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Faith, Reason, and Imaginationi - Essay Example

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Religious faith can be defined as an assent because of the authority of a revealing God. This definition turns faith into an intellectual act and it places the emphasis, at least implicitly, on what is believed, though, again implicitly, what is believed is considered to be not evident or immediately present-that is, to be beyond reasonable evidence. Hence the introduction of a motive for believing, God's authority, who would not deceive us in presenting something for our belief which was not true. Obviously, God's authority is preferred to reason's because we are dealing with religious faith, not scientific belief. Faith, thus, is faith hi God and in whatever God says must be believed. The ultimate reason for believing religiously is not evidence, but God. Proponents of this view of faith acknowledge that this assent of faith takes place in a certain penumbra because the content is not sufficiently supported by reason or other evidence worthy of trust. By the second definition, what is believed is beyond reason; hence the need to introduce the authority of God as the motive for belief; that is, as the only force capable of bending the will to believe. At all events, if things are evident, it is not faith. It is also argued that the assent of faith is given with certainty, not as opinion, but with the surety of true knowledge; and this even though rationally the evidence may not be there (the New Oxford American Dictionary 2001, p. 556).
Another definition of faith is "a belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence" (The New Oxford American Dictionary 556). There is need, therefore, of a specific act of the will to command the assent, since it is not necessitated by the reasonableness of the evidence. Still, as should be apparent, this understanding of faith emphasizes "belief that" over "belief in", and it is here, for instance, faith is somebody indicates the expectancy of a journey without definite end or destination; and it points to the human condition as one of travel. Faith can be defined as care about what really matters to us. If we are serious about what ultimately concerns us, doubt can never be excluded altogether, but must be faced with courage. That to which faith is an openness is never given wholly to the believer because it is infinite (in time or in essence), absolute, and therefore cannot be grasped by a subject who is finite in every way. This lack of fit between finite and infinite is also the reason why doubt or unfaith is always a danger.
Imagination is defined as "mental representation; a mental image of something that is neither perceived as real nor present to the senses" (The New Oxford American Dictionary 2001, p. 779). The imagination has always formed part of the subject-matter of aesthetics, but its recent revival can be traced to recent advances in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. The second definition states that imagination is 'ability to form images" (The New Oxford American Dictionary 2001, p. 779). It is natural to define imagination as that attitude taking fictional propositions as its contents (where a fictional proposition is one that is not true). For instance, the contents of imaginings are fictional propositions in the trivial sense that they are to be imagined, not in the ordinary sense that they are a species of falsehood. Since we cannot characterize the attitude of imagination nontrivially by its contents, ...Show more


The New Oxford American Dictionary" (2001) defines faith as "confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing" (p. 558). The openness that is faith is maintained and nourished by hope, a human virtue difficult to understand and explain…
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Faith, Reason, and Imaginationi
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