Faith (was Re: resurrection etc)

From: george murphy (
Date: Sat Feb 16 2002 - 12:53:59 EST

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    John W Burgeson wrote:

    > Finally, as I understand Marcus Borg, I think he would challenge all
    > three as being "beliefs that a statement is true" vs "beliefs (trust) in
    > a person, Jesus the Christ," and so, while such beliefs reasonably follow
    > a conversion to Christianity, they do not lead. In this, I tentatively
    > agree.

            Because of the importance of the topic I will point out again that
    this distinction, while containing an important element of truth, is
    oversimplified. Who is the "person, Jesus Christ" in whom I'm to trust? Can
    I trust in him if he never lived? Is it meaningful to talk about trusting in
    Person X without some kind of factual identification of Person X and some
    kind of belief that the proposition "Person X exists" is true?

            The old scholastic "analysis of faith" can be applied too
    mechanically but it can be helpful. According to this, faith involves 1)
    knowledge of what is to be believed" (_notitia_), 2) assent to its truth
    (_assensus_) and 3) trust (_fiducia_). This is misleading if the first two
    parts are thought to require explicit assent to a formal list of
    propositions, but it does bring out the idea that we're supposed to know who
    or what we put our trust in.

            I sometimes illustrate this with the following example. 1) I am told
    that some person is a surgeon and understand what that means. 2) I go to
    that person's office, see diplomas & board certificates &c and am convinced
    that he or she really is a surgeon. But if after examination the surgeon
    says, "You're going to die unless I operate on you right now", the crucial
    question is not about the facts of his or her resume but 3, Can I put my life
    in this person's hands?
            But what sense would the following dialogue make?
            GLM: "I'm going to let Dr. D perform a life or death operation on me
            JB: "Who is Dr. D?"
            GLM: "I don't know."



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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