John Locke on Faith

First Comment!

John Locke portrait

Hooray for my first reader comment!

I want to encourage interaction at my blog, so I’ll reproduce the comment and my response:

 

 

John Fullman asked:

“What does ‘faith’ mean in this context? To come later?”

He wanted to know what I mean by faith. I wrote back:

“Here faith means trusting God. It means believing that God has spoken, and believing God’s promises. Faith comes at the conclusion of a reasoning process–not as the presupposition to it.”

Today I happened upon some similar thoughts by John Locke. He holds that faith and reason are not in conflict. In Chapter 16 of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke says faith is assent to God’s spoken words. But we use reason to determine if it was indeed God who spoke. And we use reason to interpret and understand the message.

Locke says, “…faith is a settled and sure principle of assent and assurance, and leaves no manner of room for doubt or hesitation. Only we must be sure that it be a divine revelation, and that we understand it right: else we shall expose ourselves to all the extravagancy of enthusiasm, and all the error of wrong principles, if we have faith and assurance in what is not divine revelation. And therefore, in those cases, our assent can be rationally no higher than the evidence of its being a revelation…”

Source:

http://enlightenment.supersaturated.com/johnlocke/BOOKIVChapterXVI.html