The Gospel For Those Broken By The Church
In addition, my wife, Penny has been a beautiful reminder to me of God’s grace and peace. Her wisdom and faith have allowed me to see God’s faithfulness in my life. Also, my sons Rivers and Wells are constant reminders to me of God’s undeserved love and unconditional acceptance.
“Where are you?” I am still working on an answer!
For when I open the pages of the Hebrew Scriptures or the Talmud and I see what the sages have written going back over two thousand years, I know that I am not only reading their words, but I am in a great dialogue with the Eternal One who delights when I peruse, probe and penetrate the multiple meanings of Biblical and Rabbinic texts. This is where my faith in God and in tradition originated. This is the basis from which I enter into the holy of holies of God’s scriptures. It is this journey that comprises the historic covenant relationship that my people have with God.
While philosophical reflection on faith of the kind exemplified inreligious faith might ideally hope to yield an agreed definition interms of sufficient and necessary conditions that articulate thenature of faith, the present discussion proceeds by identifying keycomponents that recur in different accounts of religious faith. Italso aims to identify a focal range of issues on which differentstances are taken by different accounts. There is a plurality ofexisting philosophical understandings or models of faith of thereligious kind. This discussion therefore aims to set outdialectically an organisation of this plurality, while also givingindications of the reasons there may be for preferring particularmodels over others. Since ‘religion’ itself may well be a‘family resemblance’ universal, essentialism about faithof the religious kind might be misplaced. Nevertheless, the concept offaith as found in the Abrahamic, theist, religious traditions iswidely regarded as unified enough for an inquiry into its nature tomake sense, even if a successful real definition is too much to expect(this kind of faith might conceivably be a conceptual primitive, forexample).
The epistemology of the ‘special knowledge’model
Thirty years after ordination as a Rabbi has taught me that questioning my faith and questioning the ways of God does not mean doubting God. In fact the beauty of Judaism is that the dialogue with God is ongoing and only strengthens faith. We see this throughout the Torah with Abraham, Moses and even Job who challenged God as he contended with the suffering that God used to test his faith.
Reflective faith and the question of entitlement
There is no single ‘established’ terminology for differentmodels of faith. A brief initial characterisation of the principalmodels of faith and their nomenclature as they feature in thisdiscussion may nevertheless be helpful—they are:
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Later that year, I was baptized. I continued to grow in my faith in a Christian family with my mom and dad always taking my two older sisters and me to church, children’s programs and youth group. I also continued to be taught the stories and the truth of the Bible at home.
The unanswered question of entitlement—again
What kind of cognitive component belongs to faith, then? One modelidentifies faith as knowledge of specific truths, revealed byGod. Such a model has received prominent recent defence in the work ofAlvin Plantinga, who proposes a model of faith which he takes tofollow in the tradition of the reformers, principally John Calvin (seePlantinga 2000, 168-86). Calvin defines faith thus: ‘a firm andcertain knowledge of God’s benevolence towards us, founded upon thetruth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to ourminds and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit’ (JohnCalvin, Institutes III, ii, 7, 551, quoted by Plantinga(2000, 244)).
Revelation—and its philosophical critique
The present discussion focuses on theistic religious faith as aparadigm of the kind of faith that is of interest, though the questionof faith outside this context is taken up in the final Section (11).Philosophical reflection on theistic religious faith has produceddifferent accounts or models of its nature. This entry suggests thatthere are several key components that may feature, with varyingemphases, in models of faith—in particular, theaffective, the cognitive, the evaluativeand the practical (or, as some may say, thevolitional). It suggests also that there is a variety ofdifferent principles according to which models of faith may becategorized, including