Saturday, June 12, 2010

Faith, Assent, and Certainty


I was thinking about the usage of "faith" in which it clearly does not convey certainty and the usage in which it conveys something like that. Here's a gambit in keeping with a lot I've written.

Consider the prologue to the Catechism of Trent (*obligatory chuckle*)

"Though the word faith, has a variety of meanings in the Sacred Scriptures, we here speak only of that faith by which we yield our entire assent to whatever has been divinely revealed."

What stood out to me for the first time tonight were the words "by which." I haven't looked up the Latin yet, and it might be making too much anyway, but it could well be that the property expressed by usages of "believe"/"faith" which do NOT convey certainty could be that BY WHICH we yield entire assent. This seems to me to fit nicely into Pascalian faith. Even sub .5 belief could be that by which one gives total assent, given one has appropriate utilities.

Also, I think one of my previous theses has come in a bit more clearly. Not more clearly true, just more clearly articulable.

The object of total assent is "whatever has been divinely revealed". So it seems to me that one has an orthodox level of credence in doctrine X when one's credence in it is at least as high as it is in the proposition "X has been revealed." This would indicate complete and total trust in God's word, which seems to be what the parts of the Magisterium which employ the usage of "belief"/"faith" which convey something like certainty.

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