Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Faith Is....

Faith can be defined by religion, but does it have to be?

Religion defines itself on doctrine, behavior, ritual, text, the Transcendent, etc. Although the religious can have faith in these religious 'convictions", faith does not have to be defined in such a way.

Everyone has faith of some kind.

The scientist has faith in the ability of reason to come to understand the physical universe. And the psychologist has faith that there is something universal about "the human".

Although faith has been defined by some as evidenced in one's life, is this necessarily so? It is only if one is presupposing that faith is in some kind of belief system.

Faith can be in life itself.

Humans create, understand and "make meaning" out of their existence, this is part of being human. The attempt to create, understand and "make meaning" out of life, is faith in "life itself".

Life in America is a "promise" of opportunity because humans are equal under law. The "ideal" of our society is tolerance. Without tolerance, life is narrowed, defined, and valued only for coforming to certain values defined by certain groups. This is why human expression is protected under law in our Bill of Rights.

Americans do not believe in "the Divine Right of Kings", because we believe that government is to protect our freedom, not provide "our definitions". The first stage of a rising dictator is limitation upon the press and providing "proper definitions" of press coverage about public interests and concern. The press in our country holds government accountable to the people, as it is to report to the people what their Representatives are thinking and legislating. America's business is the "people's business".

We are a people defined by no one tradition, as we are a "melting pot" and this was the Founder's intent in the "Establishment Clause". We are not free from religion, but free of religion.

Americans are a "free people", as we value the individual's pursuit of life and liberty.
Faith in our country's values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, is enough faith for me.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Animal Nature" and Human Values

The naturalists believe that humans must be trained, just like any other animal, to "do what is right". Their understanding of "right" is whatever they think will fulfill "ultimate value". And sometimes they seek to undermine another "right" (or another's "right") to justify what they consider "ultimate".

What is "ultimate value"? Today the politically correct value the environment, redistribution of wealth for the sake of the poor, the elimination of power for the sake of equality, and the "whole" at the expense of the "part". Globalism takes the place of the "Nation-State" in this way of thinking.

Each politically correct value is upheld as a universal value, for the "common good" of humanity. The problem of veiwing one's personal "ultimate value" as a universal, is the devaluing of the other side of the paradox of "truth", which hinders democratic discourse in freedom of speech and thought. Tyranny is the result of suppressing dissent.

When one values the environment as the "ultimate", then other values, such as human life, is devalued. Humans are considered the "pollutants", who should be limited or eliminated.

The "ultimate value" of alleviating poverty does not take into consideration the way the market works in appealing to "human nature" and inevitably leads to furthering poverty, rather than alleviating it. This is not to say that capitalism does not have its downfalls, in regards to human nature, but it is the best way to further personal responsibility that flourishes corporate "need".

The "ultimate value" of eliminating power dissolves leadership of the means of determining policy decisions. America's Founders did not eliminate power, but balanced power through division of functions. And the "checks and balances" to power from this division is what has "protected" our nation from overt corruption.

I do not believe that "wholism" is a "better" way of viewing life, as it presumes too much. No human, group, or society can make absolute claims of "wholistic" understanding, as we are bound within our limitaions of context, personal history, private ability, personal interests and potentiality.

The only "ultimate" is the individual, because the individual is the universal particularized. And the "universal" particularized is "Wisdom" personified. And the best way for individual particularization (individuation) is our "way of life" in a democratic Republic.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Law Is the Boundary Between Reason and Revelation

I have been thinking about the extremes of faith apart from reason and reason apart from faith. One cannot ignore the "fall-out" of these two extremes. The casualties are of rationale and mystery.

Reason without faith leave one making decisions arrogantly, because what is known is all that should be known. But, faith without reason is no less arrogant becasue it dismisses any knowledge that one can gain in the world and makes foolish mistakes.

Laws protect us from these irregularities because our nation is based on "equality under the law". Law protects from the "sins" of tresspassing. Americans live in peace because we do not have to fear government interference or individual indiscretions. But, if we have occasion to experience such atrocities, then we have recourse, "under law".

Law protects us from the arrogant.

Faith Without Reason, A Disaster Waiting to Happen

The world we live in is a complex one, where plans do not play out as we planned. Humans are "free moral agents" and sometimes they use their agency to circumvent our lives. This is why America has laws that define what is appropriate behavior. Justice is defined by the "rule of law". But, what of differences in defining what law is? What is law based on? And Why?

