Friday, May 18, 2012


I know this site is mostly about firearms, horses and our space faring friends in the ACoC (Anglican Church of Canada) and liturgical dancers and, well, whatever springs to mind. So here's a bit on faith, which the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us is the "substance of things hoped for, the argument of things unseen." (Heb 11:1)

There's a curious interplay of surety and uncertainty in this, to say nothing of the action of the Word drawing us as hypostasis (substance) and argument through our present clouded perspective to the fullness of the beatific vision.

I like these words from Benedict XVI's Introduction to Christianity:

“No one can lay God and his Kingdom on the table before another man; even the believer cannot do it for himself. But however strongly unbelief may feel justified thereby, it cannot forget the eerie feeling induced by the words “Yet perhaps it is true.” That perhaps” is the unavoidable temptation it cannot elude, the temptation in which it, too, in the very act of rejection, has to experience the unrejectability of belief. In other words, both the believer and the unbeliever share, each in his own way, doubt and belief, if they do not hide from themselves and from the truth of their being. Neither can quite escape wither doubt or belief; for the one, faith is present against doubt; for the other, through doubt and in the form of doubt. It is the basic pattern of man’s destiny only to be allowed to find the finality of his existence in this unceasing rivalry between doubt and belief, temptation and certainty. Perhaps in precisely this way doubt, which saves both sides from being shut up in their own worlds, could become the avenue of communication. It prevents both from enjoying complete self-satisfaction; it opens up the believer to the doubter and the doubter to the believer; for one, it is his share in the fate of the unbeliever; for the other, the form in which belief remains nevertheless a challenge to him.” 

And again:

“There is no such thing as a mere observer. There is no such thing as pure objectivity. One can even say that the higher an object stands in human terms, the more it penetrates the center of individuality; and the more it engages the beholder’s individuality, then the smaller the possibility of the mere distancing involved in pure objectivity. Thus, wherever an answer is presented as unemotionally objective, as a statement that finally goes beyond the prejudices of the pious and provides purely factual, scientific information, then it has to be said that the speaker has here fallen victim to self-deception. This kind of objectivity is quite simply denied to man. He cannot ask and exist as a mere observer. He who tries to be a mere observer experiences nothing. Even the reality “God” can only impinge on the vision of him who enters in the experiment with God – the experiment that we call faith. Only by entering does one experience; only by cooperating in the experiment does one ask at all; and only he who asks receives an answer.”

If you're interested in this, see B16's lecture to the theology faculty at Breslau. His use of Thomas, Augustine and other "Masters" is simply outstanding and to my mind well worth reading several times. 

Keep the Faith,




G. Tingey said...

is defined as belief without evidence.
Now why should anyone take anything at all as a given, with no evidence to back it up?

As opposed, I amy say, with some of your past posts on restoration of an antique firearm.
The bits about back-filling wood, and restoring "ornamental" metal parts is fascinating.
Since I 've had to do, on a much smaller scale, similar for old hand-tools.

LSP said...

Alright there GT. Was wondering if "faith" might get a Tingey comment. Have a read of B16's Breslau lecture -- if only to see how much you disagree with it.

Glad you liked the Lee porch project posts. There's more coming but first I have to gather resources to get some materials (rust blue solution, wood, new iron sights etc). I think the guns will look good when done.

So stay tuned -- congrats on the hand tool work

Silverfiddle said...

The man is a towering intellect.

That was a very impactful excerpt. Thank you for posting it!

LSP said...

He really is and makes me feel incredibly ignorant -- well, there's doubtless a reason for our respective stations in life...

Check out his Breslau lecture, it's very good.


G. Tingey said...

I'm an escaped christian - I've seen and heard )almost) all of it.
And reject the lot as moonshine - I'd much rather erm, drink "Moonshine" in the other sense of the word - let's not go there, shall we?

LSP said...

Ah, moonshine.

Where I live used to be famous for its Stills, to say nothing of vicious, licentious behaviour. Apparently went hand in hand with cock fighting, which was a popular sport in this neck of the brush...

There's doubtless some 'shine about to this day, though I've never come across it. Meth labs are probably more the speed.

Arimathean said...

GT writes, "FAITH is defined as belief without evidence."

This definition is a strawman. I'm pretty sure that is not how the author of Hebrews or Pope Benedict would define faith.

There is a huge difference between "evidence" and "airtight proof". There is plenty of evidence on which to base faith, but, as B16 tells us, that evidence will always leave room for doubt.

LSP said...

Well said, Arimathean.

On that evidential theme, I think Benedict is right on the money by framing faith in terms of love and it's interesting to note the correlation of the theological virtues.

Faith, hope and charity -- our salvation is worked out in "fear and trembling."

It's odd, isn't it, how Bible Christians tend to ignore the Apostle on that point.