Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Leap of faith?

I was thinking about yesterday's post and the phrase "beautiful and terrifying leap of faith." In some ways, that phrase is a cop-out. It really doesn't mean anything. It may have a nice literary ring to it, but it is neither precise nor practical.

"Leap of faith," of course, refers to Kierkegaard. Without delving into his dense and complicated theology, suffice it to say that I tended to side with him on matters of faith rather than with one of his fiercest critics, Francis Schaeffer. I reference Schaeffer because his methodology is so prevelant in many circles today. At least the circles I run, or ran, in. I believe that Schaeffer places too much emphasis on the use of the mind to find our way to God, to discover truth with a capital "T."

However, I also have to agree with Kierkegaard's critics that he places too much emphasis on subjective and individual faith.

So where does that leave me? And why did I refer to the "leap of faith?"

Most of my early spiritual journey was shaped by Schaeffer's methods of searching for Truth. Eventually, I tired of Schaeffer's dogmatism and sought refuge in Kierkegaard. Over the past few years, I have found a third way. I have slowly returned to Schaeffer, modified by Kierkegaard, and framed by Marcel, Buber and Levinas.

What is missing in both Schaeffer and Kierkegaard are the categories of hope, trust, community, love, mystery, and responsibility. Schaeffer may offer an explanation for the way things are, yet he does not touch us where true change is possible: the heart. Kierkegaard touches on hope and love and despair, yet he has us face the struggle alone, without companions.

Marcel, Buber and Levinas affirm the mind, address the heart and tell us that we need each other to find Truth. It is a "leap of faith." But it is not taken alone.


socrates said...

That's o.k. I'm a classical logician and we think all sentences are entailed by a contradiction anyway.

Thus a "leap of faith" is really no leap at all.

Tom said...

Is there a contradiction in this statement?

"I assure you, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does."

socrates said...

If the Son can do nothing by himself and can only do what the Father does than he is not a member unto himself and must be part of a set. However, the Son cannot be a member unto himself without by definition being a member unto himself. (This paradox arises within set theory by considering the set of all sets that are not members of themselves.)

So yes it is contradictory in the sense of expressing the opposite of (a statement); however, that doesn’t mean it is neither accurate nor True.

Tom said...

I'm afraid that I'm not all that familiar with Set Theory (had to look it up on wikipedia.)

Set Theory appears to be primarily about abstraction, which definitely has it's place. Guess what I want is to take a little of Schaeffer's "objective" reason, add a pinch of Kierkegaard's subjectivity, and stir it all up in a pot with the "dialogical philosophers" I referred to.

I, too, can do nothing by myself.

jon p. said...

It's a really interesting topic, and one that has bugged me for a long time...
Schaeffer to the reason, Kierkegaard to the experience, and NarrowRidge's journey shaped not only by all this, but also personal perception of all this!
Because I am inherently mentally lazy, I can't rev up the discipline needed to properly comment about this in blog format. But I do know one thing (or three?): it has something to do with operating systems, court trials, and oven ranges.

or maybe not.

Tom said...

You're going to have to clear up the "operating systems, court trials, and oven ranges" part.

jon p. said...

possibly this sunday at anodyne's, sometime after 12:30 but before 4:00?