다양한 신앙담론 : 윌리엄 제임스의 신앙론과 그 비판을 통해 본 신앙담론

저작시기 2001.01 |등록일 2003.07.10 파일확장자어도비 PDF (pdf) | 24페이지 | 가격 5,900원
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발행기관 : 한국기독교학회 수록지정보 : 한국기독교신학논총 / 21권 / 189 ~ 212 페이지
저자명 : 황재범(Jae Bum Hwang)

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This thesis seeks to understand and appraise the relationship between faith and reason with special reference to William James` voluntarist theory of faith. We fast examine the historical, theological and philosophical context in which the voluntarist theory of faith came into being. The dominant theory of faith up to the end of the Middle Age was the Thomist: that reason both prepares and leads to faith. But this position was challenged and eventually significantly abolished by the new Reformation paradigm of faith: that faith is almost (if not absolutely) independent of reason. As reason became the yardstick of everything and faith despised during the Enlightenment, many philosophers, especially David Hume and Immanuel Kant, severely criticized the Thomist position, proving that faith could not be compatible with reason. Radicalizing Hume`s position, William Clifford emphatically said: "it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence." Over against Clifford, William James, the famous American religious-psychologist, insists that faith is not, and cannot be, based on sufficient evidence or reasonable understanding. Rather, faith is grounded on people`s will to do their best in their jobs: understanding on sufficient evidence is no vital matter in faith. James says: "Our belief in truth itself, for instance, that there is a truth, and that our minds and it are made for each other,-what is it but a passionate affirmation of desire, in which our social system backs us up?" This kind of a volitional affirmation is a matter not of reason or evidence, but of believing. But here arises the problem of choosing between what to believe and what not to believe. There is a trivial option in which one may not believe, "by making up [one`s] mind at all till objective evidence has come." Religion, however, is a matter of a "forced" and "momentous" option. By believing we can gain "a certain vital good" or by not believing, we can lose it. Remaining unresolved or sceptic between the two positions, James criticizes, is "not avoidance of option; it is option of a certain particular kind of risk." A sceptic wants to avoid error, by not believing religious truth: but then he risks loss of truth rather chance of error. William James` voluntarist and pragmatist position on faith has some significant strengths: (1) it makes it clear that what is at issue for faith is not reason, but the will to believe; (2) it gives us a strong logical certainty that faith is pragmatically useful; and (3) it gives us an important insight into what unbelief is: that it risks loss of truth rather than chance of error. So James` voluntarist theory of faith offers a very good apologetic ground to explain about what faith is. It nevertheless has some critical elements: (1) it overestimates the human will: it is usually corrupted, being not toward God, but toward something below God, and it needs God`s prevenient grace; and (2) while emphasizing the volitional, subjective aspect of faith, it logically overlooks faith`s objective side. Cm the contrary, according Emil Brunner, faith is foremost nothing but responsibility to God`s revelation, and, according to Barth, it is oriented to, and originates in, its object, Jesus Christ.

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