These questions are things that are not all solved and certainly not agree upon. This is why in America we have an open discourse about how to 'live our lives" in an ordered fashion, without circumventing the freedom of others.

And what of social change and progress, revolutions and reform? How are these seen in the mix of appropriate behavior? When do we revolutionize or reform?

Social change and progress has defined the American way of life since our country's founding. Our Founding Fathers beleived and understood that freedom of religious conviction and conscience was to be affirmed, but not supported in the rules of governing. Otherwise, they would be in for religious terminology and relgious wars over things that cannot be resolved, as these are not empirically proven, but "faith facts".

Our pastor has been preaching on the faith of Abraham and the promise that followed. His emphasis it seemed today, was anti-cultural. He understands Abraham's use of "Hagar", as a cultural means of attaining "the promise" of a seed, which was to prosper every nation.

The anti-cultrual view is the traditional view of "Jesus as the Promised Messiah". Christianity was known to be a disenfranchised religion. And Jesus was useful in mythologizing his life as a "moral example", at least in the Catholic view.

The Jews had understood themselves as representative of humanity because of their alien status. These knew themselves as the "people of God", because of the fulfilled promise to Abraham. At least this is the story line.

Americans have understood their identity as one of " many nations". The term "out of many one". But the opposite is just as true, out of one, many, as in Abraham's case.

Radical faith is a faith not based on or in reason, as it seeks to historicize the life of Christ. Colossians was read about Jesus being the exact representation of God and to not be deluded by human philosophy. Colossians was the Church's apology for Christ and the "gospel'. It is Tradition abolutized apart from reason. And it is to epitomize the Christian experience, which idealizes reality apart from the 'real world' of politics. This is a hard sell to rational people.

The Old Testament Scripture was read which encouraged circumcision. The attempt, it seemed was to make a defense for the Church's stance on the "heart". The heart is the focus of holiness messages. (I'm sure Hebrews is not far behind, in this way of thinking.) Holiness people believe they have a mandate to "form" others in their image of God.

The Church is duty bound to "make disciples". which is at the costs of life and limb, because these believe that there really is a personal God, that answers prayer and that there really is a heaven and hell. These are Christian gnostics which believe that one is saved by their knowledge of the "gospel".

Salvation does happen to these but it is a "illusion" of "hope" and not real hope in a real world. It is Platonized ideology that hides behind Christian word,s, "Worldview" and forms of behavior. This is just as much a culture, as any other. And evangelical culture can be completely disconnected to reality, as their faith understanding is totally caught up in the tradition's (or denominational) understanding of the biblical text.

Faith apart from reason is misguided zealousness, and enthusiasm. This zealousness and enthusiasm is not based on reasoned thinking and study but on emotional reaction and response to cultural beliefs, which have not been analyzed appropriately.

It is only the American evangelicals that are so bent on defining Tradition apart from reason. And because a few nations that are tribalistic in mentality have responded emotionally, these believe that a revival of God has been "sent". And this re-inforces their "cause" of "winning the lost', which they believe is a supernaturalistic covenant with a personal God. This is Calvinistic undestanding of a covenantal theology.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Values Come Before Virtue

Values are defined as beliefs that we have an emotional investment in. Our beliefs underwrite our practices. And our practices are the public realm of "living in the world". Thus, politics is the arena that values plays itself out.

In a free society, values should be discussed in an open-ended way, with no discrimination toward the religious or the atheist. All should have voice in the public square to voice their opinion and allow all to come to some resolution, or to a consensus. There should not be propaganda, but investigative reporting, which should lead those who hear to investigate themselves. A free society does not remain free, if its freedoms are ignored, or under-valued, whether the error is in an ultra right-wing religious beliefs, or a radical left-wing secular view.

I just read on "Exploring Our Matrix", that conservatives are re-writing the Bible. These believe that the political agenda of Obama supporters was too liberal for them. Was this decision made because of some specific conservative values, such as abortion? Or a political stance on the economy?

It saddens me that conservatives do not think they have a voice or that they must segregate themselves from others who may be more informed than the wider population. And, as always, those who think that their "purity" values are being undermined have separated themselves to "form a new group". This is the Protestant Principle at work.

I agree that our society seems to be more politicized than it ever has been. But, does this mean that conservatives should withdraw to another part of society, which they create to form their own values without "outside information"?

