Paul Tillich’s Dynamics of Faith describes faith as an act of personality, and examines how faith participates in the dynamics of the personality. The book also examines the conflict between faith and doubt. The six chapters of the book are entitled: “I. What Faith Is,” “II. What Faith is Not,” “III. Symbols of Faith,” “IV. Types of Faith,” “V. The Truth of Faith,” and "VI. The Life of Faith.”
Tillich defines and explores faith as ultimate concern. Faith is a centered act of being ultimately concerned.
This definition is ambiguous, and needs further explanation. If faith is ultimate concern, with what is it ultimately concerned? To be concerned, we must be concerned with something. Tillich says that the content of faith does not matter for…show more content… Thus, the dynamics of faith must account for the dynamics of personality. Faith is the freedom to choose to believe in something. Faith is ‘ecstatic’ in that it is a centered act of the total personality.
Faith is not simply the will to believe, says Tillich. It is a cognitive affirmation of the transcendent nature of ultimate reality. This is achieved, not simply by a process of intellectual inquiry, but by an act of acceptance and surrender.1
Religious faith brings an awareness of the sacred. Tillich says that faith is certain, insofar as it is an experience of the sacred, but that it is uncertain, insofar as it brings finite beings into relation with an infinite reality. The element of uncertainty in faith cannot be avoided, and must be accepted.2
Tillich argues that doubt is included in every act of faith.3 The dynamic concept of faith helps to explain the interaction between faith and doubt. Every act of faith recognizes that there may be a possibility for doubt.
If civil or religious authority enforces conformity among members of a community of faith, then faith loses its uncertainty, and the element of risk is removed from the act of faith. This may also happen if a law, creed, or doctrine excludes any possibility for uncertainty or