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Tony Benn: “A faith is something you die for…”

29 June 2013

Tony Benn

“A faith is something you die for, a doctrine is something you kill for. There is all the difference in the world.”
– Tony Benn

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sheila S. Conrads permalink
    1 July 2013 9:25 pm

    At first glance this would appear profound. However, with some thought, I find it superficial.
    Faith in what? The Christian Faith must be defined. The early Church Father’s realized this and wrote much to make sure the Christian Faith was defined. Without definition faith dissolves into myriad suppositions and melts until it is dissolved into sentimental emotion. Faith must have doctrine. However Christian doctrine demands that we love, that we turn the other cheek. All doctrine does not demand that we kill.

    Peace In Jesus

    • 3 July 2013 1:19 pm

      Thank you for leaving a comment. I am sympathetic with your point of view. And agree up to a point.

      Benn is/was a leading figure in the Labour Party in Great Britain. (Forgive if you already know that. It’s just that he doesn’t seem to be as well known outside of G.B.) I think his comment that I quoted was perhaps made in reference to politics. I quoted it though because I thought that it was interesting to think of in reference to theology. It is a pretty good expression of apophatic theology.

      in this way of looking at theology it is acknowledged that the human person cannot know God in the same manner as God knows Himself: one can only learn about God through His Revelation of Himself in Christ and through visible things. God’s essence is inaccessible to human reason and understanding. Thus there is a real distinction to be recognized between God’s Essence, what He necessarily is apart from what He does, and His Energies, what He eternally does.

      So knowing God is not simply acknowledging His existence nor even bending to His sovereignty and dominion. Knowing God is a personal acquaintance that grows from living a relationship. It has similarities to knowing other human beings. but intellectual concepts play only a minor part. Knowing God is greater, permitting infinite growth of interpersonal knowledge unknown in human relationships. The path to this knowledge is through union with and submission to Christ, Who fills us with Divine life.

      I know that is a lot of freight to try to put on Benn’s statement, but it does seem to echo a similar kind of out look.

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