On Worldviews

James H. Olthuis

The ultimate questions of life lie deep within the heart of everyone. Who am I? Where am I going? What's it all about? Is there a god? How can I live and die happily? And everyone answers such questions, if only partially or implicitly. The answers we give to these queries about the human condition may be called our worldviews or visions of life. They may or may not be thematized or codified, but they do make up the framework of fundamental considerations which give context, direction, and meaning to our lives people have always been absorbed in these questions: they have been an essential ingredient of every society. What is new and remarkable today is our increasing awareness of how particular worldviews affect both our perceptions of the world and our actions in the world. Conflicts in life and science, we are discovering, come .down to differences in underlying worldviews. There is a flurry of activity to refurbish old worldviews even as impassioned voices insist that only new worldviews can save our world from total collapse.1 Not only do we have a veritable showcase of worldviews2 all championing their wares and charms; we also have a plethora of diverging and conflicting explanations of the status and function of worldviews.

In the Western intellectual tradition a worldview, or Wellauschauung,3 has generally been treated as a comprehensive and unified system of thought. Such a system may be worked out theoretically in a philosophy (Dilthey), identified with philosophy (Engels), opposed to philosophy as a set of ultimate beliefs (Kierkegaard), or be an "as-if" model or "fiction" (Vaihinger). In any case, such a system has often been assumed to be the prime mover of the historical process, basically affecting rather than being affected by its psychosocial context. Ideas come first and lead to action. And basic differences among people are always in the end reducible to differences in ideas and the commitment of faith articulated in these ideas.

These assumptions can be challenged, however. With the rise of historical consciousness in the nineteenth century and particularly through the work of Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche, "the three masters of suspicion," as Paul Ricoeur has aptly named them,4 we have been faced with the crucial roles that socioeconomic privilege and the subterranean forces of the unconscious play in worldview formation. Nietzsche warned us "to be on guard against the hallowed philosopher's myth of a 'pure, will-less, painless, timeless knower,"' and to "beware of the tentacles of such contradictory notions as 'pure reason,' 'absolute knowledge,' 'absolute intelligence.' "5 For Marx, ideas form a "superstructure" on the more fundamental factors of class interests defined exclusively in economic terms; therefore, rather than generating action, our ideas are actually generated by action. And Freud has taught us that since we are always comforting ourselves and avoiding facets of our experience we would rather not face, our ideas tend to be rationalizations by which we put a good face on a bad thing.

In philosophy, language philosophers such as Wilhelm von Humboldt, Heidegger, Gadamer, and Benjamin Lee Whorf have emphasized that language influences worldview formation dramatically and decisively. In science, the dominant physicalist-empiricist model has been challenged by T. S. Kuhn's idea of paradigms as screens through which certain phenomena are included for inquiry while others are isolated, and by M. Polanyi's "tacit dimension."

Our confidence in the priority of the "idea" is further shaken by recent developments in child psychology which emphasize the monumental significance of parent-infant bonding for adult life and thought. At the same time, the Frankfurt School and Liberation Theology challenge our preoccupation with orthodoxy (right worldviews) and call us to orthopraxis (right doing). And in addition to all this, there is at present an upsurge of sociobiological thinking which seeks the prime determinants of human action not in faith, the unconscious, or the sociocultural context, but in genetic pre-programming and organic predispositions.

This kaleidoscope of modern views on worldviews gives context and occasion for my essay. I set out to describe the anatomy of a worldview, its source, structure, and function. Although my chief concern is to deepen our understanding of the nature and formation of worldviews in general, I hope that in the process we come to a deeper consciousness of the worldviews we hold and why we hold them.

Now, one could press the claims of faith or thought or socioeconomy or passion as the prime determinant in worldview formation. But that route, I believe, leads unavoidably to reductionism and dogmatism. I suggest that no one factor can be said to be the maker of a worldview. All the factors of life - biophysical, emotional, rational, socioeconomic, ethical, and "religious" - affect worldview formation simultaneously and interdependently, one dominating the others at one time, another at another time. My claim is that such an integrated, multidimensional model of worldview formation is comprehensive and flexible enough to explain the existence and credibility of the many diametrically opposed worldviews with their competing claims.

