Faith–Kirsopp Lake

After all, Faith is not belief in spite of evidence, but life in scorn of consequence–a courageous trust in the great purpose of all things and pressing forward to finish the work which is in sight, whatever the price may be.  Who knows whether the ‘personality’ of which men talk so much and know so little may not prove to be the temporary limitation rather than the necessary expression of Life?

6 responses

  1. why is “Faith” courageous, is it a choice?
    Seems to be more un-conscious, animal if you will, than that to me.
    Also this seems to be a particular kind/species of faith rather than faith writ large.

    • dmf, these are issues larger than we can clarify, much less settle, in comments boxes. Perhaps like you, I do not know that I am willing to treat as disjunctive faith-as-belief from faith-as-courage. I believe more would have to be said about all that. What I do like about Lake’s comment is the idea that faith is not (or at least is not simply) a matter of belief. (Kierkegaard’s) Climacus reminds us that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but sin. And that is a reminder, I take it, that faith cannot be construed simply as an epistemic disposition; its actual nature is more complicated; something like courage, scorn of consequence, strikes me as a plausible complication of faith’s nature.

      Yes, we can talk of animal faith–in something like Santayana’sense–but we do not have to treat ‘animal’ there as pleonastic. (Perhaps Santayana does treat it as pleonastic.) We can also talk of perceptual faith–in something like MMP’s sense–and treat that faith as something that is not “faith in the sense of a decision…as what is before any position…” (MMP). And so on. But I do not know that either (Santayana’s) animal faith or (MMP’s) perceptual faith is the sort of faith that is featured in the NT, the sort that Climacus is elucidating. What the differences are I am not wholly prepared to say (although I take Climacus’ reminder to speak to the issue). –At any rate, I agree that Lake is talking about a “kind or species of faith, rather than faith writ large.” But I’m not sure that Lake took himself to be characterizing “faith writ large”, despite the majiscule ‘F’ in the quotation.

  2. certainly wasn’t trying to nail down the subject at hand more just riffing on it, but am very interested in what both underlies and calls to/for choice and belief and I think there is something akin to faith at work there, and yes a human if not all too human sort of critterly faith, but I think more like Levinas’ il y a than a matter of courage, tho may well be a source of courage. I think that the particularly NT
    clothing of faith is more a matter of sociology than phenomenology.
    SK is an interesting take on this and more and more I think that there isn’t so much of a “leap” of faith in his work as a surrender to and or falling into/under faith that comes at the limits of, and or the exhausting of, our graspings after maximal grip/control…

    • Oh, dmf, I apologize if I sounded high-handed; I was really talking to myself about comment boxes more than you. I like what you say about Climacus, and am sympathetic to it although I do think that somehow for C faith involves both leap and surrender, some kind of synergy of spontaneity and receptivity: we are “fellow-workers” with God. But I can’t take this very far. Thanks, as always, for the helpful comments.

  3. The ‘leap’ is partly the shift an onlooker sees; you can’t vault yourself into faith willy nilly. You often are ‘leapt’ into faith. Yet at other times it can seem a very simple decision that nevertheless makes all the difference, and it looms very large in retrospect, in the scheme of things. In Either/Or, where we get the language of choice rather than ‘leap’ we also get the language of receiving the self, as the heavens part. In Postscript you won’t find “leap of faith” — but you do find ‘death leap’ and ‘leap between categories.’ I think SK was mainly worried about thinking faith just came with the territory with no activity-receptivity-responsiveness at all on my part. I inherited it like my mother’s eyes.

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