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01/20/2011

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Marc DeGirolami

Steve, thanks -- I wonder if you could explain a little more what "trust" would entail and how it would be distinguished from "belief." It sounds like the difference between prepositional beliefs and a more general moral sense guided by a religious ethic.

About a year ago, I read a book by Timothy Macklem called 'Independence of Mind,' where Macklem distinguished between trust and faith -- the former being a system of belief subject to verification, the latter not (I trust that my bank will not steal my money, or that my alarm clock will ring, but my trust can be broken by facts in this world -- theft, oversleeping --whereas faith is not like that).

Does this distinction also map on to the one that you are making between belief and trust here? It seems different to me, but I thought to ask.

Marc

Steven Shiffrin

Marc, the author I cited states that "Faith then is not belief in a certain doctrine about Jesus, but a trust in using him as an example of what it looks like to live a God-centered life." I think the motivation for the statement is partly a rebellion against the doctrinal disputes that divided the Church, disputes that did not improve people's spiritual lives. Cox argues that faith should be translated as commitment, not belief. Of course, some beliefs underlie trust or commitment, but the idea, as I see it, is that the equation of justification by faith with particular beliefs is simply wrong and the policing of beliefs is not constructive.

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