Chapter

Faith and Experience

Avery Cardinal Dulles

in Church and Society

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780823228621
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823236619 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823228621.003.0004
Faith and Experience

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This chapter examines the relationship between faith and experience, asking whether they are strangers, rivals, or partners. Experience originally meant the process of testing or trial. It has gradually come to mean actual observation or experimentation, considered as a source of knowledge. The term faith means the combination of conviction, trust, and commitment that the Christian is expected to have toward God. The discussion distinguishes three sources of knowledge: immediate apprehension, inference, and authority. It might seem that faith and experience are strangers because they do not meet. Experience deals with inner-worldly realities, but faith deals with God as he freely turns toward us in love. It can also be argued that faith and experience are rivals contending for one's allegiance. It is easy to find tensions and apparent conflicts between faith and ordinary experience. Lastly, the chapter argues faith and experience can be friends. Rightly used, they assist one another.

Keywords: immediate apprehension; inference; authority; faith; experience; strangers; rivals; partners

Chapter.  3135 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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