60.00 LEAPS OF FAITH
hard cover page 44
Propositions which constitute objects of belief must, then, first, and foremost do no violence to human credulity. They must be readily apprehended and accepted by human thought.172
Judaism does not teach that God requires of man a “leap of faith” in the Kierkegaardian sense, i.e., blind faith to the extent of acceptance of the absurd. It teaches, rather, that God’s beneficience assures man that his diligence and perseverance will ultimately lead to understanding and intellectual satisfaction.173
Aquinas notes:174 “Faith signifies the assent of the intellect to that which is believed.”175
Theology can parry almost any philosophical challenge by responding that God’s ways are mysterious. No one challenges the assertion. The crucial point is whether Judaism wishes to embrace this proposition as a substitute for an integrated philosophical structure. Judaism prides itself on a religious intellectual rigor, if not an intellectual elitism, as well. But Judaism cannot have it both ways. If Judaism claims to be intellectually rigorous, the philosophical underpinnings of God’s interaction with man need philosophical structureâ€”and a philosophical structure which is integrated with the balance of Jewish philosophy. If the philosophical underpinnings of the interaction between God and man are essentially allowed to rest on the proposition that the ways of God are mysterious, then Judaism is not fatally flawed, but the claim to intellectual defensibility becomes most vulnerable to challenge.
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172 Bleich, With Perfect Faith, p. 6.
173 Ibid., p. 11.
174 As cited in Frazier, Issues in Religion, p. 259.
175 See Russell, The Problems of Philosophy (New York: Holt, 1912), p. 39. “All knowledge must be built on our intuitive beliefs; if they are rejected, nothing is left.” Also, Pascal, PensÃ©es, no. 274. “All our reasoning reduces itself to yielding to feeling.” Both cited in Herberg, Judaism and Modern Man, p. 38.
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