Page 6 - Core Beliefs For Intentional Community
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Excerpts from:

               Chapter 1, WHAT FAITH IS.
               Paul Tillich, THE DYNAMICS OF FAITH, Harper Torch Books, 1958


               Faith is the state of being ultimately concerned:
               the dynamic of faith are the dynamics of man’s
               ultimate concern. Man, like every living being, is
               concerned about many things, above all about
               those which condition his very existence, such as

               food and shelter. But man, in contrast to other
               living beings, has spiritual concerns – cognitive,
               aesthetic, social, political. Some of them are
               urgent, often extremely urgent, and each of them
               as well as the vital concerns can claim ultimacy If

               of him who accepts this claim, and it promises         Paul Tillich (1886-1985(
               total fulfillment even if all other claims have to
               be subjected to it or rejected in its name. If a
               national group makes the life and growth of the nation its ultimate concern, it demands

               that all other concerns, economic well-being, health and life, aesthetic and cognitive
               truth, justice and humanity, be sacrificed.  The extreme nationalisms of our century
               are laboratories for the study of what ultimate concern means in all aspects of human
               existence, including the smallest concern of one’s daily life. Everything is centered in
               the only god, the nation - a god who certainly proves to be a demon, but who shows

               clearly the unconditional character of an ultimate concern.

               But it is not only the unconditional demand made by that which is one’s ultimate
               concern, it is also the promise of ultimate fulfillment which is accepted in the act of
               faith. The content of this promise is not necessarily defined. It can be expressed in

               indefinite symbols or in concrete symbols which cannot be taken literally, like the
               “greatness” of one’s nation in which one participates even if one has died for it, or the
               conquest of mankind by the “saving race,” etc. In each of these cases it is “ultimate
               fulfillment” that is promised, and it is exclusion from such fulfillment which is
               threatened if the unconditional demand is not obeyed.

               An example – and more than an example – is the faith manifest in the religion of the
               Old Testament. It also has the character of ultimate concern in demand, threat and
               promise. The content of this concern is not the nation – although Jewish nationalism

               has sometimes tried to distort it into that – but the content is the God of justice, who,
               because he represents justice for everybody and every nation, is called the universal
               God, the God of the universe. He is the ultimate concern of every pious Jew, and

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