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luthitarian

Faith As Acceptance And Trust

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Kay, I agree that it's the narrative of scripture (and the poetry) that moves us to relationship with the divine, rather than the propositional aspect. One can't know God through reason, but through emotion and imagination...that part of the spirit.

 

Reading this thread again, it seems like Luthitarian's original topic was only half covered...what about the "acceptance" part? of faith? Does it mean accepting the truth of others' religions? believing in oneself when people turn against you? accepting the world as it is? accepting grace? Or maybe all of the above...

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One can't know God through reason, but through emotion and imagination...that part of the spirit.

 

I adamently disagree. If God is God then we can completely know God through Reason. God is afterall, the author of Reason. God certainly did not give us a brain and the ability to use it and then tell us to stop using the brain we were given!

 

It is emotion which keeps us from God. The ups and downs of life. Read through the Psalms. One minute God is far away and has abonded the Psalmist the next God is invovled in every aspect of his(?) life. So which is it? Has God abandoned the writer or is God always there? The Psalmist is expression his own emotion regarding how he feels at the moment. God isn't any further away or an closer based on the Psalmist experience. It is only when the Psalmist can remind himself using his reason that God is there regardless of how he is currenlty feeling that he will be able to truly know God at all times!

 

Now Imagination, that is another story.

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Well, maybe I should have said we can't know God through reason or intellect alone. Of course God does want us to use our intelligence.

 

I don't agree that emotion separates us from God, especially in the example of the psalms. It is David's abiding trust in his relationship with God, that gives him the confidence to share all his passing feelings with God--his anger, joy, fear, guilt, grief, awe, gratitude, etc.

Edited by rivanna

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Could it be that there are different paths for different personalities? A person prone to emotions would seek and find God or the infinite in his/her emotional journey of devotion while the intellectual will find it in the rational pursuits that qualify or leads one to the divine. It is so nice to have different flowers in the garden.

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That's a nice way of putting it, yes. We probably all relate to God through a combination of head and heart; for some the emphasis is more in one direction than the other.

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If God is God then we can completely know God through Reason. God is afterall, the author of Reason. God certainly did not give us a brain and the ability to use it and then tell us to stop using the brain we were given! It is emotion which keeps us from God. The ups and downs of life.

 

I feel October is almost there. Let's bring this idea around to a Quaker perspective for a moment. If we believe that God is an in-dwelling God, that God is within each and every one of us, then it is possible to know God directly. I believe it is not only emotions, but distractions and the clutter of everyday life...the competition for our time, thoughts, energies, etc. that keeps us from establishing a personal, deep relationship with our in-dwelling God. To center oneself, to stop and listen in silence, will bring us to within earshot of the 'still, small voice'. This is my biggest hurdle in Faith...to center and listen.

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I adamently disagree. If God is God then we can completely know God through Reason. God is afterall, the author of Reason. God certainly did not give us a brain and the ability to use it and then tell us to stop using the brain we were given!

 

(snip)

 

Hello October,

 

It seems to me if God were a man then your statement might be true. Perhaps you might consider this. The things that are seen are made from the unseen. God is a Spirit. Form is manifested from non-form. Reason is a product of form and with it cannot 'see' beyond itself. The brain is created and is temporary and cannot know God through its devices. That which is flesh is flesh and that which is spirit is spirit. Just as the eye can only be an eye and cannot be an ear and likewise the ear can only channel sound and not sight, the brain cannot 'see' beyond itself. It can reason and create theology and myths about God but it cannot know God. The good news is that the 'real you' is not the body and mind but rather eternal spirit and through that spirit 'knows' God.

 

Just a different view to consider,

Love in Christ,

JM

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Russ, I think you are geting to the heart of the matter and bringing the topic full circle back to the premise of Point 2.

 

True spirituality is not about dogma, a book, a creed, and is not exclusive. True spirituality is an experience of the love of God. That is why we need to recognize other's paths as being just as valid as ours. Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, too are on a path to God that can lead to the love of God and the love of their fellow man.

 

Once we have started to experience the love of God and are extending that love to others, we are in sync with Jesus' two great commandments. We are then doing what we are supposed to do, leave the judging to God.

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God is a complicated situation that is so far beyond the grasp of languages that it cannot be expressed at all in an un-paradoxical manner, which is why it uses intuition. Throughout the different ages men and women have been intuitively aware of the existence of such a state, and among the saints and mystics of all times in all religions there is a common experience of unity. The common person cannot see or feel this experience because they have not gone pass the stage of judging others. It is natural that this would happen because some people have developed themselves more than others and are use to feeling and seeing in a dimension distinct from what others know.

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Sorry I've come to this discussion so late, but the line that hits home for me is: "Scripture is narrative that moves (hopefully) one to a relationship with the Divine;"

 

That's the key. Our spiritual life is a pilgrimage, a story, a journey. The Scriptures is the telling of the story of a particular people to whom Christians belong by their choice. The Bible is not a book of propositions and rules (I've always thought the development of numbering the lines of the Bible was unfortunate. What other type of book has such numbering? Law Books.) It is not just rational mind, but heart and feeling and will and body and companionship and all aspects of our humanity. God speaks to us through all these aspects. All is grist for the mill. In His love, He works hard to reach us no matter where we are. He works to find a way to us and that way may be different for each of us as we are all different people.

