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Questions about Faith

Some questions that surfaced in our philosophy of religion class.

1. How can an absolute God still relate himself to us? How can one still seek him if he is by fact and by right the wholly unattainable?

2. Why doesn't he just show himself to us? Why does he hide from us especially in those times where we need Him?

3. How can I think God without falling into idolatry, where I reduce him to an anthropomorphic image with human traits, which necessarily comes from and ends with me? If I were to take God as that which escapes conceptualization and thought, how can I then think of Him?

4. Is everything I understand about God or know about him in the end "subjective" in the sense that it is still human, and precisely, not divine?

5. Against Anselm, do I really have to believe first in order to understand? Is faith a requirement in order to reach any knowledge about Him or the divine? Would that be not like, to use a simplistic metaphor, putting the carriage before the horse? Or precisely: how can the non-believer ever reach belief if belief itself is first required to know if he exists?

6. How am I to know what is God's will for me? I am neither an Abraham nor a Mary. By what ways and under what signs do I find out what he wants for me? How am I to be sure that what I choose is not really my own will, but His? since it is fairly easy for me (most of the time without myself knowing) to project unto him what I want for myself.

7. Can one believe in God without wanting to understand or know a little about Him? Or can one desire Him without believing in Him? And again, can one attempt to know him with neither belief nor love? Or must I do all of these in order to be called a true man of faith: believe Him, seek and desire Him, and want to understand Him?

8. Is faith a requirement in order to live? Or is faith an option to be taken depending on the person? What does faith "add," as it were, to the life of the believer?

9. Why does man seek God? Why is there a longing within his very being (most times confused or without a name) for what is absolute? What does the God-question itself (Is there one? What is He?)--or the fact that the very question is raised--say about the being of the human being?

10. Finally, which is my own as a teacher, do all these questions end in vain? My fear, and always has been, is that asking questions such as these lead more to undermining faith rather than strengthening it.

To stand on one leg and prove God's existence is a very different thing
 from going on one's knees and thanking Him. 

Gustave Dore, Ezra Kneels in Prayer

Yes, it's been quite a semester.


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