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On Faith


Cynthia
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I thought you all would like this quote. It, to me, sums up to case for progressive religion.

 

The Essential Alan Watts

On FAITH

Faith is a state of openness or trust. To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. And the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging to belief, of holding on. In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe, becomes a person who has no faith at all. Instead they are holding tight. But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.

 

 

Any thoughts?

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Cynthia-

 

I agree that faith is a state of trust, and it allows me to relax and float, versus pound the water.

 

I disagree, however, that it is the opposite of clinging to belief. It is specifically my beliefs about Jesus, His love and mercy, and His character that sustains me. I cling to Him and hold tight, when everything else (circumstances, feelings) tells me to pull away, because of what I know about Him. He is the object of my faith.

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But Darby, though I would say you are much more conservative than most of the people here, by definition. I wouldn't say you are a at all a fanatic. A fanatic would be unable to carry on such a dialogue.

 

Your statement about clinging is interesting. Do you hold tight or firmly or cling? I know it sounds like a bit of a nitpick but it isn't really. Clinging is grabbing with such strength that if it were a person you would knock him/her over. Holding fast is holding on so tightly that if the other person falls you would fall. Do you get my drift?

 

 

Gosh this is really hard, defining what are in the end undefinables in words. But we do our best.

I do like the relax and float (this follows nicely with Fox's "via negativa"-- the letting go.

Then there is the hold fast, which would be Fox's "via positiva".

I think you need both.

 

 

--des

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As an aside, Jim Cymbala, pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church, has a great book on faith, titled "Fresh Faith," I believe. In the book, he makes the point that it was faith that impressed Jesus the most during His time on earth. As people came to Him, sometimes just to touch the hem of His robe, it was their faith that impressed Him, and He routinely commented on it.

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I like the water image. Have you ever just floated out in the ocean? If you are worried about the waves and try to avoid being washed over, you always get a mouthful. If you relax, trust, and float, they just pick you up and set you down. Always seems like a great example of faith to me... the ocean is as big and powerful as I can imagine - - - God is bigger, but my imagination is limited, so they are similar to me.

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darby:

 

Belief, Faith, Trust Which is it?

 

Is the "object of your faith the historical Jesus or the Christ Myth? I trust in God precisely because of this problem with "Belief". Marccus Borg would have us "Faithing" and not "Believing" in our "seeing". So would I! but both can divide us: Those who would stress the humanity of Jesus over those who would demand the divinity of Christ be dominant. The "Reality" remains, for me, with the God I trust.Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists.

 

Jeep

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In Aletheia's honor I am defining these, see if this helps the discussion (or not :-)).

I also tried colors, I doubt that will work. I'm snipping definitions that aren't relevant.

(From dictionary.com btw).

 

faith   

n.

1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.

 

2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief. See Synonyms at trust.

 

3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.

 

4. Faith Christianity. The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.

 

6 . A set of principles or beliefs.

[/color=blue]

 

Belief

1.The mental act, condition, or habit of placing trust or confidence in another: My belief in you is as strong as ever.

 

2.Mental acceptance of and conviction in the truth, actuality, or validity of something: His explanation of what happened defies belief.

 

3.Something believed or accepted as true, especially a particular tenet or a body of tenets accepted by a group of persons.

[/color=green]

 

Trust

1.Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing.

 

4. The condition and resulting obligation of having confidence placed in one:

 

b. One in which confidence is placed.

 

5. Reliance on something in the future; hope.

 

[/color=red]

 

 

To me there is a lot of overlap, and possibly couldn't have one without the other.

Faith is the only one that out and out states that you believe something without logical constraints. Whether you have faith in the "historical Jesus" or "the mythos of Jesus" (I use myth here in the purest and non-judgemental form-- why I said mythos instead), faith would apply. Of course, a conservative would not separate those two, while I would. But the faith aspect would be similar.

 

I'd also say that my faith/belief changes, both grows and at times waivers. My sister doesn't act like her's does, but I know from this list that not all conservatives are like my sister.

