Spirituality: Whence the Wind?

"The aim of the Spiritual Growth Network of Kentucky is to empower others to pursue their respective spiritual journeys." We seek to encourage the reader to listen to the inner journey and the promptings of the Wind, wherever, however, whenever. --facilitator is Paschal Baute. SGN of KY is a nonprofit, nondenominational, educational corporation established in Kentucky in 1989. www.lexpages.com/sgn "Be still and know that I am the Lord." Psalm 46:10

Thursday, May 19, 2005

What is the meaning of "faith" and "God"?

"Faith is a quality of human living, which at its best has taken the form of serenity and courage and service; a quiet confidence and joy that enable one to feel at home in the universe, and to find meaning in the world and in one's life, a meaning that is profound and ultimate, and stable no matter what may happen to oneself at the level of immediate event. Men and women of this kind of faith face catastrophe or confusion, affluence or sorrow, unper­turbed, face opportunity with conviction and drive, and face others with self-forgetting charity." -from Wilfrid Cantwell Smith, quoted in Why Doctrines, by Charles Hefling, Jr. Cowley Publishing, 1984.

"Having faith is being certain that there is something to live for, some purpose or direction or goal, a reason why life goes on and should go on. There are, of course, many things to live for, such as family, nation, job, other people's esteem, justice, pleasure, knowledge, or property. Any of these can be what Paul Tillich calls an ultimate concern, and in that sense become the object of faith.

"In the religious sense, however, faith is something more. It is knowledge that depends on conversion, knowledge appre­hended in the light of love, knowledge that is conscious yet not the self-generated product of conscious reasoning. It is the knowl­edge not only that life is worth living but also that it is made to be worth living. Hence, in H.R. Niebuhr's words, "to have faith and to have a god is one and the same thing." .

"Why? In the first place, to be in love is always to be in love with someone. In the second, love without restrictions or qualifi­cations can only be the love of someone who is similarly unre­stricted. In the third, to know as a result of such a love that life is meaningful and the world is good is to know and rely on this transcendent someone as the bestower of significance and worth. And these three implications of religious conversion, taken together, yield a rough but recognizable definition of deity. 'A transcendent, personal source of being and value' -that, to borrow Thomas Aquinas's famous line. is what everyone means bv God."

from Why Doctrines? by Charles C. Hefling, Jr. Cowley Publishing, 1984. ISBN 0-936384-09-3, p. 22.


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