So, to expect anyone to select a choice that seems of less value to them would be madness.

    But as for myself, at no time would I ever choose a character for that which I don't believe exists.

    Cool. :) Then this particular criticism would not apply to such branches.

    I think you're right. Reading that again, what I should have said instead of "inevitably leads to" is "faith is a vice because it inevitably encourages intolerance, ignorance, and possibly even violence." So, to correct myself, I didn't mean to imply that all faith leads to these things all the time, but that faith makes one more suseptible to these things. The more liberal branches of theology do not suffer as much from this shortcoming but this is because there are less articles and particulars in their teachings that are strictly faith-based.

    Certainly there IS much to learn there. The Christian is an important historical text. And the sharing of any ideas is always beneficial. But the thesis of my article on faith is that we should learn about all of what the bible has to teach us in a rational way. This means looking at the circumstances under which the bible was written, the historical background, and the likely nature of its writers, instead of merely taking on the writers' beliefs at face value as our own.

    Thanks again for your comments and your reading! :)
     
  12. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    Hey VC. I have read your article also. It was good. However calling faith a vice is like saying love or inner peace is a vice.

    Faith does indeed have a substance and it is something real. Simply because we dont see something physical does not mean it is not there.
    Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.


    This is also a bit off. Faith is not static. I have faith and see a two way street. After you place faith and learn that faith does indeed grow with huge abundance an unending supply, it becomes very much so a two way street.



    This part is a bit off too. Sorry, it is like saying being kind or caring is not in our control.

    Not just a belief system or beliefs. Faith is something different. After looking at your definition I would have to say you have not experienced faith yet and especially faith in God. If you are looking for faith you will never find it. I can understand how that may be for someone who needs to see evidence before they have faith, but it works the other way around. The proof comes after you have faith, not after or based on a previous experience or an experience you may be expecting.
    NOW faith. not yesterday, not tomorrow but RIGHT NOW.

    There is a substance and evidence built into faith. Depends on what you decide to put faith in is how far you will get and how grand it will be.

    Good luck my brother:)
     
  13. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

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    Thanks for the comments Bandit :)

    I think we're talking past one another here, as it seems you're answering my statements on faith, with your definition of the word. To reach a better understanding, even if you don't agree with my definition of faith, consider what I've written regarding the concept of "belief without or despite evidence". Because if one applies a different definition of faith than the one I've stated to my other comments, the whole thing won't make much sense, as you've pointed out. The important thing is that we both know what concepts we're communicating with one another, even if we may have different terminologies for things.



    I think here as well, you may be interpreting my use of the word "static" in a different sense than what was intended. What I'm saying here is that faith encourages people to put a lot of stock into a particular belief or set of beliefs, and that stock they put into the belief encourages them to hang onto those beliefs long after a detatched rational assessment would suggest they should change. How does a "two way street" relate to that critique?

    It's ok if we don't share the same definition of a word (in this case "faith"). We don't need to agree on that for my paper to communicate what it intends to, to you. If you read what I wrote and simply replace, in your mind, my use of the word "faith" with "beliefs without or despite evidence" as you read, then I think you'll get a more true sense of the concepts I'm attempting to communicate.

    Why would a person choose to put their faith in something that they hold no belief in to begin with?

    As I mentioned to Lunamoth, I see several options out there that a person could "put their faith in" as you put it, but what I can't control is my perception that all of these options are no more valid than any other. Are you suggesting I choose one randomly and see if it works? Or are you saying that I should choose yours because you are a better evangelizer than the Hindu? On what basis should I choose which of the thousands of options to place my faith in?
     
  14. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Dear DTStrain,

    Hello, I only have time right now for a couple of quick responses. First, you said in your post to me

    I'm kind of surprised to see you write this considering the sound reply you made in another thead (can't recall which offhand) about the limitations of science when it comes to addressing the existence of God. Perhaps I misunderstood your points in the other thread. I will look for it when I have time. I would say that the statement "God exists" is outside the limits of science to address.

    Second, your definition of faith:
    depicts the same fallacy. If there were objective, scientific evidence one way or another regarding the existence of God we would leave the arena of faith and enter the arena of objectivity. I do not see these arenas as overlapping.

    You are arguing against blind, unquestioning belief, which is a noble cause. However, I still think you are confusing faith in God and faith in religious doctrine. Any ideology, including rationalism and secular humanism, if taken to the extreme can result in abuse and atrocities. Faith is a necessity if one believes in God, but blind belief in any ideology, philosophy or religion is dangerous indeed. Having said that, still we must choose how we are to set our sails if we want to do more than just drift through life.

    Thank you for the dialogue and opportunity for deeper reflection.

    lunamoth
     
  15. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Here is the post by DTS I was referring to from the thread
    http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2127&page=1


    The interior quotes are from patelvipulk's first post.
     
  16. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    Dear VT Strain.:)
    I am not suggesting you do anything. You choose for yourself what to believe and not believe. Maybe some feel they need to 'test' everything as in the options you mention.
    If someone likes the flow of science or religion, then go with that.

