Thursday, April 10, 2008

a word from our favorite modern philosopher, Martin Buber

(from Two Types of Faith)

There are two, and in the end only two, types of faith. To be sure there are very many contents of faith, but we only know faith itself in two basic forms. Both can be understood from the simple data of our life: the one from the fact that I trust someone, without being able to offer sufficient reasons for my trust in him; the other from the fact that likewise without being able to give a sufficient reason, I acknowledge a thing to be true. In both cases my not being able to give a sufficient reason is not a matter of defectiveness in my ability to think, but of a real peculiarity in my relationship to the one whom I trust or to that which I acknowledge to be true. It is a relationship which by its nature does not rest upon 'reasons', just as it does not grow from such; reasons of course can be urged for it, but they are never sufficient to account for my faith.
The relationship of trust depends upon a state of contact, a contact of my entire being with the one in whom I trust, the relationship of acknowledging depends upon an act of acceptance, an acceptance by my entire being of that which I acknowledge to be true. ...It is obvious that trust also has a beginning in time, but the one who trusts does not know when : he identifies it of necessity with the beginning of the contact; on the other hand the one who acknowledges truth stands to that which he acknowledges as true, not as to something new, only now appearing and making its claim, but as to something eternal which has only now become actual; therefore for the first the status is the decisive thing, doe the second the act.

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