Search Results for Faith and Morals
Most world religions speak of an inextricable link between faith and morals.
In the religious sense, to have faith is to try to please God and this involves making the right moral choices. At least, this is one approach to faith. Another approach is that you can do whatever you want and God will forgive you—providing, most would add, that a sincere attempt to stop doing the bad thing is made somewhere down the line.
Any discussion of faith and morals will likely include a section on laws. In the Old Testament the Jewish people are faced with a variety of laws, said to be from God and also to preserve and enhance one’s relationship with God.
In the New Testament, Jesus really only speaks of two laws—love God and love one another.
In liberal democracies today, laws are said to be based on natural reason. However, their impetus arguably is supernatural—that is, an awareness (based on faith and informed by grace) that morality is essential to the human condition.
So the supposed separation of the “supernatural” and “legal” realms could be seen as somewhat artificial. That point aside, one could also argue that this kind of distinction is not necessarily the same as the separation of “Church” and “State,” mainly because organized religions by their very nature contain not just supernatural but also political dimensions, as does any kind of social group.
- Faith (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Faith and Action (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Ethics and Respect Thrive with an Absolute Separation of Church and State (randomreflectionz.wordpress.com)
- Rick Santorum Says Separation of Church and State Makes Him Want to Vomit: VIDEO (towleroad.com)
Many people see faith and reason as two approaches to life existing at opposite ends of the cognitive spectrum. It could be argued, however, that faith and reason are not always separate and (consciously or unconsciously) work together.
An example of faith and reason unconsciously working together could be found in those who make a god out of reason. These folks still come from a faith position, but their faith is placed in reason instead of God or some divine power.
On this point or, at least, on a similar point, the philosopher David Hume offered a now famous critique of causality.
Hume’s metaphysics, in particular his critique of the belief in cause and effect, remains an important challenge to our conventional way of seeing. All we can be sure of, says Hume, is that certain events occur one after another in a given region and for a certain duration.
In billiards, for instance, the white ball appears to cause the motion of other balls when impacting them on the billiard table. But here’s the radical part. Hume says that all we can truly know is that, in the past, the first ball impacted and the other balls moved. We cannot prove that the first ball’s impact will always be followed by movement of the other balls. And for Hume, there is no rational way to demonstrate a causal connection.¹
In most world religions, faith is said to be primary to reason. In Catholic theology faith is described as a supernatural virtue whereas reason is said to be a natural power. For Catholics or, indeed, anyone, both faith and reason are concerned with truth and need not conflict.
However, it seems that many insecure individuals who have been brainwashed by a cultic or even by some silly religious or scientific teaching desperately cling to a kind of misplaced faith by believing in things that are not true or, perhaps, egregiously facile.
Similarly, we find not a few self-professed thinkers who are hooked on their own faulty logic, colored by unconscious personal biases.
In their best form, faith and reason are potentially harmonious. We can live life by testing our pet hypotheses and by keeping our beliefs and theories open to revision. For many, however, faith and reason are often imperfect and discordant.
Thinkers like the Hungarian-born Arthur Koestler (1905-83) believed that clunky linkages between our human cognitive faculties (such as faith and reason) result from conflicting evolutionary additions to the human brain, additions that happened by chance instead of through any kind of grand, intelligent design. But this approach is no more subject to empirical verification than one that accepts inconsistency and inner conflict as steps toward integration and its corollary, integrity.
- David Hume (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Are Faith and Reason Compatible? (str.typepad.com)
- Faith Vs. Reason? Or Faith in Reason… Reasonable Faith..? (ryanfaulk.wordpress.com)
- By Way of Introduction (thetwowings.wordpress.com)
- Do you or do you not support reason? (verbosestoic.wordpress.com)
- Leap of Faith or Failure of Reason? (vridar.wordpress.com)
- Vatican commission affirms scripture as ‘soul of theology’ (mumbailaity.wordpress.com)
- The Reason Obama’s Faith Is Questioned (theroot.com)
- William Lane Craig discusses faith and reason with university students (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
- Accomplished by Faith… (webmasteryates.wordpress.com)
In secular usage “faith” [Latin fidere = trust] refers to believing in something or someone. “I have faith in the system” the man or woman on the street might say when asked about societal problems.
