Thursday, 25 February 2010

Stages of Faith

I like this, from James W. Fowler's book:

I have found it useful to make a distinction between two kinds of reasoning.

The first I call the logic of rational certainty. This mode of knowing aims at objectivity understood as a knowing free from all particular or subjective investigation. Its truths need to be impersonal, propositional, demonstrable and replicable. The logic of rational certainty, however, is a misleading ideal when we speak about forms of knowing in which the constitution of the knowing self is part of what is at stake. The model of disinterestedness represented by scientific enquiry does not fit with the kind of knowing involved in moral reasoning or in faith's compositions. This is not to say that there is not a form of disinterestedness or 'objectivity' in moral and faith knowing. It is to say that this latter mode of knowing proceeds in a manner in which the knowing self is continually being confirmed or modified in the knowing. For the latter, more comprehensive form of knowing I have chosen the term logic of conviction.

In widening our understanding of knowing so as to include the logic of conviction, we must not capitulate to critics who see this as representing an anti-rational or irrational understanding of faith. Rather we need to see "reasoning in faith" as a balanced interaction between the more limited and specialized and the more comprehensive and holistic logics we have described.

Okay, I know, its wordy - but true all the same!

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