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Church and SocietyThe Laurence J. McGinley Lectures, 1988-2007$
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Avery Cardinal Dulles

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780823228621

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823228621.001.0001

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Faith and Experience

Faith and Experience

Strangers? Rivals? Partners?

March 14, 1990

(p.43) 4 Faith and Experience
Church and Society

Avery Cardinal Dulles

Fordham University Press

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

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