Re: Faith vs religious issues

Murphy (
Tue, 13 Aug 1996 19:43:23 -0400

ena vanzyl wrote:
> Our discussion group covers very relevant and important issues, that's
> often discussed with great enthusiasm. This is good, but please allow
> me ro raise another issue.
> Where do we as scientists draw the line between faith in God (with
> that allow me to refer to faith like a child) and the digestion of
> religious issues. How do we react towards the so called "grey" issues
> where the Bible doesn't give us a clear guideline? As scientists it is
> often difficult to accept that we just don't know. With that I do not
> mean that issues that does not have a definite answer should be left
> undiscussed, only that sometimes it may be good to accept that we
> still have a long way to go in understanding some issues and in fact
> may never understand most fully.
> The division that exist among churches and between Christians is
> surely not to the glory of God. Perhaps it is important to remember
> that we should first love the Lord our God with all, our neighbors as
> ourselves and that THEN all else shall be added unto us.
> Please forgive me for sounding like a preacher, my objective is rather
> to raise some discussion regarding his issue.
> Ena van Zyl

It's important to make a distinction here between our faith and
our theology, the latter being the way we think about, formalize, etc.
our faith. There is "one faith" (Eph.4:5), but not one definitive way
of thinking about that faith. There is a variety of theologies within
the New testament itself - Paul & James, e.g. The tendency is, if
anything, increased in the course of Christian history.
What makes it difficult is when there are different theologies
which are in fact expressions of DIFFERENT faiths. That's the problem
of heresy. It is sometimes difficult to tell whether two views are in
fact expressing different faiths or whether they can be seen as
expressions of the same faith. That's why theologians need to be
broadly trained, critical, and willing to take some chances.
What is involved here is what I have called "theological
covariance". As in Einstein's relativity theory, there are physical
laws which are in a sense absolute, but the way they are written down
and the values assigned to different quantities (e.g., length & time)
are different in different reference frames.
George Murphy