Spirituality, Religion, and Faith Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1666 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion


There is no pure faith or pure spirituality, for Richard McBrien, outside of culture, for the Catholic Christian, or for any individual. Even the devoted reader of self-help books, one might add, participates in a cultural tradition, namely the American and secular Protestant tradition of self-improvement at all costs. (25-26) Even spirituality for McBrien, like religion and like faith, is still collective in the sense that it is not immune from cultural influences. Even as the production of an 'individual,' that individual is still subject to cultural assumptions and religious assumptions regarding spirituality. Thus McBrien states that there is no faith that is "available in some non-theological state" - that it is no more "possible, in other words, to isolate the former [faith] from the latter [a theological state] as one might separate two chemicals in a laboratory experiment." (22)

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McBrien presents the most persuasive definitional distinction between spirituality, religion, and faith, namely that such distinctions are really transient. Spirituality may be deemed individualistic, but that is, again, because of the individualistic culture in which our particular vision and version and place in time Catholicism is being expressed. Even the most traditional view of spirituality in the context of the Catholic religion and structural notions of faith, as expressed by Guinan, is of its own moment, in dialogue with culture, contemporary notions of human personhood, and the Catholic tradition of community, hierarchy, dogma, and doctrine. Consequently, church doctrines of faith do not 'happen' outside theological endeavors. Faith is not to be equated with doctrine; rather doctrine, faith, and the individual are always in dialogue with religious structures and cultural influences. (23)

Works Cited

Carlson, Paula J. And Hawkins, Peter S. Editors. Listening for God: Contemporary Literature and the Life of Faith. Augsburg/Fortress, 1994.

Guinan, Michael D. "Christian Spirituality." Catholic Update. http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0598.asp

TOPIC: Term Paper on Spirituality, Religion, and Faith -- Assignment

McBrien, Richard. "Faith, Theology, and Belief." Catholicism. Vol. I. Minneapolis, MN: Winston Press, Inc., 1980, pp. 23-77

Sachs, John R. The Christian Vision of Humanity. Basic Christian Anthropology, Collegeville, Liturgical Press, 1991. [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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