Morality, Confessional Faith and the Maxims of Jesus

Belief in Christian Salvation History requires  belief in some crucial miracles . Similarly, belief in Christian Salvation History requires  belief in the sometimes puzzling action guiding maxims of Jesus.   In this case, faithful members of an orthodox Christian religion have an obligation to believe . Belief in the Salvation History requires belief in its entailments.  This is a logical requirement. The requirement presents challenges.  What, though, is  required belief? How can one feel convinced if he is not convinced?

One may, be convinced, believe in his heart,  that the Salvation History, or the fragment with which he is acquainted, tells the truth about the meaning of life.  Here, the use of “religion” rather than “Salvation History” makes my points more familiar.  A conversion experience or simply being raised in a religion may be the cause of this heartfelt belief in the whole outlook. However, reflection on what the whole implies seems to challenge  faith in the whole.  Did Jesus really walk on water? Did he really rise from his tomb?  Can one live a sane life “by turning the other cheek.?”   The devil lurks in the details.

However, the temptation to diminish belief in the whole because of doubts about its details can be overcome. Belief in the whole requires going down to belief in the details.  But doubts about the details do not require going up to doubts about the whole.  St. Paul, in Rm 10: 9-10, reminds us of two dimensions of  belief.  “If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, then you shall be saved.” The dimensions are confessional faith and faith in the heart. Confessional faith follows the laws of logic.  Confession of faith in the whole requires confession of faith in the details.  However, faith in the heart, firm conviction of truth of the whole, does not follow down to conviction about the details. But it guides what we say about the details.

Confessional faith concerns what you say (confess) to both yourself and others.  Confessional faith is not hypocritical. Despite doubts and skeptical thoughts running through the mind, you will not say even to yourself that Jesus most likely did not rise from the dead or “All things considered it is stupid to pluck out your eye   if you have an irresistible urge to view pornography.” The firm conviction about the whole does not logically descend to the details.  However, firm conviction, belief in the heart, provides  the tenacity that makes confessing into confessional faith rather than mere saying.  It is genuinely faith because one trusts what one affirms and will never deny is correctness.

Confessional faith is the faith which seeks understanding,

Because these posts are on foundations of divine command morality, it is interesting to note that Christians, at least one anyway, can belief that moral laws are divine commands, Jesus was God, but yet the maxims of Jesus are, for the most part, not divine commands of morality.