Saturday, December 13, 2008

Defining Faith in Scientific Terms

Thinking about faith, I have come to understand the complexity of defining faith. I have come to understand my faith in completely ethical terms. While this does not dismiss different opportunities for playing out that ethical "commitment", faith, itself, is undefined and is meaningful only to the individuals that give meaning to their lives by the things they choose to do or commit to because of various understandings of faith. This view can be applauded by Lutherans, Anglicans and their cousins. I don't think that Roman Catholicism or the Reformed traditions understand their faith in this way, as they look to define their faith too stringently on 'other wordly" terms or " this worldly" terms.

Just recently the Roman Catholics have decided that stem cell research, the morning after pill, and in vitro fertilization are wrong for people of faith! Their tradition defines their faith from the top down, while the Reformed and charismatics define their faith from their theology or experience. Their faith is one of common understanding as well. I think both kinds of Christian traditions are limited in their frameworks! One uses the Church as a means to define everyone's behavior, while the other defines everyone's understanding or experience! Both are exclusivistic in their ways and understandings.

I think the Church at large should not be defined upon these things, as they limit everyone's personal growth. That growth should not be gauged and determined by another, but should be the fruition of the relationships that are wrought within the walls of the Church, as well as society at large. The individual cannot grow if there is limitations upon his education, because the parents define and determine the particular job the individual will do. This limits growth, as it does not allow the child freedom to explore themselves. And most of us know that young adults in college change their majors, as they become aware of another subject that intrigues them. Who are the parents, to limit that young person's growth by deciding and determining what that child may become? Some cultures, of course, allow this type of upbringing and the parents even determine the child's marriage partner. While it may help further the tradition and the families' "name", deciding or determination by the parent limits the child's awareness of himself and the "other". It breeds prejuidice toward those "outside the tradition". These kinds of cultures are not ethical in their understandings of themselves or the broader world, as they judge the outside world as "evil", "immoral", "bad", or etc. It does not breed in the child a desire to investigate, explore or value "becoming". Tradition is limiting in this way.

While Christian faith has been defined upon tradition, experience, and text, all of these hinder the broader scope of moral development in ethical understandings of those outside one's denomination or tradition. And it limits all of us in our coming to terms of peaceful co-existence!

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