Lumen fidei – Part I, Paragraphs 1-3

Let’s be honest… my attention span is short for long series of blogposts on the same topic. But, this is the first encyclical from Pope Francis and I wanted to look at it. You can’t, I mean, in one sitting, and one blog post. The pdf is 88 pages long. So, maybe from time to time, I’ll post on it.

“Those who believe, see; they see with a light that illumines their entire journey, for it comes from the risen Christ, the morning star which never sets.”

Encyclical Letter Lumen fidei of the Supreme Pontiff Francis.

The first three paragraphs is my focus today. Particularly, I find something familiar about the third paragraph. Here, the four hands write regarding reason and faith and those who would use the two. I am drawn to it because it reads almost like Crito, with Socrates and his daimonions.1 Further, the Popes have called attention, ever so slightly, to the god/science-of-the-gaps theology rampant among too many today (of various stripes of belief). Faith, then, is abused as is Reason. Faith becomes a crutch where reason fails and were faith fails, there is reason. This has caused many to simply give up on both, accepting on the temporary truth rather in the greater truth.

In a recent facebook discussion, we happened upon the topic of doubt. Too often, the person said, people simply see doubt as the end-all of intellectual pursuit. For me, I believe doubt will grow faith, but the original poster is still correct. People see doubt as the logical end, a must for themselves. No one likes to stick their neck out and maintain a position. Maybe it is because of this conversation I read paragraph 3 with a special interest.

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  1. Note the use here is not what Christians would see
Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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