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Source: (consider it) Thread: faith and belief
Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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I could take a particular cosmological theory and not only name it in my conception of how the astrophysical universe and space-time operate, but further propound the particular concept as the most plausible and meaningful one. Yet, this wouldn't involve a radical trust or faith. The theory is not subject to ultimate proof or even much in the way of accumulating evidence. It shares that quality with metaphysical concepts regarding theistic agency in the Creation. Neither category of ideas is ultimately testable or provable, but only the idea of a divine agency in Creation that is also the source of redeeming and sanctifying grace militates for a special category of extra-rational, existential trust that we identify under the category of faith. Faith is nothing to do with preponderance of evidence nor with simple assent to provable propositions such as the heliocentric solar system. It shouldn't be trivialised into the mere assent to formal dogma. It is instead the trusting and courageous affirmation of life,being, and ultimate goodness, I.e., grace freely available, in the face of the nihilistic threat of futility and non-existence. As Christians, we see this grace revealed in the person and gospel of Jesus the Christ. And to be clear, the affirmation of which I speak is not a routine exercise of the intellect but a putting forth of the self into that to which our trust - our faith - is extended. Maybe it is the belief that is beyond belief, something we can only circumlocute but not fully express, since it involves aspects that are both pre-verbal and extra-verbal.
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Jengie jon

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I actually find the virgin birth quite important. It should speak to men of the dignity of women at the very least and that should effect ones behaviour. No man after all has had such an intimate relationship with God.

Jengie

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras:
To get back to the theology of grace, I reject a conflation of faith as trust with belief as intellectual assent or subscription. In my view the idea of faith as involving primarily the holding of right-thinking ideas about God, Christ, the Atonement, Resurrection or any other doctrines overturns the nature of faith, making it into a work - an intentional work of the intellect, but still very much a work that we supposedly bring to God.

Radical trust seems to me a lot more like a work than intellectual assent does.

Also, I query the idea that belief is merely holding ideas at arm's length as it were. A proto-modern idea of belief might have been that beliefs were something that were just presented to us and to which we assent - but modern thinking has it that believing is a more engaged process. In short, if belief and faith are distinct, they're not so distinct that they don't shade off into each other.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Gramps49
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[/QUOTE]I believe in God. [/QB][/QUOTE]


James 2:19
Revised Standard Version (RSV)

19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder.

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LeRoc

Famous Dutch pirate
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quote:
Gramps49: 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder.
Nice one [Big Grin] My statement "I believe in God" was a reaction on Beeswax Altar who asked "Don't you have faith in the Church?"

I have to admit that my faith in the Church (or the church) is faltering. I know that it's in the Nicene Creed, but whenever I recite that part, it is kind of a hope against the odds: "I believe that the Holy Church some day will get its act together."

I do believe in God though. And maybe one day I'll find out whether I'm a demon or not [Smile]

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I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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shadeson
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Beeswax Altar
quote:
At some point, somebody started this idea that faith in scripture means trust and not belief. In Greek, faith and belief mean basically the same thing.
I don’t think it was me that started it. To my mind St. James was trying to say that they are not.

In our world we do define a belief as something which you teach, but not necessarily hold yourself.

Faith as understood by most people in everyday life is action based on belief - showing a belief is held as true.

St. James was opposing those who taught beliefs that they demonstrably did not hold.

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Beeswax Altar
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No, it wasn't you.
Huh?
We do?
We do?
He was?

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Losing sleep is something you want to avoid, if possible.
-Og: King of Bashan

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anteater

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Isn't the Hebrew word behind faith more like faithfulness?

In this sense faith is to do with sticking to a decision to trust despite doubt. So in so far as we doubt, belief gets weaker, but I don't think faith does.

The secular equivalent would be sticking to a strategy which necessarily takes some time to show itself as true, and which at times seems very dubious.

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LeRoc

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quote:
anteater: Isn't the Hebrew word behind faith more like faithfulness?
Well, the English word for faith looks a lot like faithfulness.

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I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
Isn't the Hebrew word behind faith more like faithfulness?

Yes:
quote:
Faith which is a kind of knowledge majoring on the intellectual content of belief is what is essentially conveyed by the Greek word for faith: pistis. T..... the Hebrew word emunah is less about intellectual assent and more about active trust ….. the trajectory of Western. Christianity ... has been dominated by the Hellenistic concept over the Hebraic…… The premium placed on dogmatism and doctrinal orthodoxy has seduced us into a false sense of intellectual security about what qualifies as faith and how we might come to possess it. This leads to a consequential insistence on knowing for sure where Truth in matters of faith is to be found, and who are the gatekeepers guarding the treasure of Truth against error. That in its turn leads to demands for the exclusion or even eradication of those unable or unwilling to signal their assent because they see God differently and want others to share their vision. A New York taxi-driver, possessed of an opinion on philosophy as on everything else, said of Descartes: "too much cogito, not enough sum". Well, Christendom may be said to be skewed by too much pistis and not enough emunah. It stands for factory-farm religion rather than free-range faith. It is this imbalance which makes religion vulnerable to those who need to vest their political and socio-economic ideologies with a semblance of theological authority. If they can insinuate their own credo into the doctrinal formulations of mainstream religion, or at least hitch a ride on them, then they have recruited God to serve their agendas, and the fault-lines in religion as pistis-focused are clearly exposed.


