On no longer being sure whether I ‘believe in’ God

In writing the previous post a footnote occurs to me: is ‘believe in’ the right verb?

My gut instinct is that many others are happier: I think the Church (and with it and in it, me) more nearly ‘confesses,’ ‘proclaims,’ and ‘worships’ God than ‘believes in’ Him.

Such gut instincts could only be proved or disproved by a decent exegetical and theological analysis of ‘salvation by faith,’ I suppose, but I offer as a first thought that privileging ‘belief’ (or even ‘faith’) over confession and worship might come in part from privileging Paul, or perhaps even a particular reading of Paul, over the rest of Scripture, particularly perhaps the Old Testament. And I am almost certain that the meaning of belief in modern English (‘giving cognitive assent to’) is a million miles away from anything Paul meant to suggest was important.

4 Comments

  1. Fernando A Gros
    Dec 29, 2007

    First off – great to see you blogging!!!

    Second, follow your gut on this one. There is something here that relates to the old philosophy of religion distinction between belief-in and belief-that. The church certainly does not believe in the sense of belief-that.

    If we were to privledge a Pauline-reading, then it would force us in the direction of belief-in, which is another way of saying trust, which in turn is deeper than “just” epistemology.

    That leaves me cheering more for confess and worship over proclaim, at least as naive terms.

    Oh and it’s great to see you blogging!!!

  2. -kp-
    Dec 29, 2007

    The church certainly does not believe in the sense of belief-that.

    Really?

    As in – to put an extremely fine point on the issue – the church does not believe that Jesus was raised from the dead? The church, then, only believes in the God who raised Jesus from the dead? Is not the first belief prerequisite for the second?

    Cheers,
    kp

  3. Fernando A Gros
    Jan 3, 2008

    OK – can we put a “merely” somewhere in my first statement and call it even?

  4. -kp-
    Jan 25, 2008

    Absolutely!

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