Author Topic: What is Faith? Some personal musings  (Read 524 times)

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Offline Seeker123

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What is Faith? Some personal musings
« on: January 04, 2015, 05:33:44 PM »
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  • Hello!

    Very recently these thoughts have come to my mind. I find them personally enlightening, though don't consider them to necessarily speak to any and everyone. I would still be deeply curious as to how people would respond to them.

    These thoughts I feel are connected. Sometimes logically, but sometimes more intuitively. I feel that there is some sort of succeeding order to them, so they are not merely arbitrary in their arrangement.

    So, without further ado, here goes:


    In any given circumstance (in this life at least) there is not a perfect environment conducive to the flourishing of faith, for then faith would cease to be faith – it would be replaced by absolute knowledge. One must have faith in spite of the environment one is situated in, and go against the grain of defeaters.

    A defeater is not a doubt. It is a circumstance that has the capacity of engendering a doubt.

    If faith is a form of knowing, then how can it withstand the assault of defeaters? Since knowledge in the stricter sense of knowing beyond the need for faith is not prone to such defeaters it’s knowledge is thus assured. However, what is it in the act of faith that would maintain itself as knowing or knowledge in the face of defeaters? Would it be the will itself and it’s assertion of faith? How would this differ then from mere credulity?

    What about in the case of two or more faiths that are contradictory? To maintain that the concept of faith is valid it would seem one would have to dismiss other faiths which are opposite in content as being other than faith (i.e., credulity). Properly speaking, faith, it would appear, can only be directed at something true. There cannot be such a thing as “false faith” as opposed to true, because then one could be in possession of a form of knowing that is incapable of knowledge, but this is absurd.

    Perhaps everyone who has faith, properly speaking, only believes in essential truths, and this is the case in all religions wherein faith plays a role. Unessential, or false ideas, may also be believed in, or dovetailed together with essential truths, but this would not be faith in the proper sense but something else; credulity, or maybe an instinctive mechanism whereby one is compelled to connect such ideas with the verities which are believed in by faith, or even to take them as one and the same, due to a defect in intellectual reasoning wherein one mistakenly tries to be consistent.

    An act of faith is not the same as we might imagine an act as being whimsical or spontaneous. Rather, the action of faith is a constant thread underlying all peripheral mentations. One does not have to “force” faith – it exists of it’s own accord, as a symptom of the soul or an attribute of the will.

    Offline Cantarella

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    What is Faith? Some personal musings
    « Reply #1 on: January 04, 2015, 06:21:50 PM »
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  • Hello Seeker123,

    Welcome to CathInfo! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

    Quote

    What about in the case of two or more faiths that are contradictory? To maintain that the concept of faith is valid it would seem one would have to dismiss other faiths which are opposite in content as being other than faith (i.e., credulity). Properly speaking, faith, it would appear, can only be directed at something true. There cannot be such a thing as “false faith” as opposed to true, because then one could be in possession of a form of knowing that is incapable of knowledge, but this is absurd.

     Perhaps everyone who has faith, properly speaking, only believes in essential truths, and this is the case in all religions wherein faith plays a role. Unessential, or false ideas, may also be believed in, or dovetailed together with essential truths, but this would not be faith in the proper sense but something else; credulity, or maybe an instinctive mechanism whereby one is compelled to connect such ideas with the verities which are believed in by faith, or even to take them as one and the same, due to a defect in intellectual reasoning wherein one mistakenly tries to be consistent.


    I agree what is highlighted above and this is the reason why only Catholics can actually have supernatural Faith. Those in false religions cannot possess this Faith, necessarily for human salvation, precisely because Faith can only be directed at something true, although unseen. There simply cannot be two truths. There is only Truth, objective and external, independent of the individual mind. Those who deny this, have irremediably fallen prey of the Heresy of Modernism and its bastard child, Relativism. In Heaven, there will no more need of Faith but only eternal delight in the Beatific Vision.    
    If anyone says that true and natural water is not necessary for baptism and thus twists into some metaphor the words of our Lord Jesus Christ" Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit" (Jn 3:5) let him be anathema.


    Offline Nadir

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    What is Faith? Some personal musings
    « Reply #2 on: January 04, 2015, 06:25:16 PM »
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  • From the Introduce yourself thread to help us to understand where you are coming from:
    Quote from: Seeker123
    Greetings,

    I am not a Catholic but a seeker after truth who has faith in God. I say seeker, because I am unsure of the entirety of what truth is, not that truth exists. I believe everyone knows of truth in the marrow of their bones, but may deny this due to various psychological reasons.

    The reason I would like to post on a Catholic forum is because I want to express and expand my views on faith and from my experience have found Catholics to be very philosophical. So this seems like the perfect place to do that!

    I am very eager to start posting and get some feedback on my views. I doubt they are completely (or at all) original, but they constitute something of a revelation for me, and have helped me spiritually grow of late.

    God Bless!


    Your OP puzzled me. Now I think I understand it better.

    Welcome, Seeker. You have come to the right place, though I hope you are not turned off by the petty bickering. I hope you will find Truth here. My advice to you is that you should start praying the Rosary.

    Offline Nadir

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    What is Faith? Some personal musings
    « Reply #3 on: January 04, 2015, 08:25:45 PM »
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  • You seem to be treating faith as if it were something belonging to the mind or intellect. While these are of course engaged, they are not the main things.

    You say
    Quote
    faith – it exists of it’s own accord, as a symptom of the soul or an attribute of the will.


    Here you are wrong. Faith is a gift from God and God gives it to whom He chooses. I've course, if you beg Him for it He will not refuse. The Will accepts or rejects the gift but it does not conjure it up. Why do use the word "symptom"?

    Offline Ladislaus

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    What is Faith? Some personal musings
    « Reply #4 on: January 05, 2015, 08:01:30 PM »
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  • Here's the difference between faith and the final / direct supernatural knowledge which will replace faith once we receive the beatific vision (as the Holy Spirit teaches through St. Paul, faith and hope do not last in the end).

    Faith involves an exertion of the will, whereas the direct supernatural knowledge impresses itself on the intellect without any intervention of the will.

    God has revealed, for instance, that He is Three Persons.  At the beatific vision, we shall see this.  In the meantime, we take it based upon His authority.  Yet our intellect grasps this truth, accepts it as true, and accepts it as true with absolute certainly ... under the impulse of the will which has submitted itself to the authority of God.

    It's a very profound cycle.

    Based upon our intellects, we start to consider the authority of God's revelation to be credible (based on various evidence).  At some point, God infuses the gift of supernatural faith. [In the case of infant Baptism, God infuses supernatural faith first and THEN it gets reinforced by the intellect; or otherwise atrophies, as it were, and ceases at the age of reason when it's not reinforced.]  So these intellectual considerations and the infused gift fuel one another in an amazing cycle or dance which continues to be impelled along and reinforced and strengthened by the cooperation of a will that has also submitted to God under the influence of His grace.  But if the will and the intellect start to resist this grace, then it can slow this cycle and even cause it to stall (thus the loss of faith).

    Intelligo ut credam. and Credo ut intelligam. are both true.




     

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