Dynamics of Faith Essay

This essay has a total of 722 words and 4 pages.


Dynamics of Faith





The Faith of Paul Tillich


The Dynamics of Faith is an in-depth look at what faith is from a theological perspective.
Tillich seems to be replying to all of the writers we have read thus far and placing
their arguments within the context of faith. Nowhere is this more apparent than on page
24, in his discussion of community. He rightly acknowledges that faith is usually seen in
its sociologic setting. He then proceeds to sort out the different claims, saying that

community is necessary to see the manifestation of faith because we need the language to
express it. He also states that we need community for the content of our faith. This is
almost Durkheimian, except that Tillich does not seem to be saying that community is
necessary for faith because we are ultimately concerned with society, as Durkheim would
claim, but that we cannot express that faith without community. This is a nice way of
tying

together the religious experiences that James describes with the aspect of community that Durkheim discusses.
Tillich’s observations seem to fit very well with any religious tradition. Since he
is describing a theory of faith and not religion as a whole, he does not have to deal with
what makes up a religion. The theory he puts forth could incorporate anything from faith
in God to nationalism, as he describes. Thus, the intent is more important than the name
of the organization, whether it be classified as a religion or not. Although this may be
seen as

copping out, as some accused James of doing, Tillich gives such a detailed definition of
faith that it is impossible to accuse him of taking the easy path. He does stray away from
incorporating all religion when discussing mythology. He says that Christianity is
superior to religions bound to a natural myth. This is clearly a very biased statement,
and throughout the book it is obvious that Tillich is much more familiar with Christianity
than other traditions. However, he is very quick to remind us that Christianity, too, is a
myth.


Although there are any popular perceptions of faith, Tillich goes beyond all of this,
saying that the popular perceptions, even by Christian religious traditions, are
misconceptions. We often talk about having faith that there is life on another planet or
something. To Tillich, these things do not constitute faith, but belief. The difference is
that faith is ultimate concern. Faith must include both a cognitive and emotional
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