Scenes from the first day in Sydney

Scenes from the first day in Sydney
D, the Opera House, and the Bridge

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Talking About Faith 2

In the first post on faith, I was reflecting on the act of faith as distinct from the content of beliefs that we tend to associate with religion. One element that I neglected to include is the kind of existential openness that we might call awe, reverence, or sense of the sublime nature of existence. If I am not mistaken, this capacity for standing in relationship to mystery is a dimension of our naturally spiritual human experience. Even those who do not espouse belief in God (though I would ask, what God people are rejecting?) will admit to feeling a sort of wonder when they hold a newborn, or when they experience the breathtaking beauty of the Grand Canyon, or Uluru, or the Milky Way. I worry though, about people who consider themselves devoutly religious, yet do not leave room for such feeling -- those whose religions are about answers rather than questions, and certitude rather than faith.

Our Tertian director, Fr. Adrian Lyons, S.J. wrote a book called Imagine Believing, wherein he says "faith, at its best, is a way of knowing, a way of being in the world and a way of acknowledging that we human persons are not alone. Indeed, we never were. To be human is to be in dialogue."


  1. greatblog here David. Thankyou and God bless.

  2. I'm a little confused, David.

    On the one hand, you said in your last post that you see faith a certain way. " I tend to see faith as a quality of what it means to be human..."

    On the other hand, you also said, "one of the reasons I begin with this more fundamental assumption of faith as a dimension of our being human is that people who are not religious believers can and do join in the conversation on these terms."

    Both of these are valid an interesting points. Yes, there is good reason to begin discussion of the nature of faith in a way the non-religious can join in -- thanks for that, by the way. But that doesn't mean that the way you talk about it is necessarily the way you undertand it for yourself.

    I appreciate you trying to find a entry point for folks like me. But what about you? Was this *your* entry point? Weren't you always relgious? When just contemplating it yourself, what is its nature? Or does your understanding only exist in relation to how you share it with others? (Not the worst thing for a teacher, not at all.)

  3. hey alex
    i was here to read davids stuff and saw your question. i cant answer for him, of course but i sometimes talk about faith on my blog and i also try to start from a point where the non-religious can relate. for me it isnt so much a case of understanding in relation to how i share it but i case of stripping away religious jargon. that way, it not only hopefully provdes a point of connection for my readers but forces me to think about my is a clarifying process. so.....
    when i change my style of communication it is still true to my understanding but the change of expression might have also provoked some extra thought for me