Faith Integration Modules / Learning Objects
Module 3: What is faith?
Video Clip Introduction (Download RealPlayer)
What is faith; how does it grow; where does lead?
Faith is complex. But in concise terms, it represents a sense of personal meaning, life orientation or worldview. By nature, faith reflects:
· one's understanding and sense of the supernatural
(believing) – “head”
· one's level of trust and commitment, relationship to the supernatural God
(trusting and worship) “heart”
· ethical and moral behavior, and interpersonal relationships
These represent distinct cognitive, affective and practical dimensions of faith.
Whatever dimension one considers, a clear relational quality is implicit. It links humans with the supernatural, with other humans, and with the created world. It is more than mere mental assent. There is a clear ethical, moral, behavioural outgrowth.
The spirit of relationship is also conducive to group cohesiveness growing out of unselfish, unconditional love (agape), group sensitivity (koinonia), and service (diakonia). The body of Christ metaphor captures beautifully this communitarian spirit.
Thus faith can be seen as part of God's plan to reverse the alienation caused by sin. It reflects an active personal connection with God through Jesus and the nurture of the Holy Spirit, with fellow creatures, and one’s relationship with the natural environment.
Such faith is dynamic. It grows continually. Obviously, small children perceive God, the world, and others differently from older children, adolescents and adults. Throughout life, individuals develop through definitive stages of maturation.
As a definitive statement though, two main points are made.
First, faith represents personal meaning-making resulting from revealed truth and interaction in, and with the others, and the environment. (Rom 12:3)
Second, humans are active agents in that process. At the risk of reductionism and over-simplification, this might be represented as in the following model:
1. What is the relationship between faith as a gift of God (Rom 12:3) and the role of humans as active agents in making personal and collective meaning-making?
2. What is the relationship between human activity and the work of the Holy Spirit? (Ezek 18:31; John 14:26; John 14:16, 17)
3. What are the relationships between “knowledge” and “worship”, “knowledge” and “service”, and “worship” and “service”? (See the diagram)
Fowler, James, Stages of Faith, New York: Harper & Row, 1981.
©2002 Don C. Roy, Ph.D. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Last updated April 23, 2006