Sunday, October 17, 2004

A Matter Of Faith

A short post -- schedule's tight this morning, but I want to call everyone's attention to Ron Suskind's article today in the Sunday Times Magazine, complete text here.

I'll comment on this article later, and at length, but one small point: in the contest between faith and facts, facts often have a way of getting the drop on you.


Blogger Rex Saxi said...

Howbout this for a thought--the Bush/Kerry contest can be thought of as a conflict between Protestantism (Bush) and C(c)atholicism (Kerry). What I mean is this: As you might remember from the history of Christianity, probably THE key theological difference between Protestantism and Catholicism is the importance of faith as compared to works.

For Protestantism, at least as it is practiced in the United States, the key event is the acceptance of, and faith in, God (Jesus Christ). For many Protestants, that is what they mean when they say they have been born again. (My uncle, an evangelical, calls these "sign on the dotted line Christians".) By being born again, they KNOW that they are elect, and to think that their works have any bearing on their salvation is apostasy. Therefore, anything they DO is OK, because irrelevant.

In Catholicism (at least for me, since I grew up Catholic and still hold it dear), there is a more complex, I would say even mystical, relationship between faith and works. Kerry even alluded to it when he said that "Faith without works is dead." (Paraphrasing James 2:14ff.) Both are required, and can be seen as aspects of the same reality. What you BELIEVE informs what you DO, and what you DO creates who you are struggling to BECOME. This is why, I think, that the social gospel has been so important to Catholicism. There is no key event, just the recurring drama of life.

Obviously, the above thoughts are cast in the broadest way possible, and might have the whiff of caricature, but I think they provide an interesting way to look at the two people running for President for the two major parties.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Antonius said...

Rex -
Actually, that was going to be the subject of a future post - the emphasis of the faith-based initiative crew from the administration has been, in the field, to confirm that the candidate recipient of a grant is prosletyzing the need for beneficiaries to accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior. Little emphasis is placed on the actual work a charitable organization is doing.


4:53 PM  

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