Columns
Residents' Association Image

Residents' Association

Secret council business
Read more >>

Business in Southbank Image

Business in Southbank

October in-room auction success
Read more >>

St Johns Southgate Image

St Johns Southgate

Vulnerability, conversation and meaning
Read more >>

Owners Corporation Law Image

Owners Corporation Law

Hats off to you, Premier, but remember, we’ll all be watching …
Read more >>

Metro Tunnel

Next phase underway at Anzac Station
Read more >>

Federal Politics Image

Federal Politics

Why Magnitsky Act is important for Australia
Read more >>

We Live Here Image

We Live Here

Proposed changes to the Owners’ Corporation Act
Read more >>

Southbanker Image

Southbanker

Watching work come to life
Read more >>

Port Places

Fishermans Bend: the first quarter 2019
Read more >>

Housing Image

Housing

We are leaving an intergenerational time bomb for our children
Read more >>

History Image

History

Computers come to Southbank
Read more >>

Safety and Security

Safety and Security Day
Read more >>

Southbank Sustainability Group Image

Southbank Sustainability Group

Waste and creative ways to reduce it
Read more >>

Health and Wellbeing Image

Health and Wellbeing

Toxic relationships continued …
Read more >>

Skypad Living Image

Skypad Living

Neighbourhood Watch for vertical villages
Read more >>

Pets Corner Image

Pets Corner

Keeping cool on the riverside
Read more >>

Southbank Fashion Image

Southbank Fashion

Spring racing in Southbank
Read more >>

Street Smarts Image

Street Smarts

Power Street – Southbank
Read more >>

Letters Image

Letters

City Rd death trap
Read more >>

St Johns Southgate

10 Oct 2019

St Johns Southgate Image

The intelligible answers of faith

When a perfectly intelligent friend tells you what they’ve recently gleaned from their horoscope, or how they’re planning their pilgrimage to Mecca, or that they’re going to be eating and drinking the body and blood of Jesus on the weekend, what do you think?

Do you listen politely, even with some interest, but find yourself wondering how on earth they can believe that they could, should or must take those things seriously?

If that’s how you feel, I can sympathise. I personally believe some things that are objectively bonkers! I can happily acknowledge that, but it doesn’t mean I don’t believe their truth. For instance, in the Lutheran Church we, as best we’re able, accept that when we eat a little wafer of bread and take a little sip of wine in front of the altar on a Sunday, that Jesus Christ is actually present in that food and drink. What!? Yes, on one level it’s crazy, but on another it makes perfect sense.

“Hang on a minute!” you might say … “that’s cognitive dissonance – that’s going to cause a psychological disconnect, or at least a discomfort that’s unhelpful and unhealthy!” I don’t see it that way and I’m not alone. Many people of faith are able to, not just reconcile their beliefs with scientific reality, but hold them together as conjoined twins sharing the same blood supply. So, yes, I can say that what I sip at the altar is just fortified red wine, and what I eat there is just a stale piece of cardboard-tasting bread, but equally, that it is the true flesh and blood of Jesus given for the nourishment of my whole self. There’s no dissonance or disconnect there, because it’s a coherent, albeit unsolvable, equation. There’s a true elegance in the way scientific reality and reality of faith intertwine and interlock – to the point that when they meet they can strike a beautifully harmonic chord.

Pope Benedict XVI once claimed that “the intelligence of faith has to become the intelligence of reality.” I think he was onto something. People of faith don’t believe in fairy stories, even though some might argue that we never grew up to accept the hard truths of life. Faith is intelligible and people of faith should be able to speak about their faith in ways that makes sense – even if, in the end, they do make some supernatural claims.

The next time your religious friend mentions something of their spiritual beliefs or practices, rather than just wondering why or how they can believe those things, consider asking them about it. You might just find they have an intelligible answer.

 

Tom Hoffmann

Pastor - St Johns Southgate

Stay in touch with Southbank. Subscribe to FREE monthly e-Newspaper.

You must be registered with Southbank Local News to be able to post comments.
To register, please click here.