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RuthW

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Please provide the source of the quotation, leo.

RuthW, Temp Purg host

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mousethief

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What B.A. said.

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Plique-à-jour
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
Isn't the Hebrew word behind faith more like faithfulness?

Yes:
quote:
Faith which is a kind of knowledge majoring on the intellectual content of belief is what is essentially conveyed by the Greek word for faith: pistis. T..... the Hebrew word emunah is less about intellectual assent and more about active trust ….. the trajectory of Western. Christianity ... has been dominated by the Hellenistic concept over the Hebraic…… The premium placed on dogmatism and doctrinal orthodoxy has seduced us into a false sense of intellectual security about what qualifies as faith and how we might come to possess it. This leads to a consequential insistence on knowing for sure where Truth in matters of faith is to be found, and who are the gatekeepers guarding the treasure of Truth against error. That in its turn leads to demands for the exclusion or even eradication of those unable or unwilling to signal their assent because they see God differently and want others to share their vision. A New York taxi-driver, possessed of an opinion on philosophy as on everything else, said of Descartes: "too much cogito, not enough sum". Well, Christendom may be said to be skewed by too much pistis and not enough emunah. It stands for factory-farm religion rather than free-range faith. It is this imbalance which makes religion vulnerable to those who need to vest their political and socio-economic ideologies with a semblance of theological authority. If they can insinuate their own credo into the doctrinal formulations of mainstream religion, or at least hitch a ride on them, then they have recruited God to serve their agendas, and the fault-lines in religion as pistis-focused are clearly exposed.

You removed enough stuff for this to be a misrepresentation of his point. Is that why you didn't attribute it? I refer you to the next paragraph:

quote:
Originally noted by John Saxbee:
It is important to be clear that it is not a matter of emunah but not pistis.



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Cara
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I am confused because I thought Karen Armstrong (and others) maintain "pistis" itself was not so much about intellectual assent.
But more about trust, allegiance:
I will follow you, I believe in you---not, I believe in certain tenets about you.

In other words, closer to the Hebrew meaning (discussed in the paragraph quoted) than to our modern "faith." Not in opposition to the Hebrew word, as depicted there.

And that it was the Enlightenment and subsequent search for definitions, taxonomy, things cut-and-dried etc that changed the way we see "pistis."

The ancient meanings, whether Greek or Hebrew, were both more about allegiance and not acceptance of certain doctrines.

But I'm no scholar of ancient languages....

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shadeson
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# 17132

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Prior to having the boot put in, I was hoping for the discussion that subsequently has taken place. It seems a bit rarefied though.
What exactly is the “intellectual content of belief”?

Are there (modern English) words which distinguish between beliefs that can only be taught and beliefs that can be acted on? An example might be creationism and evolution.

It seems that St. James was not quite thinking along these lines - it make you wonder what he would have said though.

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leo
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# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
Please provide the source of the quotation, leo.

RuthW, Temp Purg host

Sorry - intended do but probably got distracted by phone or whatever.

No Faith in Religion: Some variations on a Theme – John Saxbee pp. 8-9

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Plique-à-jour:
You removed enough stuff for this to be a misrepresentation of his point. Is that why you didn't attribute it? I refer you to the next paragraph:

quote:
Originally noted by John Saxbee:
It is important to be clear that it is not a matter of emunah but not pistis.


I removed enough stuff to avoid falling foul of copyright, which is currently being debated in The Styx.

But on the quotation you give, which is a poage later than that which i quoted, so was not deliberately 'removed' - I see your point. BUT he defends liberals against those who accuse them of having no pistis by explaining that liberals take it seriously. That is why they write modern creeds rather than just ignoring the original. (p. 10) But he goes on to say that pistis without enumah tends to 'fossilise faith' and 'lacks the active trust needed to transform our lives (quoting C F Evans).

I think I represent him correctly because a group of us were discussing this with him last Saturday at a Modern Church conference, which is why it is so fresh in my mind.

I'd like to hear more about your take on this, not least because it takes us to the very heart of how/if religion can help or hinder our relationship with Jesus/God.

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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Plique-à-jour
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# 17717

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I removed enough stuff to avoid falling foul of copyright, which is currently being debated in The Styx.

Oh, it was a word count thing. Righto.


quote:
Originally posted by leo:
But on the quotation you give, which is a poage later than that which i quoted, so was not deliberately 'removed' - I see your point.

Indeed, I didn't think that bit was removed.


quote:
Originally posted by leo:
BUT he defends liberals against those who accuse them of having no pistis by explaining that liberals take it seriously. That is why they write modern creeds rather than just ignoring the original. (p. 10) But he goes on to say that pistis without enumah tends to 'fossilise faith' and 'lacks the active trust needed to transform our lives (quoting C F Evans).

I'd say that's a simplification of his point. He's also saying that enumah without pistis loses something.


quote:
Originally posted by leo:

I think I represent him correctly because a group of us were discussing this with him last Saturday at a Modern Church conference, which is why it is so fresh in my mind.

I'd like to hear more about your take on this, not least because it takes us to the very heart of how/if religion can help or hinder our relationship with Jesus/God.

I have nothing to add to my post on the first page.

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