    I am just saying your definition in part, is almost opposite of how faith works. In part, It is almost on the lines of persuading someone that faith does not exist. The paper is good and I enjoy your writing, but this one lacks the momentum and movement of what faith is really about.
    If I followed your definition on faith, I would get nowhere real fast:) .

    Faith is not static (Having no motion, being at rest, Fixed, stationary) It is interactive, it moves and it works. Maybe I do not understand you definition of static.
    Everyone puts STOCK in something or we are like a leaf blowing in the wind with no direction.

    In earthly terms...
    Faith is 'like' the gears in a car. They are there and they work, You just do not see them, but they are there. What you see is the function(s) after put into gear. Faith and believing (beliefs) is close, but different.
    Driving down the street without questioning and looking at every inch because you know how to drive down the street. This is high gear. When you drive a different or new street, you might bring it into low gear.

    The gears will not work unless we put them to work. Then later you learn how to slam through the gears and get it up to 80MPH on the freeway and use cruise control, driving with full potential. When you hit the downgrades and steep curves, you bring it into low gear, but they still keep working. Then we learn the gears in slippery and high traffic conditions etc. etc.
    Faith is more than a two way street. Faith lets one move up and down, side to side, frontwards and backwards.
    However I would not suggest faith in driving through a brick wall or jumping from a 40 story building.

    I have always believed I could drive and have different cars. But driving by faith, comes natural over time. You get in and vrooooooooooooom, we are on the road, NOW, not yesterday or tomorrow. Faith is a NOW thing.

    Apply this to spirit and see what happens.

    Vice or virtue? That will depend on the person. IMO, If it is a vice, then it is not faith. Religion is not faith. If religon is faith then it is indeed a vice.
    I wont analyse every sentence of your paper. I am trying to convey something but I dont think I will be able to get it over to you. You leave the reader thinking faith is a vice and not a virtue. But maybe someday you will see it different:)
     
  17. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Hi Bandit, welcome aboard.

    I like your analogy of the car. I might consider faith the engine rather than the gears, but hey, I never took auto shop. :)

    cheers,
    lunamoth
     
  18. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Hi Again DT Strain,

    Before I respond to a couple of your comments I'd just like to point out that, first, I think we are not too far apart in our understanding of faith and reason, but we may be using our terms differently. The opening post described four different facets of faith: belief, trust, loyalty, and worldview, or perspective. My webster's has the following (I will paraphrase somewhat--guess I need to find that online dictionary everyone else uses :) )1. faith : 1a) allegience or duty to a person, 1b) fidelity to one's promises, 2a) (1) belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion, 2b) (1) firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) complete confidence, 3) something that is believed, esp. with strong conviction, esp. a system of religious beliefs. 2. faith: believe, trust.

    OK, so the point of that is just to show that the dictionary definition of faith does not say to believe in something in spite of contradicting tangible evidence. Your definition "belief without, or despite, evidence" is not the one that is commonly held. I have to guess that you are referring to belief in the literal-facutal interpretation of scripture, such as the young-earth creation story. When I use the term faith, unless I put further qualifiers with it, I mean "2b) (1) firm belief in something for which there is no proof ."

    Therefore, I have faith in God. I accept the theory of evolution.

    The second thing, also just to be clear, I am not discussing this with an eye toward somehow convincing you of the existence of God. I post mainly for the opportunity to examine my own beliefs and to understand the beliefs of others. However, I must say that asserting that faith is a vice is on the provocative side and surely you did not think it would slip past without challenge. :)

    I alreaady addressed this one above.

    I wouldn't challenge at all that you are a spiritual, moral, ethical person living a meaningful and beneficial life without religion (I do know of ethical societies that act as community in much the same way as a church might, not that this is necessary). You don't believe in God, or perhaps you are agnostic, but does this really mean you have no faith as I have defined it? You have faith in the value of human life, even if you say this is a priority and not faith. If you value all human life equally, or anyone's life as much as your own even when they might be a burden to you in some way, then you have belief in something for no objective reason.

    I think I already addressed this. Belief in something when there is objective evidence against it is not faith. It is fanaticism. It might also be insanity.

    Those lines in the sand are compatible with faith in God and faith in Christ, as well as faith in many religions. I guess your point is that you don't need religion to hold these beliefs, so why bother when it can lead to intolerance and other abuses. Well, you don't. However I would suggest that the benefits of faith in God come not from intellectual assent but from living a life you know to be not yours to begin with and having that radical trust in Something More than yourself. Not that I am able to do that all, or even most, of the time. The joy is in trying.

    As Bandit says, faith is experiential. I think when he, or I, or anyone tries to explain why faith in something you can't prove is beneficial, it can only come across as our personal experiences. That's all we have to offer, not because we have tested every possible option and determined it to be the best, but because faith is personal and subjective.

    I don't think that faith, even religious faith, necessarily makes one more susceptible to intolerance, abuses etc. It might be an excuse, but the real reasons are fear, insecurity and a need for control. Accusing faith as the weakness that leads to these abuses is barking up the wrong tree.

    Hey, I agree completely. But for Christians the Bible is also sacred and so holds a station above other books of history or philosophy.
    Thank you, too. :)

    lunamoth
     

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