From: John W Burgeson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue May 27 2003 - 10:56:59 EDT
Dick wrote "The first phrase is 180 degrees out. Reason is the
antithesis of faith. Why quote any further? "
One does not have to agree with Tillich to benefit from his insights.
Rich wrote:" I disagree completely that reason is the antithesis of
faith. If you have no reason what is it to be faithful but a whim or out
of fear? If you abandon the self to a greater being, understanding full
well what you are doing, is this not a more heroic posture than if you
didn't know what you are doing at all? "
I find myself in disagreement with both of you. I found yesterday in the
book EVERY EYE BEHOLDS YOU (ed by Craughwell (1998) these words from
Karen Armstrong (in the book's introduction):
"We tend to equate faith with believing certain things about God or the
sacred. A religious person is often called a "believer' and seen as one
who has adopted the correct ideas about the divine. Belief is thus seen
as the first and essential step of the spiritual journey. Before we
embark ... we think that we must first satisfy ourselves intellectually
that there IS a God or that the truths of our particular tradition --
Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or whatever -- are valid. It
seems pointless to make a commitment unless we are convinced about the
essentials. In our modern, scientific world, this makes good sense. First
-- you establish a principle and then you apply it.
But the history of religion makes it clear this is not how it works. To
expect to have faith before embarking on the disciplines of the spiritual
life is like putting the cart before the horse. In all the great
traditions, prophets, sages and mystics spend very little time telling
their disciples about what they ought to BELIEVE. Indeed, it is only
since the Enlightenment that faith has been defined as intellectual
submission to a creed. Hitherto, faith ... meant trust and was used in
rather the same way as when we say we have faith IN a person or an ideal.
Faith was thus a ... conviction that ... our lives did have some meaning
and value. You could not possibly arrive at faith in this sense before
you had lived a religious life. Faith was thus the fruit ... not
something you had to have at the start ... ."
John Burgeson (Burgy)
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