From: Rich Blinne (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue May 27 2003 - 13:50:29 EDT
> -----Original Message-----
> From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On
> Behalf Of John W Burgeson
> Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2003 8:57 AM
> To: email@example.com
> Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: Re: On Tillich
> 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. ...
> Indeed, it is only since the Enlightenment that faith has been defined as
> intellectual submission to a creed.
That is not historically correct. Note the following from Anselm's Cur Deus
Homo (Why the God-man?):
"As the right order requires us to believe the deep things of Christian
faith [profunda Christianae fidei] before we undertake to discuss them by
reason; so to my mind it appears a neglect if, after we are established in
the faith, we do not seek to understand what we believe. Therefore, since I
thus consider myself to hold the faith of our redemption, by the prevenient
grace of God, so that, even were I unable in any way to understand what I
believe, still nothing could shake my constancy; I desire that you I should
discover to me, what, as you know, many besides myself ask, for what
necessity and cause God, who is omnipotent, should have assumed the
littleness and weakness of human nature for the sake of its renewal?"
Belief here was the belief in the doctrine of the necessity of the
incarnartion and thus is an intellectual submission to a creed. So, it is
an historical error to say that faith as defined as intellectual submission
to a creed did not exist prior to the Enlightenment. For Anselm, faith was
prior to reason: credo ut intelligam(I believe that I might understand).
For the Scholastics that followed Anselm it was the the other way around:
Intelligo ut credam (I understand that I might believe).
Personally, I think it is a mistake to *absolutely* ground faith or reason
in the other. It is more of a spiral where faith and reason feed each
other. Note Jesus' answer to the request, "I believe, help my unbelief."
[Mark 9:24] Jesus' answer to the request was the miracle of driving out the
demons out of the father's son. He provided evidence which strengthened the
father's belief. So, the order here was faith->reason->more faith.
Even taking what I think is your definition that faith is exclusively
believing IN and not believing THAT you still need to have some sort of
modus vivendi between faith and reason. If you trust someone as trustworthy
there must be some evidence that the person is worthy of your trust. Having
trusted someone and then experiencing that the trust is well placed
increases your reasons for trusting. Thus, you believe THAT the person is
trustworthy. So, even starting with a "believing in" definition of faith it
is unavoidable to have some "believing that" faith, also. While we may
distinguish notional and fiducial faith, they should not be separated. The
same with faith and reason. Let no man rend what God has joined together.
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