Monday, October 29, 2018
The Paradox of Belief to Overcome Unbelief
, the Bishop of Hippo
(354-430 A.D.), in life there are certain things we do not believe unless we
understand them, and there are other things that we do not understand unless we
believe them. To St. Augustine ,
faith is not opposed to understanding, nor is it independent of
understanding. His famous “faith seeking understanding” is an act of believing first, without which unbelief closes the
door to further understanding. That is the paradox of “belief to overcome
unbelief.” St. Augustine
St. Anselm of
Canterbury, a well-known
Christian philosopher and theologian of the eleventh century, echoed ’s statement
in his famous motto “I do not seek to understand in order that I may
believe, but I believe in order to understand.” St. Augustine
“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” (Hebrews 11: 3)
Accordingly, to begin the spiritual journey of seeking God’s wisdom, we must, first and foremost, have faith seeking knowledge to understand God, which is to believe in order to close the door of unbelief.
According to Lao Tzu, the author of TAO TE CHING, the ancient Chinese classic on human wisdom, the mysteries of the universe are indefinable and inexpressible. The human mind is meant to see only the manifestations of the things created, but not the mysteries of God’s creations.
“As one, it is unbroken thread with neither a beginning nor an end.
It returns to nothingness: invisible, inaudible, and intangible.
It is the indefinable, the intangible, and the unimaginable.
Stand before it, and there is no beginning.
Follow it, and there is no end.
Only by its grace can we discover how things have been and will be.
This is the essence of the Creator: invisible, inaudible, and intangible.”
(Chapter 14, Tao Te Ching)
To Lao Tzu, seeing is not believing, but believing is the beginning of seeing.
“The more we look, the less we see.
The more we hear, the less we listen.
The more we crave, the crazier we become.”
(Chapter 12, Tao Te Ching)
“When a wise man hears of the Creator,
he immediately begins to do some soul-searching.
When an average man hears of the Creator,
he half believes him, and half doubts him.
When a foolish man hears of the Creator,
he laughs out loud.
If he did not laugh,
there would be no Creator.”
(Chapter 41, Tao Te Ching)
Copyright© by Stephen Lau