Re: On Tillich

From: Don Winterstein (
Date: Sat May 24 2003 - 03:48:11 EDT

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    How about: Faith comes through feelings moderated by a minimum of reason. Afterwards, people use reason to buttress their beliefs and make them sound reasonable. Reason does not create faith but rather serves faith.

    (People are rightfully suspicious of "truths" whose only support is pure reason.)

    As St. Anselm wrote in Cur Deus Homo, believers request his rational explanations "...not for the sake of attaining to faith by means of reason, but that they may be gladdened by understanding."

    This is true for the kinds of faith that grasp the major unprovables, including the faith of those who believe in God and of those who believe there is no God, and of those who love G.W. Bush and those who hate him.


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Jim Armstrong
      To: Dick Fischer ;
      Sent: Friday, May 23, 2003 10:11 AM
      Subject: Re: On Tillich

      Well, FWIW, reason and faith appear at least complementary, manifesting the "contrasting" meaning of antithetical rather than the "opposed" meaning. As a matter of experience we humans begin our sojourn in this world in a mode that is basically all faith (at least as contrasted with reason). With maturity, reason grows and moves into the forefront as the dominant mode of operation, not displacing faith but increasingly the predominant way day to day living is conducted. With time a separate identifiable domain of faith takes on definition precisely because it constrasts with the rational. For most, this is characterized as a domain of spiritual faith that is the essence of the topic. In that sense, "Reason is the precondition of faith.", bringing definition to what faith is. However there is also the less recognized unconscious and ubiquitous use of mental constructs about life, nature, and people that are are very real everyday moment-by-moment expressions of faith. These mental constructs are also at the heart of scientific understanding. In that sense, faith was really never left behind with the development of reason, but is interwoven with it, though distinct from it. So I see faith and reason as complementary and inextricably interleaved, with each serving to bring greater definition to the other as one reflects on them and their interactions.

      Jim Armstrong

      Dick Fischer wrote:

        Hi Burgy, you wrote:

          I had said my books were packed away for the move, but I was mistaken;
          Tillich's DYNAMICS OF FAITH was still on my night table. Here are a few
          passages from this book -- a primary source on Tillich:

          "Reason is the precondition of faith;

        The first phrase is 180 degrees out. Reason is the antithesis of faith. Why quote any further?

        Dick Fischer - Genesis Proclaimed Association
        Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History

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