In his book, A Common Faith, Dewey defines religious as the oppositional gulf between the traditional organized religion and the modern advances in science. He differentiates it from religion by defining religion as the, “recognition of the part of human of some unseen higher power as having authority of his destiny as well as as being entitled to compliance, reverence in addition to worship.” The unseen part of him as human is the higher power to have control of his destiny and the knowledge of being entitled to obedience in the future life. He says he got no might to describe the shape of his destiny and the line to tread as the ability is unseen and therefore lacks it all (Dewey, par 3).
The current religions are not facing the reality on the controversial issues in the ages when religious issues are to be faced and addressed within the context of the issues at hand. The religions fail to address the issues on the spiritual education relating to the beliefs of the religion and the region. He says that experience converts the imagination and ideals intro action and this influences the religion. He adds that the religious beliefs are not determined by the special system of beliefs and the institutionally practiced practices (Dewey, par 4). When he says that the religious introduces the genuine perspective, he meant that the persons who do not accept the intellectual and moral implications or do not accept the moral implication of the established religion and this is the point where the religion plays a critical role in enlightening and revealing to such persons by distinctively telling them what is to be done and that which is not morally accepted.
He defines faith as a means through which the provision of thoughts concerning logic, belief and the conscience about religious expectations and where the religious faith is understood to be that with intent and purpose in the ideal ends of our motives and with moral intentions to meet the expectation of the religious doctrines. The ideals we have and dispatch on are comparatively ideal in the sense that the truth behind the moral expectation and the spiritual intelligence that the religion demands are not yet revealed to us and the virtues of our ideals are viewed on the grill rail of the religious expectations (Dewey, par 6).
He identifies that our ideals are born with us and bred to influence our behaviors and actions on the desired end and the expectation of the factors influencing them too. The situation of value and genuineness of our ideals with reference to the religious expectations is important to Dewey in that it provides the comparative platform with the religious expectations and the ability to distinctively identify the direction to take as the beliefs, values and norms are affected by a number of varied factor (Dewey, par 6).The comparative ability between the two sets of beliefs, faith and practices is the benefit that the comparative ideal gives Dewey. Ideals are born and exist with us from the time of our existence. They are bred and are shaped with the experiences we go through as humans. It’s from the ideals that the moral imaginations are generated and directive ideas and criteria set from the ideals (Aden, par 4).
Dewey defines God as a supreme being and as the unification of all the ideal ends in the lives of humans and the entire living world and the imaginations which bestows a power of great might in mind and transforms them in action. God is a supernatural being with the powers emanating from a point of belief that humans cannot understand easily without the help of the Holy Spirit (Dewey, par 7).
Tillich’s The Dynamics of Faith
According to Tillich faith is defined to be an act of personality with a cognitive nature to identify and the affirmation on the transcend nature of the ultimate reality. Tillich says that the state to be faith in relation to intellectual inquiry and an act of acceptance and surrender. As he defines faith as the ability to let oneself believe in something, the relationship between faith and experience is that experience trigger one to believe of trust a certain incidence as it can also tramper with ones attitude to accept a given phenomenon. (Tillich, par 3). Experience determines the knowledge of an individual on given issues and this subsequently helps in the process of believing on the possibility of something performing or an individual delivering the pre-determined expectations. He distinctively defines true faith as that which addresses the ultimate reality from the false faith which tries to reveal to the world a reality based on perceptions and not the ultimate reality. The true faith strives to real the reality behind the happenings within the ultimate reality in the world today (Aden, par 6).
For Tillich doubt is implicit to faith in the sense that the doubt determines the enthusiasm in one and the ability to believe a certain phenomenon. If there is no parting from the objective of faith, that is the point to be trusted with the related ideologies, then the issue on the understanding ion the possibility becomes a matter of conviction, and not of faith. Involvement in ultimate realism brings conviction to faith, but parting from ultimate realism brings uncertainty to faith (Tillich, par 3-4). The uncertain faith is defined as the false faith When one doubts or casts aspersion on given issue within the religious dispensation then the faith to believe in the might of the person or object to perform a given task the reduces and the doubts take part of the emotions and consciousness to believe in the abilities (Aden, par 3-4).
The symbols of faith are the means through which faith is translated and expressed to the outside world. One of the symbols of faith is the language used in the expression of faith. The symbols of faith differentiate between the different types of faith in the society. The ability of the language to express the ultimate reality makes it one of the most expressive symbols of faith. He says that God is a symbol for God to mean that God is the most fundamental symbol for the ultimate concern (Aden, par 4). Even if God is rejected by the people, the sovereignty of the symbol is the unchangeable with the circumstances it is subjected to for God Remains God for ever. He identifies the need to believe in the presence of God as the belief in the mighty works of God and the ability of God to give laws that govern our systems of living. God governs all that happens and the presence should not be questioned (Tillich, par 5).
There are two types of faith and these are true and false faith which are determined by the ability and the relation to the ultimate reality. Faith ids influenced by the ability to reason in that reasoning affects the direction thought and subsequently the ability to reason and believe in certain phenomena. Life in faith is the life that one lives under the true doctrines of the religion and the conviction to believe for a lifetime. The role of courage is to give one the power to address and face certain issues relating to the beliefs and gives one the guts to seek the reality in the controversial issues of religion (Tillich, par 7). Tillich says that faith precede all attempts to derive it from something else as these attempts are themselves based on faith and this means that faith gives one the ability to know and identify reality on the different issues in the religious sector.
- Aden, Ross. Religion Today : A Critical Thinking Approach To Religious Studies. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012.
- Dewey, John. A Common Faith. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013. Discovery eBooks
- Tillich, Paul. Dynamics Of Faith / Paul Tillich: New York : Perennial, (2001)., 2001. Harvard Library Bibliographic Dataset. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.