Virtue is a response to values that differ. Virtue has to have a "context" to express itself. And usually that context is defined by the "sacred or secular", that has erred on one side or another. This is where difference can "make a difference" in virtue ethics.

"Good sports" know how to loose. And loosing does not have to mean that one become passively submissive or dependent on the winning view. Politics demands that we do not give up. Losers seek a way around the views they disagree with. But, to re-write Scripture without any scholarship, seems a little misguided. This is how cults are started. Shouldn't all conservatives be open to those with understanding about these areas of interest?

Values have become so concretized, that one cannot differ in anyway from the "party line". "Party lines" limit critical thinking, education, and a broader understanding of the issue. Broader understanding of a value is mandantory unless we want to "follow the leader" without questioning why these are values that should be maintained.

The Bible. after all, was not the focus of religious life in the Church's early history. Possibly the Bible is too much of a "value" of conservitism. Is this the "problem"? Surely these conservatives kow that the Trinity was not even formulated until the Church had existed for several hundred years.

American Conservatives should be a little more nuanced than narrowly focused and formed "group think"!

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Nobel Peace Prize and An Agenda?

By now, everyone has heard that Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize. Some Chinese dissidents had thought they had a chance.

I wonder if this prize will be a mandate to continue changing America, even though he doesn't have majority support at home or abroad?

Al Gore won it one year and his "Global Warming" has won the politically "correct" science mandated and government funded research, even though there are scientists that disagree.

I wonder....

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Side Note About Healthcare,

I heard last night and forgot to add, that the Healthcare plan is written in "conceptual language", according to Fox News. This legislation should be in legislative language, or legal language, so that later on down the road, those in power cannot interpret the legislation in the way they want, giving them an advantage and a lack of accountability.

Since our country is ruled by law, the way the law reads is cumbersome because it maintains an accountability to what it was to enforce. Whenever legalist use "open ended" language, then the courts have to determine how the law is to be enforced.

If legislation is done too tightly, then it leaves little room for negotiating real life conflicts with the market. But, if it is left too open ended, there is little use for it, except for those "in the know" to use it for their own ends.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Healthcare, At Personal Cost

My friend and her husband just retired from a large corporation with a great retirement and all the benefits, a couple of years ago. She and her husband moved South to build their dream house and "do their thing".

Today she told me they had been paying $400. per month for their healthcare plan. This past week her husband opened his retirement check and saw what he thought was a mistake. After talking with several adminstrators, he realized that their healthcare had gone up 100% to $800. per month. They cannot afford this.

My friend told me that just recently the previous insurance provider had been replace by another, who was projected to be "in bed" with Obama.

Is ther a potential government take-over of insurance companies with great promises of government "kick-backs" for those who "come on board"? I just wonder, if this is possible.

I only know that my friend and her husband will have a hard time finding another plan, as she has health problems and her husband corporation has said that if they leave their plan, he defaults on his life insurance plan.

Justice, Just Is

Justice just is. What do I mean by this?

Some view justice as transforming society into a 'new reality'. These are change agents, which view justice as a social construction. These social justice types view the law as a positive.

While the "social justice" types view the law as a positive, the "self-governing types" view the law as a negative. They view the law as protecting "rights". These view individual conscience and liberty of opinion as "moral".

Today on NPR, I listened to a Harvard professor, Sandel. He was discussing his book, "Justice". He had a number of terms that I disagreed with. Terms such as solidarity, and "the common good". His view sounded socialistic or communistic to me. He did acknowledge that there was another view; an individual and free market view.

As I consider myself an individualist, I do not value the terms of "solidarity" or the "common good".

Our Founding Fathers viewed the individual with "certain inalienable rights", the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I don't think that defining these terms in a monistic way is allowing for individual differences of opinion and conscience. Our Founding Fathers granted us liberty of expression and differences of opinion in theBill of Rights.

Kohlburg in his stages of moral development understood that the convetional level of justice was defined by the "status quo" or social groupism. The "self-actualized" conscience is a reasoned or principled conscience. Don't we want the highest standard to represent our society?

Since we are a Representative Republic, we value the individual voter's opinons, or at least, in principle. We are a government for the people and by the people. Justice is reprentative, and not a "dictatorship". History has all kinds of examples of oppressive regimes that limit individuality based on solidarity or the 'common good'.

C.S. Lewis in "Mere Christianity" viewed the human as having an innate sense of justice. Individuals know when they are being taken advantage of. Our laws protect these "rights" from other's greed, coveteousness, and unlawful confiscation. America affirm property rights.

