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Faith vs Belief

By edisonq8 Jun 01, 2005 1017 Words
One argues that today we have a crisis of belief, not a crisis of faith. To explain this crisis, I will briefly examine the different and relationship between faith and belief, explain why cultural shift is important to note when trying to understand religious issues, go into detail on the three hallmarks of each of the two cultures by showing how they compare to each other, show how Tillich's notion of correlation deals with this idea of culture and a crisis of belief, and explain how Marsh's notion of a "theology of negotiation" (33) fits with Lonergan's definition and allows him to argue that film can help us raise theological questions. I will explore the difference and relationship between faith and belief. At first glance, most of us will have the same thought that there is no difference between faith and belief. However, if we carefully examine them in detail, we will recognize their differences. Consider the difference in the meaning of "belief" in the following propositions: "I believe it will rain tomorrow" and "I believe 2+2=4." Our general purpose is to express our thoughts to others and show them what things we want to believe. Shortly, our belief can be changed depending on our mood or our different cultures. When we're talking about our faith, we must keep it in constancy. We can not say today our faith is this and tomorrow is on another. Therefore, the difference between faith and belief can be express as: faith is constant, and belief is varied. Faith shows "X-experiences and pre-cultural," but belief shows a function of cultures. On the other hand, faith and belief also have something in common. For example, faith is a kind of belief. W.E. Vine has defined faith as "primarily film persuasion, a conviction based upon hearing…used in the New Testament always of faith in God or Christ, or things spiritual" (1940). He defined "belief" as "to believe, also to be persuaded of, and hence, to place confidence in, to trust…reliance upon, not mere evidence" (1940). Therefore, both faith and belief include elements of reliance and trust. Second, I will discuss why cultural shift is important to note when trying to understand religious issues. Cultural shifts from classical to modern. We can not understand the religious issues without looking up on the cultures. Religious issues also arise when differences in cultural opinion conflict. Moreover, we also have different belief and faith between people in a same culture. Therefore, to understand religious issues, we should first learn their cultures. Otherwise we never reach to what we want. In addition, cultural shift also changes the world in preparation for the final stage of the earths' evolution to become one divine being. Simply said, our understanding of religion and its accompanying ideas are constantly changing. The way we looked at topics and issues a few hundred years ago is much different than we do now. Therefore we must keep in mind the importance of cultural shift in order to understand religious issues. Third, I will point out the three hallmark of each of the two cultures, and show how they compare with each other. In classical culture, structure is fixing in per unit and has a certain mean. However, in modern culture, it changes and is relative to one's frame of reference. For example, all truth becomes relative, and God is relegated to a mere conceptual expression of matter/energy or time/space. Moreover, in classical culture our knowing is deductive, but in modern culture our knowing is inductive. In classical culture, we feel about it as certain mean. However, in modern culture it is probable. Therefore, it is very important to know the three hallmark of the two culture in order to understand religion. Next, I will show how Tillich's notion of correlation deals with this idea of culture and a crisis of belief. Marsh states that, "Tillich approach must be adjusted to ensure that in our contemporary use of film in theology we do allow the films to speak in a way that is true to their own integrity" (p.31). By doing so, the ideal of culture can be more easy to understood. He also states that, "The diversity of human culture will not permit the theological use of film to deliver up ready-made residual Christian values or implicit Christian messages," and "Tillich did not really find a place for popular culture in his theological method," and "Tillich's theology was not apologetic enough in the sense that it related only to one segment of Western society in practice (a cultural elite), whatever the potential of his theological method to be taken further" (p.31). As a result, we can conclude that, Tillich's notions of correlations seem not sufficient in dealing with this ideal of culture and a crisis of belief.

Lastly, I will explain how Marsh's notion of a "theology of negotiation" fits with Lonergan's definition and allows him to argue that film can help us raise theological questions. As Marsh states, "Film enable Christian theology to be reminded that it is a discipline which seeks to do justice to the emotional and esthetic aspects of human life …Films are accessible, can be watched by people without necessarily being understood, in a way in which books cannot be read…What the vulgarity of film entails, however, is the potential raising of theological questions we beyond the reach of the house of authority" (p.33). As a result, his notion fits Lonergan's definition and allows him to argue that film help us raise theological questions because truth will always be relevant.

In conclusion, by going through all the details on between faith and belief, cultural shift, Tillich's notion of correlation, and Marsh's notion, we gain more concepts about religious issues that allow us to understand why today we have a crisis of belief, not a crisis of faith. So the only way to look on religious issues is to look on the cultures.

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