Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Faith = Things in Their True Colours

Austin Farrer (1904-1968) on Faith:

Without the readiness of faith, the evidence of God will not be accepted, or will not convince. This is not to say that faith is put in the place of evidence. What convinces us is not our faith, but the evidence; faith is the subjective condition favourable to the reception of the evidence.

When an unbeliever hears what we have just said, he takes it that faith is an irrational makeweight to turn a scale weighted by reason on the other side. He evidence for God, he thinks, is intrinsically unconvincing; it is made to convince by the introduction of a selfish and infantile prejudice. Faith believes what she wishes to believe. The believer remains unshaken by the accusation. To him, the evidence is intrinsically and of itself convincing, but only under conditions which allow it to be appreciated. Faith supplies the conditions. Seeing is believing; but visible evidence is itself of no force in pitch darkness. If the scene is flooded with cunningly selected rays of multi-coloured light, illumination may provide nothing but illusion. If the scene is lighted with good plain sunlight, it gets a chance to reveal itself.
Saving Belief, p. 22

The evidence of faith is that it convincingly shows us things in their true colours; having once seen man in God, we know that we have seen man as he is; we can never again believe another picture of ourselves, our neighbours, or our destines.
Saving Belief, p. 26

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