I believe because humans are endowed with an innate nature of justice that doing injustice is what our country stood against. And this is why we are a country that is ruled by law.

I believe that there are many ways of "being good", and we should not define another's good for them.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rights and Relationship

This morning while talking with a friend, I realized that if we base our nation's values on individual rights, then the homosexual has the right to a civil marriage. Some find that this does not dissolve the issue between the Church's "place" in society, but still allows the homosexual person to have "citizen" rights. This view defines a separation between Church and State in a definate way.

Others believe that allowing homosexual marriage, will affect our society in such a way that it will "conform society" , which is the Church's job. I wonder which is of most importance; separation of Church and State and individual rights, or a re-definition to our understanding of the Church's place in society, in regards to "forming society's" future.

On the other hand, if we don't base our nation's values on individual freedom, then where does that leave the young Muslim girl? Does this young girl have a right to develop differently than her parent's religious tradition? Is tradition important in the development of children? in society? And what of a young adult's maturation? Don't humans develop apart from the definitions of cultural standards? This is an important part of growing to maturity, in evaluation of one's ultimate values and convictions.

So, will individual rights have to be defined more specifically than is granted in our Constitution? These issues have always confounded lawyers, professors, philosophers....So, I am not about to "solve' the problem :)! But, it is of uptmost importance.

But, these issues define our society. And whenever the laws define our society differently than what we have been used to, we have to change. This happened during the civil rights movement. I wonder how the definitions will affect our future?

Both sides have their strengths and their weaknesses.

Should States have a right to define these issues, themselves? If so, how will that aleviate people from "doing what they want" and going across State lines? Should the decision be decided as a nation? So, that we can enforce these issues under the "rule of law", irregardless of State? Then where do cultural differences lie?

Whatever the Supreme Courts decision will be, we, the people, will have to abide by it. And that will ultimately be played out in our courts, in various cases.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Military Pride

Last week, my husband went to a high school fair to represent Westpoint. He is the liason officier for this county.

I went with him and did some grocery shopping. After, he finished, we went to a local resturant to eat dinner. While we were sitting there, our waitress came up along with the manager and a couple of other waiters. They wanted to thank my husband for his years of service in the military and give us a discount on our meal. I was overwhelmed. It actually felt like a "healing". My husband was being appreciated, which was well-deserved. I was taken aback, but should I have been?

Westpoint has an honor code; "We don't lie, cheat or steal and we don't tolerate those who do". That is a code of ethics that stands above the average mean of our society. "Honor, duty, and country" is another standard of military behavior. Military men and women have integrity. They aren't allowed to fratenize and don't bend the rules when it is convienient, because they understand what that might cause to others, as well as the military cause of seeking liberty and justice for all.

I love the miliary for these values and wish they were values that our society held at large.

Our son leaves in a month to join "the cause" and to follow in his father's footsteps. He wants to become a general, so his Dad will have to salute him :)!

I am proud to be a part of the military through my husband's years of commitment and our son's enlistment. There is something healing about hearing someone get the accolades they so deserve.

The Bill of Rights and the Supreme Court

I heard today that the Supreme Court will be considering how our Bill of Rights will support our individual liberties, and how the State and Nation will define the boundaries of these rights.

They are also considering the 2nd Amendment. The right to bear arms.

Religious freedom has been important in our nation's history. But, where do ethical violations over-ride religious freedom? Relgious freedom should never allow abuse of a citizen 'under law, as doing so would subvert justice. The individual is of primary importance, when it comes to institutions that prey upon individual liberties.

One wonders what the Supreme Court will decide. Will it be in favor of religious liberty in regards to Church, or individual protection? I think individual protection is of utmost importance to the furthering of our society's values of "the rule of law", because otherwise, the State supports the Church in circumventing one of the gurantees of the Constitution, religious conscience. Whatever the Court decides, it will set the standard for future "rights", whether these be defined by individual conscience or group freedom.

I think of the situation of the young Muslim, turned Christian, who situated herself with an evangelical family and did not want to go back to her family of origin for fear of reprisal. Her family appealed the Court's decision. What will result in similar cases? Will we allow Sharia to have protection over individual rights, just like the U. N. did on the universal human rights declaration?

It will be an interesting debate, which I hope will be covered by some of the news sources, as it is being debated. That would be interesting.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Literalistic Bible Thumping "Models of Reality"

As I mentioned in my last post, my husband gave a lecture on his "Faith and Society" course.

