Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sun. Oct. 2, 2011 (Karl Brown)

To review the history of Faith surely requires more than a single talk, so Karl Brown presented his first in his series on October 2nd, based on the lectionary texts for that day. Karl's opening premise is that you can only have faith in something you cannot prove to be true. According to the earliest legends in Genesis and Exodus, at least some Jews felt that they could indeed prove that God existed, therefore, they did not really need to have faith that there was a God, and instead only had to focus on following that God's ways. Those people are recorded as having heard God's voice, feeling God's presence being manifested by cloud and fire, manna, and improbable victories. But as time passed, so did these very personal and direct manifestations, and Faith entered a new phase. By the time of St Paul, religious fanatics not only had to have faith that this elusive and silent God existed, but also that an utterly strict observance of ritualistic actions effectively curried favour with this elusive God. Paul followed that life journey for years before concluding that ritualistic purity and actions were no longer desired by this God, but instead, one must simply have faith in God, and act accordingly. Jesus had already been developing this theory, synthesizing all the Jewish religious rituals, commandments and commentary to just two statements for the believer: Love God as much as is possible for you, and love your neighbour. Pascal viewed faith rather differently, as a way of hedging his bets. He argued that one is better off believing there is a God (even if this turns out to be incorrect) than in believing there is no God (and finding out upon death that you are dead wrong and have no further options). All of this (and more) led to a lively time of discussion and a most enjoyable gathering around coffee. [JEK]

Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, October 2nd, 2011 using your browser's preferred media player.



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