Thursday, January 24, 2008

Making Faith Our Own - Part 2

In a previous post I quoted two passages about how we make our faith our own. Another great passage on this topic is Arcana Coelestia 5432. It also indicates that we're likely to believe what we grew up with - whether true or false - and explains what we should do to try to know what's actually true.
[T]he truths of faith of the church, which are called doctrinal things, when learned in early life, are taken into the mind and committed to memory just like any other memory-knowledges, and remain as such until the man begins to view them with his own eyes, and see whether they are true, and after seeing that they are true, wills to act according to them. This viewing of them, and this will, make them no longer memory-knowledges, but precepts of life, and finally life; for in this way they enter into the life to which they are appropriated....

[T]hey who are in the affection of truth for the sake of truth and of life... have indeed faith in the doctrinal things of the church; but still they search the Word for no other end than the truth, from which their faith and their conscience are formed. If anyone tells them that they ought to stay in the doctrinal things of the church in which they were born, they reflect that if they had been born in Judaism, Socinianism, Quakerism, Christian Gentilism, or even out of the church, the same would have been told them; and that it is everywhere said, Here is the church! Here is the church! Here are truths and nowhere else! And this being the case the Word should be searched with devout prayer to the Lord for enlightenment.

3 comments:

Coleman said...

I love this passage, but it's a little bit confusing (or at least, I can see how it could be). It says that somehow who sincerely searches for truth trusts the Word rather than the religion of his birth, because if the religion was true because one was born into it, then Judaism and Islam would be true, as well as all the other religions. But it still assumes that a person trusts the Word, even though people born into Islam, for example, would trust the Koran. I still like the passage, but I do wonder how people get to the point where they accept the Word as true even as they're rejecting some of the things they've been taught in their birth-religion.

Judah said...

I wonder what "staying in the doctrinal things of the church" means? What would that look like in my life?
And what is "Christian Gentilism"? If it existed in 18th century Europe, how much more prevalent is it today?

Malcolm said...

Good question, Coleman. I just wrote a new post about your question, with the two passages that I've found that help me understand it.