Another important dimension to his course is the teaching of "models of reality". A model of reality is a type of "worldview", but is not a cultural worldview, but a naturalistic/supernaturalistic view of reality. This view is based in one's understanding of God, cosmos, and personability of God, as well as man, man's understanding of God and man's response to God. Is God the intiator, as Calvin supposed? Or is man the reasoned being, that presupposes "God"?

"Models of God" must be understood within these paradigms as they drive how we understand "theology", the "world", "culture", human beings and history.

The traditional view is a salvation history view. Jesus is God's ultimate purpose and focus in history, as Jesus is the "way of salvation". This view believes that a personal God directs the events of history using a specific nation, Israel, to perform his purpose and plan for the world.
It is an objective, hisorical, realist, and literalist view of Scripture.

A more subjective view would view God as the "divine influence" in a person's innate nature. This view views the individual as a possiblity/potentiality that needs development and direction. Determination is not the focus, as God is not personally involved, but has imprinted his image upon man. The person must respond to what God has gifted within. Salvation is viewed as fulfilling one's life purpose or plan. God's plan is more subjectively understood.

A developmental view would understand God as irrelavant, except for human development. Scripture is only useful for the purpose of 'helping" the individual to "respond" to their innate "God consciousness". Through their interaction with scripture and others in community, "God conscieousness" is re-inforced and the person responds uniquely to "meaning" within the context of community.

As I have shared, the meaning of Scripture and community has collapsed into the "normal" for me. There is no distinction for me between the sacred and secular and it irritates me when I think others "enforce" their "model of reality" upon me or anyone else. Faith is the "model of reality" that "reads" everything that "happens". In this case, Job's "model" had collapsed, and he was struggling to understand, while "Job's comforters" "read" Job's life in another way, a theologized one.

On another blog, I sometimes read, it was mentioned that there is disagreement as to how to understand "Paul's Gospel". Some believe in a "Justification by Faith"(Calvin/Lutheran), while others believe in a "moral model" approach (Catholic/Methodist/Wesleyan). But, what about an approach that leaves the individual, as the cogent interpreter? All could be understood as "models" of understanding. Faith is the primary means of grasping meaning. But, is faith necessary in supernaturalistic 'models"? That is the question that cannot be answered.

Since meaning is understood as a personal message of faith. This is only experienced when people are open or are "needy". Whenever a person outgrows a meaning of the "Gospel", or the "meaning" becomes insignificant for "other reasons", "faith in the Gospel" dies.

Scriptures then cease to have any authoriatative power, as it is viewed from a more "objective perspective". I think this view leaves room for individual development, group response to meaning, and interpretive influences.

Nihlism does not have to be the result of "loosing faith". Naive faith is just that, a childish understanding, a need-based interpretation, or a social signification.

Observer or Observed?

My husband loves the interface of science and religion, but not to further evolution's "worldview", but faith's. He veiws science as limited, because reason cannot be absolutized.

This past week, he presented some of the material, re-organized, about "Faith and Society", a Templeton course prize winner a number of years ago.

The point he made that I find interesting in light of paternalistic views on society and governing, is on Quantum theory. He pointed out that other theories in physics are deterministic; Newtonian, Relativity, etc. But, Quantum theory is premised on probabilities. There is no determinant future and individuals in this view are potentialities. (I wonder if "free market economies" could also be understood in a "quantum" way"?)

But, one statement that he has made in the past and made this day, was that when we observe something, it changes the observed/observer. The intersubjectivity I find interesting, when we talk about "forming" individuals, because the very notion of "formation" is a type of observation, itself. One must "know" or "evalutate" another's life and determine what needs "change" and then seek to "enforce" or "promote" these values, goals, or "ideas".

Choice is of ultimate importance to quatum theory, because it is only in choice that "Schrodinger's cat" changes. Those that try to determine another's choice, are themselves surprised to find how complex individual's choices, wills, values can be.

I wonder what psychologists think about these probabilities and the changes that happen becasuse of observation of another person, since this is the way pscyhological and sociological science is done?


Evolutionists are in a quandary over whether altruism is innate or formed. Since evolution understands the world in a "survival of the fittest" 'worldview', evolutionists wonder how humans become "more than animals".