 

Jeep, I think that both the humanity and divinity of Jesus are necessary. We might define that differently though.

 

 

nothing unreal exists

 

Isn't that the third Vulcan law? :-)

 

 

--des

who watches too much Star Trek :-)

 

Woops color didn't work. Maybe Aletheia can tell me what I did wrong?

Edited by des
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God is bigger, but my imagination is limited, so they are similar to me.   

 

Ok for you Bible quoters out there: Where is that quote about the Spirit (I think) being greater than our imaginations, stronger than our needs, more powerful (?) than our togetherness. ??

 

I always liked that.

 

--des

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Des, I don't think that phrase is in the Bible, rather, its a Benediction/Blessing:

 

BENEDICTION

The grace of God, deeper than our imagination;

The strength of Christ, stronger than our need;

And the communion of the Holy Spirit, richer than our togetherness,

Guide and sustain us today and in all our tomorrows. Amen.

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I like the Benediction. It reminds me of a song I've heard at a very contempory service...

 

Your Love is deep

Your love is high

Your love is long

and

Your love is wide.

 

Your love is deeper than my view of grace

Higher than this worldly place

Longer than this road I travel

Wider than the gap you fill.

 

God is big... to me, that makes it all easier. I can't understand God - there's freedom there. It makes it easier for me to focus on trusting God; on remembering and noticing all the good things He does for me all the time... to know that He's good (not safe, but good ala CS Lewis).

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Well that explains that. I didn't ever remember that from the Bible (and aspects sound a bit too modern), but last week our senior pastor was installed. He opened a little book that looked like a Bible, but didn't identify book/passage and commented that one of the other pastors that spoke knew this by heart but he'd have to read it. And he read it as a benediction. And he usually uses this as a benediction-- I've come to really like it.

 

--des

 

 

Des, I don't think that phrase is in the Bible, rather, its a Benediction/Blessing:

 

BENEDICTION

The grace of God, deeper than our imagination;

The strength of Christ, stronger than our need;

And the communion of the Holy Spirit, richer than our togetherness,

Guide and sustain us today and in all our tomorrows. Amen.

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  • 11 months later...

For a long time, I've wished people would use "faith" to mean trust and devotion, instead of belief. I don't think belief alone provides faith.

 

At the same time, I find faith to involve belief in the unknowable, but not in the unbelievable. That gets to an even bigger question. What's the difference between true faith and false faith? Do you just have to wait and see which one works and which one fails? It could be a long wait. Of course, one could decide if someone else's faith fails, if it leads to hypocrisy, selfishness and believing in the unbelievable. I've crossed a lot of religions off my list by seeing that.

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For a long time, I've wished people would use "faith" to mean trust and devotion, instead of belief. I don't think belief alone provides faith.

 

I like this comment very much. The word "trust" makes it easier to express myself. I can now say that "trust" is something i do (verb) in contrast to something I have (noun). When I use the word "belief" I take it in the sense of the correspondence theory of truth, meaning that it is my responsibilty to match (make sure that) there is a correspondence between what I hold to be a fact and what is a fact in the "real" world. This is in contrast to a "desire" where something in the "real" world must change to match my internal state. Out of this I could say that "I once longed to trust God, and now I do." (etc)

 

minsocal :D

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I thought you all would like this quote.  It, to me, sums up to case for progressive religion.

 

The Essential Alan Watts

On FAITH

  Faith is a state of openness or trust. To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. And the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging to belief, of holding on. In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe, becomes a person who has no faith at all. Instead they are holding tight. But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.

 

 

Any thoughts?

 

 

Cynthia......I really like your concept of faith stated here.."But the attitude of faith is to let go". What a radical new concept. All of we fundamentalist were taught to 'hang on' in faith, until God answered our prayer. I am coming to believe, that is not how much or how often we pray that matters...but how much we trust the waters of grace to hold our heads above water.

 

Thank you for this post,

 

Jerryb

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