In a non-denominational, spiritual sense it refers to believing in a loving, supernatural power or God and that things will eventually work out. That is, it’s a view of optimism.
In the general religious sense, faith in part refers to believing in a fixed set of teachings.
The Hebrew term for faith (emunah) originally meant trust in God but in the Middle Ages it came to mean believing that God exists and that the Jewish dogmas were correct.
In Hinduism faith generally means a belief that things will eventually work out and that justice will be served – for the good and the bad – as a result of the law of karma.
In Christianity, faith generally refers to the belief and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior—a perfectly loving and good, omnipotent, omniscient eternal Being belonging to the Holy Trinity.
In Catholicism faith is understood as both an objective truth and a subjective virtue. The Catholic Encyclopedia says:
Objectively, it [faith] stands for the sum of truths revealed by God in Scripture and tradition and which the Church…presents to us in a brief form in her creeds, subjectively, faith stands for the habit or virtue by which we assent to those truths.¹
- Faith and Action (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Galatians 3:9&14 (gracegalatians.wordpress.com)
- Fear or Faith ??? (footsoldiers4christ.wordpress.com)
- What Is A Vigorous Faith In God? (samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com)
- Accomplished by Faith… (webmasteryates.wordpress.com)
- You might be a hypocrite if…you turn Jesus’ message of faith and love into one of fear and hate. (god-still-speaks.com)
- Faith (briancoatney.com)
The relationship between faith and action raises some interesting questions, many of which are largely overlooked in contemporary society.
For starters, most religions advocate the necessity of action to keep faith alive. Action, in fact, is highly regarded in Western culture. But the meaning of the term ‘action’ is often loaded with cultural assumptions and, therefore, misunderstood.
We could say, for instance, that Trappist monks are more inwardly active than externally so. These monks, being one of the more contemplative sort, believe that their internal prayer life has positive effects on other people, just as the great saints believed that they interceded for other souls.
So if his beliefs are true, the Trappist monk is extremely active, but most of us don’t see it that way.
Faith-based action also takes a more worldly form, a form which everyone can easily understand and appreciate. Here I’m talking about charities and goodwill missions that serve the needy.
In most instances, it’s likely that a continuum exists between contemplative and worldly action. And it seems that those disposed to contemplation understand the good works of worldly folk but the converse is rarely true. This, perhaps, explains why in Hinduism the path of knowledge (jnana-yoga) is said to be more difficult than the path of action (karma-yoga). Active people often become hostile towards contemplatives. And sometimes they can even be abusive.
Along these lines, some orthodox and gnostic Christians, alike, interpret these words of Jesus Christ to his disciples as a warning to keep an eye out for vulgar materialists:
Mind you, no discussion of spirituality and abuse would be complete without calling attention to the opposite situation where charismatic gurus with an abundance of numinous powers swamp gullible disciples and, in so doing, are just as abusive toward individuals as vulgar materialists can be to potential saints. The abuse is different. But it’s still abuse.
In less extreme scenarios it seems reasonable to suggest that contemplatives and active individuals can keep each other in check, providing, or course, the rules of fair play are observed. By this I mean that some contemplatives can get smug, lazy, and authoritarian. And a good kick in the pants from an active person might, in some instances, actually help to realign them to their saintly calling (if not perhaps in the way that the active person envisioned it).
By the same token, the active person at times needs to be ‘toned down’ by the wisdom of the contemplative. For if a contemplative is truly focusing on God (and not some strange power), over time they should begin to accrue at least some wisdom that others could benefit from.
- Courageous faith in action through volunteering (northamptonjesuscentre.wordpress.com)
- Kentucky’s Trappist monks get shout-out in Food Network magazine (ashleeeats.com)
- Gandhi & faith in action (pathikpathak.wordpress.com)
Infallibility is a Catholic doctrine that was formulated in 1870 by the First Vatican Council, which some believers say has always been present in the Catholic Church.
Strictly speaking, infallibility refers to the Pope‘s inability to err when speaking “ex cathedra” (from the chair), and only when solemnly defining issues concerning faith and morals.
One often hears that, since 1870, only the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary are considered “ex cathedra.” However, some Catholics maintain that infallibility extends to all Catholic teachings concerning faith and morals.