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Aslans, Good post, a journey towards unity and a new way of living. As we progress on this journey to oneness, we find our lives gradually transformed in a positive way, which includes both the conscious and the unconscious. This balance brings the discovery of a new reality along with a balance between the rational and the irrational, between the intellect and instinct, and between the conscious mind and the unconscious. As we acquire unity, we see that nothing exist in isolation so the nature of our being is unity, a unity of body, mind and spirit. Wholeness or holiness can be achieved with a watchful mind and the knowledge that everything is united in God, if old fears, doubts and prejudices wear away to make room for new ideas and understanding

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"their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us" leans towords separation rather than unity. If major religions agree to disagree, sooner or later they will get into a conflict. In the Kabbalist way of thinking, belief doesn't cut it. Faith and trust in someone else or someone else's beliefs can often lead down a dark path. The current religious organizations are built on beliefs. Christianity, in spite of its common belief in Jesus, has split into approximately 1500 different faith groups. Islam has split into the Sunni and Shi'a movements and each of these has spawned a number of splinter groups with each group having a different version of what they believe in. Judaism has split into three main factions; Orthodox, Reform and Conservative, each with their own set of beliefs. A group calling themselves Buddhists splintered from Hinduism. The history of the fractioning of religious groups is very extensive. Why is this happening when we all have the same god? The reason is simple. When it comes to harmony and unity, belief (or faith) doesn’t cut it. Faith produces credulity and splits us apart, sometimes to the point where we become killing machines against each other. During medieval times, belief in the sanctity of the Pope produced the murderous crusades against the Moslems and the Albegensian Christians. The world has been turned over to faith and faith has overturned her, so now she stands in darkness. Knowing is always greater than believing. Belief produces polarization, confrontational behaviour, war, mass suicides and suicide bombers and must be driven to extinction and replaced with knowing before harmony can exist. For 2000 years the Gnostic Christians have been telling us this, but nobody seems to be paying attention. If chaos is our objective, then faith and belief is what we need. Never believe anything or have faith in anything that anybody tells you. You must know it in your perception or know it intuitively or take with a grain of salt. What will bring us together is knowing and not just believing that I(bold italics) am god.

 

If Jesus was talking about the god I(bold Italics) instead of himself, then Christianity is truly universal as the name Catholic suggests. I am Allah, I am Christ, I am Buddha, I am the god of all relligions. If this is the case, then it is incumbant upon all Christians to learn in detail the faiths of all other religions and to speak in the first person when discussing your opinions. For example, to make a point that you think is true, you could say, "I Allah did not instruct Gabriel to tell Mohammed that a dowry be given to the groom. It was He Allah, the male god of Islam who instructed Gabriel on the matter of the dowry." This allows you to make a point without being confrontational. You are going one step up instead of being confrontational. In fact, if you speak in the first person on any point that you make that may be considered confrontational, it is wise to speak in the first person. If the other person is comfortable with the way he feels about the point, it allows hin to stay there.

 

In addition, if you are promoting the god I(bold Italics) you are not promoting any particular religion. You are simply pointing out that I(bold Italics) am the way and the light and the truth. All religions may have their own truths, but if some of them lead to chaos instead of harmony, is it not wise to find a way to change the way of thinking of those who prefer chaos?

 

BOBD

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BobD,

 

I agree that belief, as mental assent to a set of creeds or doctrines, leads to divisiveness and conflict. But I don't think we should use the words belief and faith interchangeably. Using the word knowledge to mean faith (as I think you are doing) implies mental certainty.

 

Faith to me does mean "acceptance and trust" -- being centered in God, faithful to a relationship with God, a commitment of the heart-- attitudes that tend to reconcile us to others, lead to mutual respect and understanding. At least that is the way it seems to me.

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BobD,

 

I agree that belief, as mental assent to a set of creeds or doctrines, leads to divisiveness and conflict. But I don't think we should use the words belief and faith interchangeably. Using the word knowledge to mean faith (as I think you are doing) implies mental certainty.

 

Faith to me does mean "acceptance and trust" -- being centered in God, faithful to a relationship with God, a commitment of the heart-- attitudes that tend to reconcile us to others, lead to mutual respect and understanding. At least that is the way it seems to me.

 

Hi rivanna,

 

I think alot of people share your definition however I agree with bobd because I define faith as it is defined in Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

 

It seems to me this agrees with Jesus's teaching but not with the current use of the word faith By some of the church orginizations and most Christians. Faith to me has nothing to do with belief. Faith is 'seeing' the evidence in the spirit. It leaves no room for belief which may or may not be true. Faith on the otherhand is 'knowing'. Just a different view to consider though most will concur with your view.

 

Love in Christ,

JM

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I think it makes more sense to say the cause of war and "darkness in the world" is fundamentalism--whether Islam, Zionism, or Christianity--rather than faith.

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The Greek word "pistis" is a noun. It is usually translated as faith, something that is had.

 

The Greek word "pisteuo" is a verb, and is usually translated as believe. Another way to translate believe would be "to have faith in." It is an action.

 

The Greek word "gnosis" is a noun. It is usually translated as knowledge, something that is had.

 

The Greek word "Epiginosko" is a verb, and is usally translated as to know, to recognize, to perceive or to ascertain. It is an action.

 

Faith and belief are relatively interchangeable terms. Knowledge is a seperate term and pretty much stands alone. I'm not big on using the term "belief" when a more appropriate word would be "know," or vice versa. :)

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Thanks for the clarification Kay. It appears to me that Hebrews 11:1 speaks stronger than belief using the word faith but perhaps that is not an accurate perception of what the writers meant.

 

Thanks again,

JM

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