From: George Murphy (email@example.com)
Date: Sat May 24 2003 - 09:44:58 EDT
Howard J. Van Till wrote:
> >From: John W Burgeson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > 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
> 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.
George L. Murphy
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