Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Faith is conviction towards action upon incomplete knowledge. Therefore, faith is an emotion, a passion, siphoned toward some active end that would seemingly require knowledge, but where full knowledge is unavailable. This directing of passion, according to a hope, is not solely religious, but it is always intellectual.
I watch the squirrels jump in the poplars outside my parents home, (where I am still welcome, thank you Lord), and they jump sensing that they will land. It is not a perfect sense - sometimes they miss and scrabble down the bark a bit (I've never seen one completely fall) - but most of the time they have perfect precision and grace; their senses of space come upon them and they act perfectly. But this is not a faith they have in their actions. It is sensation and reaction.
They do not hope that tomorrow they will be able to make the jump. Tomorrow comes and they sense the space and they make it or they don't, depending upon their bodies ability to correctly sense and react. As they age, I assume they stop being able to correctly sense and react. My assumption is largely based on my experience with other animals, one dog in particular, named Major, who is pratically dead, lanky, skeleton white, with black eyes smearing down to his nose. He huffs about in circles with confusion hanging in his face, bumping into end tables.
Humans deal in sensation and reaction as well - we become hungry, and we eat. We see a obstacle and we move. We sense pain, and we distract, avoid, cover over in words. We feel good in a moment of happiness, and we laugh.
Faith begins with intellect, and not sensation. I say "begins", because I grant to all human beings an equal sensation of the world - a sensation of self, though perhaps without cognizance, a sensation of world, and the divine nature inherent in the world - all not necessarily with awareness (because many die before awareness of the world is achieved through language). I use "divine nature" based on english translations of Romans chapter 1, but could also say "otherness" or "supernatural qualities".
From these sensations, we begin the examination. For this examination and interior rearticulation, we must use our intellect. Metaphysical reality is an intrinsic assumption of this act.
Faith is born from this intellectualization of the world, and intuitive thoeries drawn where complete knowledge is not had. A aesthetic incarnation should be favored in evidence.
Um, I've got to go to work.


s.t.liaw said...

Good post Justin.

This "sensation and reaction" that you write of, is the same, in my vocabulary as "instinct." Animals and humans are born with instincts - material and emotional to name two. This granting of equal sense of self, others, and God regardless of awareness is this instinct.

There is a sense of disconnect when I juxtapose the statement of faith being a "conviction towards action upon incomplete knowledge" and the process of faith being an "examination and interior rearticulation."

I struggle with your post, not because I do not agree with it, but because it's broad, and clinical. Maybe that's philosophy - to be general and accurate.

"Examination and interior rearticulation" sounds GREAT, but how does this actually look? How much of the "imcomplete knowledge" do we need to examine? Yes, the direction of the passion is intellectual. But I want to propose that one such intellectual activity is to remember.

When you say "artistic incarnation should be favored in evidence" I don't think I would be far off in saying that it is another, if not the same, method of remembering. Remembering the goodness of the Lord. Faith comes from the hearing of the word of God, and I believe this word includes the goodness that God gives us.

And as much caution as we take in reading the Biblical word, this "examination" is the caution we take in reading the Word spoken in our lives past. God loves despite ourselves and our actions, and the consequences of our actions made upon incomplete knowledge will be either confirmed or confronted by God, which adds to the things to remember, things to examine in the future.

Just a curious side note. I ran a search of the Bible on the word "remember" and the whole of Genesis deals with God remembering the people. The first mention of the people of God remembering is in Numbers 11:5 when they remembered "the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic."

s.t.liaw said...

Another note:

"I say: take no thought of the harvest
But only of proper sowing."

--T.S. Eliot, Choruses from "The Rock"