I think that all belief is sinply a vehicle to take you somewhere where your not, but it has real limitations. Often the beleif is taken as the destination itself, in my own life I have seen that belief doesn't say a great deal about WHO I arm only what I beleive and belief by itself is static not dynamic. The misperception is "if I belief all the right things all the right outcomes will happen" this is why beleif by itself is vehicle going no where. I'm not sure how one can articulate the transition but the emphasis and some sort of inward movement neds to happen where we begin to understand WHO we are, and from this a sort of 'holy, active being' becomes possible. A static faith is always about being "right" and this creates a defensive static outcomes where you check and then recheck it often requires nothing else but a 'frozen orthodoxy.
An anonymous correspondent posts...I feel the word 'belief' is an overworked word, whether in religion, in climate debates, or whatever. It has shades of meaning - for example, in the sense of acceptance of an un-testable proposition as true, of upholding a principle or idea, or of supporting someone or something. I tend, these days, to think in terms of faith and understanding rather than faith and belief, as it implies a certain personal rigor sometimes missing in inherited beliefs. Traditional creeds express particular belief assertions about God, of Jesus as a person and as a revered figure, and perceived relation to God. The language of the traditional creeds owes much to the prevailing religious and cultural philosophies and mythologies of the time. It says little about Jesus' teaching or of the principles, ethics and values and that informed this. My idea of a contemporary creed might be considered untraditional. I hope so.The outline appended below reflects a present outlook, and draws on a number of sources. I have a view that as Christians, the way we live is more important than the way we express beliefs. Christian Creedal Statement of Understanding and Purpose As a Christian, I:1. Embrace the Divine Mystery I call God, ground of being and spirit of life, in all of creation and of human life and existence in all time 2. Approach God through the unique expression of the life and teaching of Jesus, who so embodied the wisdom of God, allowing the spirit of God to infuse, motivate and direct his life, that others saw in him what they felt to be the very essence and meaning of God; and who, in the way people remember him, as in life, continues to inspire and motivate us to embrace and commit to that same Spirit and purpose that was in Him3. Focus faith on values that affirm the sacredness and inter-connectedness of all life, the inherent and equal worth of all persons, and the supremacy of love actively expressed in life as compassion and social justice 4. Affirm the depth and breadth of human life and experience, and the richness of each person’s search for meaning5. Engage in a spiritual life that has its roots in the Judaic-Christian cultural heritage and traditions, at the same time respecting other religious paths focused on life meaning6. Embrace the freedom and responsibility to examine traditionally held Christian cultural beliefs and practices, acknowledging religion as a human endeavor, and in the light of conscience and contemporary learning, develop and shape relevant faith and practice 7. Draw from scriptures and other wisdom sources, regarding all as (fallible) expressions of the human experience of God, open to critical inquiry and sound scholarship, listening to what they have to say today for individual and communal life8. Embrace inclusive, non-discriminatory, egalitarian community in which the love of God for all humanity is honored in an atmosphere of trust, mutual respect and support9. Promote forms of individual and community celebration, discussion, and prayerful meditation that use understandable, inclusive, non-dogmatic, value-based language by which people of religious, skeptical, and secular backgrounds may be nurtured and encouraged to imagine God10. Commit to journeying together, finding more grace and truth in the search for understanding of God than in dogmatic certainty, knowing that the way we live is the fullest expression of what we believe, our common growth characterized by honesty, integrity, openness, respect, intellectual rigor, courage, creativity, and balance.
Adrian, I love that statement! Is that something you created?
Brian, It's a mixture of things. I was asked to deliver a short address in 2006 about personal discoveries in faith - http://pcnvictoria.blogspot.com/2009/09/past-events-personal-discoveries-of.html - which had the title "Beyond Belief: When Faith is Something Deeper." Of course that title rejects one particular common/popular meaning of belief but there are other, richer meanings. For this post I just added the "beyond belief" idea to the "Future of Faith" title of Harvey Cox's last book, where he discusses the tranistion from (whet he calls) the "Age of Belief" to the "Age of the Spirit".
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