Some evolutionists go with Aristotle's virtue or Kant's categorical imperative to formulate their understanding of enviroments that produce 'productive and propering" humanity. Others believe that scientific investigation must understand human innatedness, so that natural/biological scientists can inform social and psychological scientists on human development, while others believe that religion can be useful to "form society" in "a perfect" and "ordered" Marxist way. ("Relgion is the opiate of the people")

Nature and nurture has always baffled social and natural scientists seeking to understand the human. What baffles me, is their arrogance in the face of an individual, when they speak out so loudly against "imperialism". That smells of paternalistic attitudes that they themselves are strongly against when it comes to paternalistic views in certain communities or countries.

Postmodernity does have its drawbacks.

Paternalism, Society's Banal "Ideal"

I believe in strong families, but unfortunately, our society has chosen other values above family values. These values have underpinned our economic prosperity and our society's flourishing materialism.

We, in America, believe in individualism, and the free market, which rewards those who persevere in their goals. This entreprenurial spirit has blessed us with many technological advantages, that have made our society more convienient. And convienience has led to our "way of life" in pursuing leisure activities. This is good and bad for our society.

While I believe that the family is the most important focus for society and human flourishing, I also believe in individuality, independence to pursue one's goals, and the free market economy that makes for prosperity.

Many think that paternalism is the way for society to function. These believe that society's institutions of government and Church should underwrite and provide for families. I do think that there should be a "safety net" for those that find themselves in circumstances beyond their control. But, I do not think that govenment or Church should underwrite irresponsibility in financial or human affairs.

Paternalistic attitudes, whether through the 'welfare state", "discipleship programs", or "elite intellectualism" is a bane on the "ideal" society, because it limits growth of individual participants in society at large. Those who are "leaders" in paternalistic and patroninzing environments must have a grandoise sense of "self". Paternalism determines goals "ahead of time" to insure "outcomes", instead of allowing human freedom, decision, and commitment. Paternalism undermines human choice, individual differences and true justice.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Sacred and Secular Faith

Religion exists because we define and distinguish between the sacred and secular. But, what if everything is seen as sacred, if used in the proper way? Isn't this view looking at life as graced?

Why do the religious have to make distinctions? Is it because the religious love to think they are especially special? Ot that their group is more holy or 'true" to Christian faith than another? Are these distinctions because this is how every group defines themselves...in contrast to another group?

Why do the religious need to feel special? Is it because they were never special in their families of origin? Is it because this is what they have always been taught and have always believed?

I think that evangelical faith is taught and caught, but it is mainly emotionally driven and experienctially focused. There is no real substance to evangelical faith. And evangelicals believe that this is good, because reason is suspect.

I remember taking a course 10 years ago. The professor was teaching on "biblical Chsitianity" and I remember wondering why he added "biblical" to Christian, as if there was any other kind of Christian.

This course set "secular philosophy" over against "biblical revelation". Tertullion's "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem" was the 'battle cry of this course. "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church", etc. This view sacralizes sacrifice, and marginalizes philosophy.

This view sets up a dichotomy to faith and reason. This is supernaturalism's strength and many denominations believe in this type of 'Christian faith'.

Another view is that nature itself is graced. This view does not see human nature as totally depraved and in need of supernatural rescue, but a deprivation of nature that needs nurture and grace. One is a Reformed Protestant view, while the other is a more Catholic view.

As I have been thinking about faith and reason, I have come to the conclusion that there can be no universal way that an individual develops faith. But, I think that if one comes to faith through personal experience, where revelation was of primary importance, then there is need for a develpment of reaon's need of development. Reason can be the friend of faith, because it is grounded in the "real world".

Students that come to our university can sometimes be idealistic and think that there is something "more" special about a radical faith that is separated from the 'real world" or separated from rationale or reason. This is where I believe that professors and mentors can help these young adults to understand their faith in a broader way. This is important, otherwise, some may never develop their unique gifts and much would be lost to the world.

Evangelicals can be prime culprits of this kind of thinking because evangelicalism is grounded in experience and revelation, at the expense of reason and traditon.

I think the answer is understanding how reason can be grounded in the real world and be faithful to faith, is found in our form of government, a Representative Republic. And this grounding allows faith individual expression and conscience, while the proper use of power is balanced across three branches of government. The individual has a choice or voice in the process of their representation. Otherwise, one is determined under a "Sovereign" supernaturalistic, super-intending God, without personal choice. And choice is of primary importance in the theme of 'freedom'. And freedom is what justice is about.