I’ve been having a few blogging conversations over the last few months about the nature of faith.
I also find myself currently carefully re-reading James Alison’s book The Joy of Being Wrong for my dissertation. Today, I came across the following Alisonian idea: that “faith” is not about a creed so much as it is simply about the “reality of the concrete historical presence of Christianity”. By “Christianity”, Alison doesn’t seem to mean “the religion Christianity” but rather fact of all that God has done cosmically through Christ.
As I understand Alison – and I am willing to be corrected by someone with a greater familiarity with Alison’s works – he is trying to say that what the Triune God has done in Christ – in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ – is “really real”. And the “religion” of Christianity is simply stating the fact of this cosmic reality. Whether or not one “believes” this is much less important than that it *is*. It’s an intriguing idea.
In a couple of other places, I have been given to reflect on the nature of human doubt and certainty with respect to being a Christian disciple. One person has said to me that he thinks a certain Christian camp glorifies doubt too much and that this glorification of doubt is not helpful in making Christian disciples.
To another person, I’ve reflected that I’m more comfortable with those who doubt than with those who are certain. I think that this is because I have seen people who are certain that they are certain use their certainty to alienate people from Christ and also to hurt them. I’ve also heard people who are certain that they are certain proclaiming ideas that are highly dubious if not already recognised as heresy (e.g. prosperity gospel and certain forms of deliverance ministry).
I am rather taken with Alison’s idea that the “Christian faith” is more about the “fact of Christ” than anything else.