27 June 2016: A Matter of Faith – group discussion

The search for ‘truth’ somewhat counters the need for ‘faith’.  If one knows the truth one doesn’t need to have faith to believe – one already knows.  Faith is built up by experience, so one’s life and work and experiences shape our views on what is true/truth.  When one steps out in faith into new experiences we have to place our trust on the extension of previous experiences of truth.  Generally a rationalist reduces experiences to previous truths and therefore reduces/eliminates the need for faith.  The greater one holds the Biblical writings as literal truth, the less the need for faith in ‘things unexplained’.

We thought that over the centuries, people have become more compassionate, and civilisation has brought life improvements to many millions; there is less violence now than in earlier times – we just hear about violent acts more.  Our individual theological reflection is a result of our society and context. We noted the politicisation of religious belief and practice in US politics (it’s a necessity) which contrasts the formal position of separation of church and state.

Prayer and faith go hand in hand.  The spirit of God is here, present, within.  Pray provides insight, reflection (of self and others), a time to step aside from the pace of everyday life, internal centring; we don’t regard prayer as supplication to an external entity to interact with the world.

Ian Harris

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