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Tillich’s “What Faith Is” HMXP 102 Dr. Fike. Paul Tillich Pronunciation: TILL-ik Web/courses/mwt/dictionary/mwt_themes.

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Presentation on theme: "Tillich’s “What Faith Is” HMXP 102 Dr. Fike. Paul Tillich Pronunciation: TILL-ik Web/courses/mwt/dictionary/mwt_themes."— Presentation transcript:

1 Tillich’s “What Faith Is” HMXP 102 Dr. Fike

2 Paul Tillich Pronunciation: TILL-ik Web/courses/mwt/dictionary/mwt_themes _755_tillich.htmhttp://people.bu.edu/wwildman/WeirdWild Web/courses/mwt/dictionary/mwt_themes _755_tillich.htm

3 Group Activity Directions: Summarize the main ideas in your assigned section. Be prepared to answer the questions that follow in this slide show. Group 1: Section 1, all pars. Group 2: Section 2, pars. 6-9 Group 3: Section 2, pars Group 4: Section 3, pars Group 5: Section 3, pars

4 Section 1: Definition Pars. 1 & 5: What is Tillich’s definition of faith? Par. 2: What does faith promise? Par. 3: What does faith require? Pars. 3-4: What threat is implicit?

5 Pars. 1 & 5: What is Tillich’s definition of faith? Par. 1: “Faith is the state of being ultimately concerned: the dynamics of faith are the dynamics of man’s ultimate concern.” Par. 5: “Faith is the state of being ultimately concerned. The content matters infinitely for the life of the believer, but it does not matter for the formal definition of faith.”

6 Pars. 2-3 Par. 2: What does faith promise? –“ultimate fulfillment” Par. 3: What does faith require? –“total surrender to the subject of ultimate concern” Par. 3: What threat is implicit? –“the threat is the exclusion from such fulfillment through national extinction and individual catastrophe”

7 More on Section 1 Can we have “ultimate concern” with something other than God? What does Tillich say about this in Section 1, par. 4? What does Tillich’s example promise and threaten?

8 Answers Can we have “ultimate concern” with something other than God? –Yes, “success…social standing…economic power” What does Tillich say about this in Section 1, par. 4? –“it demands unconditional surrender to its laws” What does Tillich’s example promise and threaten? –“Its threat is social and economic defeat…and its promise…the fulfillment of one’s being.” –And yet: “When fulfilled, the promise of this faith proves to be empty.”

9 Section 2 What does it mean to say that faith is a “centered act”?

10 Answer Faith is a “centered act” if it takes place “in the center of the personal life and includes all its elements” (par. 6). It “is an act of the personality as a whole.” “It is the unity of every element of the centered self” (par. 11). Par. 9: A person’s “self” is “the center of self-relatedness, in which all elements of [a person’s] being are united.” Faith is a “centered act” if it includes all of these binary oppositions: –Conscious and unconscious (see next slide) –Superego, ego, and id (two slides ahead) –Reason, will, and emotion (three slides ahead) –Cognition, will, and emotion Par. 7: “if unconscious forces determine the mental status without a centered act, faith does not occur, and compulsions take its place.” Par. 10: Faith is “ecstatic” if it transcends these oppositions. Faith includes the parts of the psyche but is a whole that transcends their sum.

11 Key Quotation about the Unconscious “…faith is a conscious act and the unconscious elements participate in the creation of faith only if they are taken into the personal center which transcends each of them” (par. 7).

12 Ego and Superego Par. 8: How does faith relate to the superego? What does Tillich say in Section 2, par. 8 about the superego? What are the good and bad ways in which the superego can become integrated into faith?

13 Answer Par. 8: How does faith relate to the superego? What does Tillich say in Section 2, par. 8 about the superego? –“the symbols of faith are considered to be expressions of the superego” What are the good and bad ways in which the superego can become integrated into faith? –“tyrant” vs. “father image” –“truth and justice”

14 Reason and Nonrational Elements Par. 9: “Faith is not an act of any of his rational functions, as it is not an act of the unconscious, but it is an act in which both the rational and the nonrational elements of his being are transcended.”

15 Par. 10: Ecstasy Faith that “transcends both the drives of the nonrational unconscious and the structures of the rational conscious” is said to be “ecstatic.” Ecstasy = “‘standing outside of oneself.’” [John Donne has a poem called “The Extasy.” See ecstacy.htm.] ecstacy.htm

16 Par. 11: Cognition vs. Emotion and Will What is the relationship between faith and thinking? Are they mutually exclusive? Or can faith be a rational act? What does Tillich say about cognition, will, and feeling here? Do they PRODUCE faith?

17 Tillich’s Point Cognition, emotion, and will are all in faith but do not cause it. “It [faith] is the unity of every element of the centered self.” IOW, cognition, emotion, and will, along with consciousness/the unconscious and ego/superego, are all present in the act of faith.

18 Section 2, Par. 12 “Faith precedes all attempts to derive it from something else, because these attempts are themselves based on faith.” What does this mean, esp. regarding “fear”? Answer: Fear is not a valid origin of faith.

19 Section 3, Par. 13: Tillich’s Definition of Faith at This Point Summary of Sections 1 and 2: “Faith is a total and centered act of the personal self, the act of unconditional, infinite and ultimate concern.” Now he asks about the source of faith in Section 3, par. 14. What does he say?

20 Section 3, Par. 14 What does Tillich mean in the following quotation? “Man is driven toward faith by his awareness of the infinite to which he belongs, but which he does not own like a possession. This is in abstract terms what concretely appears as the ‘restlessness of the heart’ within the flux of life.”

21 In Other Words The source of faith is twofold: –awareness of the infinite –passion for the infinite

22 Par. 15: An Important Distinction What is the difference between subjective faith and objective faith?

23 Answers Subjective faith = the act of believing. Objective faith = the object of belief (content). The object of faith = divinity, ultimacy. But the distinction between subjective and objective faith disappears in the experience of the ultimate: “The term ‘ultimate concern’ unites the subjective and the objective side of the act of faith” (par. 16). Par. 17: “God never can be object without being at the same time subject. Even a successful prayer is, according to Paul (Rom. 8), not possible without God as Spirit praying within us.”

24 Idolatry What is your definition of idolatry? What is Tillich’s?

25 Tillich’s Answer Idolatry = having ultimate faith in something that is not ultimate. Par. 18: “In true faith[,] the ultimate concern is a concern about the truly ultimate; while in idolatrous faith[,] preliminary, finite realities are elevated to the rank of ultimacy.”

26 What is the result of idolatry? Par. 18: “‘existential disappointment’” “…the act of faith leads to a loss of the center and to a disruption of the personality.”

27 Final Question Related to Tillich What is YOUR ultimate concern? Has it disappointed you? What do you put your faith in? Are you in the world but not of it? END


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