Sunday, February 04, 2007

Words words words.

Little ten-minute post here.

I would like there to be some better agreement among the general masses about the meanings of certain words. In particular, "religion", "faith", and "spirituality". Among the unbelieving folks, the words "religion" and "faith" are rarely uttered without an expression akin to swallowing rancid milk--although, surprise surprise, I think the word "faith" gets the worst of it. Although I don't think people are very reflective on the precise meanings of these words, there is an implicit difference which is operative in their use, and when I have more time I would like to dive into that issue.

But before I do that, I would like to point something out: the belief that God exists is not an object of faith, any more than "theism" is the name of a religion. This is part of the doctrine of the First Vatican Council. Interestingly, that means that it is part of the object of Faith that the belief in God's existence is not an object of Faith, i.e., that it is knowable by natural reason working rightly.

Bertrand Russel might have mocked the idea, but there are infidels who agree with this premise. I will quote one I debated years ago when I get more time.

1 comment:

Br. Thomas said...

Infidels but not atheists I imagine would agree that belief in the existence of God is not a matter of faith but the result of natural reason working rightly. Otherwise, would she be an atheist if she 'believed' or knew that the fact God's existence were a predicate of the natural world?

I think God's existence has become a matter of faith lately since our natural reason has become so clouded with preconceived notions of the limits of natural reason, i.e. no God could be known scientifically, therefore it cannot be known apart from faith.

The difficulty is, How do we set up the parameters of natural reason and its right functioning? Although, I think plenty of atheists live as if they believed in God, on rational grounds, or not.