In fact, there seems to be some debate as to just how this term is to be understood. But one thing is clear: Infallibility does not refer to cosmological issues nor does it relate to grave blunders in ethical judgment and related behavior.
For instance, Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was formally tried and found guilty by the Church for claiming that the sun – not the earth – was at the center of the solar system. The Catholic Encyclopedia explains this as follows:
As to the Galileo affair, it is quite enough to point out the fact that the condemnation of the heliocentric theory was the work of a fallible tribunal. The pope cannot delegate the exercise of his infallible authority to the Roman Congregations, and whatever issues formally in the name of any of these, even when approved and confirmed in the ordinary official way by the pope, does not pretend to be ex cathedra and infallible. The pope, of course, can convert doctrinal decisions of the Holy Office, which are not in themselves infallible, into ex cathedra papal pronouncements, but in doing so he must comply with the conditions already explained — which neither Paul V nor Urban VIII did in the Galileo case (Source » http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07790a.htm)
TOTNYC Presents — Papal Infallibility: What It Means, & Wha
- The Ordinary and Universal Magisterium (daylightatheism.org)
- Why the Pope must face justice at The Hague | Barbara Blaine (guardian.co.uk)
- Why the Pope ‘Has to be Infallible’? (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- Did Galileo get in trouble for being right, or for being a jerk about it? [History] (io9.com)
- Why did Luther have a conflict with the Roman Catholic Church (wiki.answers.com)
- Right-handed Gestures (onecatholicnews.wordpress.com)
- Bishops divided over questioning Vatican (theage.com.au)
- Don’t leave the Church: Part two by Michelle Bauman (deaconjohnspace.wordpress.com)
- “Why Catholics Are Right” by Michael Coren is now… (insightscoop.typepad.com)
- Generation X (vitaconsecrata.wordpress.com)
Pope (Greek Papas = father)
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome and head of the Roman Catholic Church. For Catholics he is a direct successor to St. Peter, who was the first Pope.
The Pope is the primary pastor of the Catholic fold. As such, he’s regarded as the primary servant of God.
In 1870 the First Vatican Council defined the doctrine of infallibility, which some believers say has always been present in the Catholic Church.
Strictly speaking, infallibility refers to the idea that the Pope cannot err when speaking “ex cathedra” (from the chair). When speaking ex cathedra, the Pope solemnly defines issues concerning faith and morals.
We usually hear that, after 1870, only the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary are ex cathedra–i.e. infallible.
However, some Catholics say that infallibility extends to all Catholic teachings concerning faith and morals. In fact, many Catholics debate the meaning of this term.
But one thing is clear. Infallibility does not refer to cosmological issues nor does it relate to grave blunders in ethical judgment and related behavior concerning specific situations. For instance, the Church tried Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) and found him guilty for claiming that the sun – and not the earth – was at the center of the solar system.
The Catholic Encyclopedia explains this historically embarrassing mistake as follows:
As to the Galileo affair, it is quite enough to point out the fact that the condemnation of the heliocentric theory was the work of a fallible tribunal. The pope cannot delegate the exercise of his infallible authority to the Roman Congregations, and whatever issues formally in the name of any of these, even when approved and confirmed in the ordinary official way by the pope, does not pretend to be ex cathedra and infallible. The pope, of course, can convert doctrinal decisions of the Holy Office, which are not in themselves infallible, into ex cathedra papal pronouncements, but in doing so he must comply with the conditions already explained — which neither Paul V nor Urban VIII did in the Galileo case.¹
More recently, the Pope has declared the Vatican’s legal copyright over the use of papal figure.² Almost like a corporate logo, the papal name, image and symbols of the Pope are not for all to use as they please. Although the Church outlines spiritual reasons for this tightening of control over the papal figure, some critics argue that’s it’s more about money, insecurity and its psychological flip side–i.e. the will to dominate.³
² Holy See declares unique copyright on Papal figure: http://richarddawkins.net/articles/4798-holy-see-declares-unique-copyright-on-papal-figure?page=1
³ See comments thread: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/holy_see_declares_unique_copyright_on_papal_figure
On the Web:
- TOTNYC Presents — Papal Infallibility: What It Means…
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