Posted by: strasskt | April 23, 2009

Never Leave a Text Unchanged

When discussing my project with Dr. Robinette, I mentioned how my sources have impacted my thoughts regarding faith.  After researching a variety of definitions of faith, I came to realize how ambiguous it can be.  During the middle of my research, I began noticing each time an author or a classmate mentioned the word “faith”.  I would think to myself: How are they using the term in this context?  Should they really be saying “belief system”?  What does faith mean to them?  Is this a positive or negative view of faith?  These questions ran through my head often during class, even if I didn’t have the answers to them.  All of our extensive discussion on hermeneutics has shown that what someone says has a vast amount of history behind it.  The New Atheists’ view of faith is grounded in their negative opinions of religion.  Many theologians’ views of faith reflect their belief that God is indescribable.  One of my favorite parts of research this semester was diving deeper into these definitions and exploring the history behind them.  I know I’ll never be able to hear the word “faith” without having these questions fire off inside me.  In truth, a project like this should change your thinking forever.  It has been a growth process, and I think I have learned unique things I will carry with me into my next stage in life.

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Responses

  1. So true, Kimber. I agree that the texts that I have read this semester, both theological and atheist, have left a great impact on me for years to come. How many classes can you say that about?

    I understand what you mean by questioning the way people use the word “faith,” as I keep thinking about nonviolence, since that was the general topic of my research. Lately I have been thinking that although the type of violence I mainly discussed in my senior project was that of mass destruction and religious extremist groups, it is not the only form of violence. There is so much violence that can occur in very subtle ways that it can sometimes go unnoticed. I wrote that religion is not violent and it is good for humanity, but from now on, after anything that occurs regarding the involvement of a religion, whether its a change of doctrine, a statement on a current event, or anything else, I will ask myself if it is a nonviolent action and (fingers crossed) whether it helps support my argument in my paper.
    Before this class I realized the nonviolence and violence of religion, but now I question it much more.

  2. Kimber,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Before our discussion of hermeneutics these past two semesters, I never realized that my beliefs were not as novel and self-generated as I once thought. How we think, what we value and the presuppositions that ground our beliefs and influence our perceptions are all shaped by a plethora of factors: social, political, economic, personal, historical, etc.. I first reacted with a sense of discomfort – I felt a loss of control (which was completely unexpected). The glaring truth is that we cannot break free from the hermeneutical circle. However, learning about the fact that the circle exists and understanding the historical context of our worldviews gives us the power to understand why we believe/think/value the things we do. And that makes the learning process so much more fun.


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