Re: On Tillich

From: George Murphy (gmurphy@raex.com)
Date: Sat May 24 2003 - 09:44:58 EDT

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    Howard J. Van Till wrote:
    >
    > >From: John W Burgeson <jwburgeson@juno.com>
    >
    > > 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; faith is the act in which reason
    > > reaches ecstatically beyond itself. ... Reason is not bound to its own
    > > finitude. It is aware of it and, in so doing, rises above it." (Pg. 87)
    > >
    > > "Reason can be fulfilled only if it is driven beyond the limits of its
    > > finitude, and experiences the presence of the ultimate, the holy." (Pg.
    > > 88)
    >
    > Some discussion re the character of faith has followed from this.
    >
    > A couple of years ago Marcus Borg preached a sermon in our church titled:
    > "The Meaning of Faith: Relationship, Not Belief."
    >
    > In this sermon he distinguished among several ways in which the word 'faith'
    > is employed. These could be helpful in clarifying some of this discussion.
    > As I recall, his distinctions were:
    >
    > 1) faith as assensus -- to give mental assent to the truth of some
    > statement.
    >
    > 2) faith as fidelitas -- to be faithful to a relationship.
    >
    > 3) faith as fiducia -- to trust in God -- not in mere statements about God,
    > but in God.
    >
    > 4) faith as visio -- a way of seeing the whole of reality
    >
    > I believe -- "credo" -- means, "I give my heart to .... "
    >
    > "Believing" could mean "beloving" -- assuring fidelity, practicing trust,
    > seeing life positively.

            Alternatively, one can speak about the _components_ of faith. The traditional
    analysis sees 3: /notitia/ the knowledge of what is to be believed, /assensus/, assent
    to its truth, and /fiducia/, trust. All 3 components have traditionally been seen
    as necessary for "saving faith" in the Christian tradition. This is admittedly oriented
    to a propositional understanding of religious truth, but the fact that the 3d element is
    crucial at least partially transcends such a view. OTOH, simply trusting in you know
    not what is inadequate.
            I question whether it's helpful to speaking about "believing" as "beloving."
    Genuine faith - in the above sense - is indeed to be "active in love," but the
    distinctions between faith, hope, and love are worth making, at least for the purposes
    of theological analysis.

                                                            Shalom,
                                                            George

    George L. Murphy
    gmurphy@raex.com
    http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/



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