After I have discussed the formation and structure of a worldview in its many dimensions, I will turn to the question of its function. I believe that a worldview can be a medium of mediation and integration in a two-way movement between the commitment of faith and all the other modes of human experience. Certainty received in the surrender of faith leads to a way of living via a worldview. Concomitantly, a way of life, in all of its modes and moments, influences the commitment of faith via the mediation of a worldview. To my mind only a model which highlights such two-way reciprocity enables us to avoid canonizing worldviews (as if they were the pure expression of faith or the infallible bearers of truth) while it also keeps us from minimizing them (as if they were only the reflex and rationalization of socioeconomic interests, genetic predispositions, or emotional needs).

I want to stress the exploratory, suggestive nature of my analysis. I hope to stimulate readers to reflect on their own worldviews and I also hope that this model will help us face, with equanimity and insight, the welter of competing worldviews and theories of worldviews.

A Worldview: Framework of Basic Beliefs

A worldview (or vision of life) is a framework or set of fundamental beliefs through which we view the world and our calling and future in it. This vision may be so internalized that it goes largely unquestioned; it may be greatly refined through cultural-historical development; it may not be explicitly developed into a systematic conception of life; it may not be theoretically deepened into a philosophy; it may not even be codified into credal form. Nevertheless, this vision is a channel for the ultimate beliefs which give direction and meaning to life. It is the integrative and interpretative framework by which order and disorder are judged, the standard by which reality is managed and pursued. It is the set of hinges6 on which all our everyday thinking and doing turns.

Although a vision of life is held only by individuals, it is communal in scope and structure. Since a worldview gives the terms of reference by which the world and our place in it can be structured and illumined, a worldview binds its adherents together into community. Allegiance to a common vision promotes the integration of individuals into a group. Ironically, at times communality of vision not only binds people together, but provides them with the tools and vocabulary to push with more sophistication their own internal differences.

Dual Focus

For each adherent, a worldview gives reasons and impetus for deciding what is true and what really matters in our experience. In other words, a worldview functions both descriptively and normatively. It has what Clifford Geertz calls a dual focus:7 it both tells us what is the case (and what is not the case) and tells us what ought (and ought not) to be the case. A worldview is both a sketch of and a blueprint for reality; it both describes what we, see and stipulates what we should see.

To put it another way, a vision "of" life and the world is simultaneously a vision "for" life and the world. The "of" and "for" capture the dual focus. Visions are descriptive models which shape themselves to our experience. Our lives are defined and described in terms of our worldview: "this is the way life and the world are." At the same time, visions are normative models "for" life and the world, models which shape life and the world to themselves. Our lives are formed and led onward by the worldview: "this is the way life and the world ought to be."

Faith and Other Modes

In both moments of its dual focus, a worldview purports to give the true picture of reality. For its adherents, their worldview is the truth about history, life, and existence, and it reveals the way to salvation and healing. These claims to ultimacy, I suggest, point to the rootedness of worldviews in faith, in matters of "ultimate concern," as Tillich would have it.

At the same time there is much more motivating a worldview. As we have already noted, Marx, Freud and Nietzsche have unmasked for all of us the role that socioeconomic interests, rationalizations, personality types, and the unconscious play in worldview formation. Worldviews - it seems undeniable - depend for validation and correction on both the commitment of faith and all the other modes of human experience.

How can worldviews claim ultimacy and at the same time reflect their historical-intellectual, psychosocial contexts? Here my model of worldviews suggests itself. I believe that a worldview functions as a vehicle of mediation and integration in a two-way movement between faith commitment and all the other modes of human existence. It is a medium through which the ultimate commitment of faith plays out its leading and integrating role in daily life. Simultaneously, a world-view is a medium by which daily life experiences can either call faith into question or confirm it.

In what follows I examine in more detail both the role of faith and the role of other modes of experience in the making of worldviews. In so doing the heuristic value of my suggested model will become clearer.

The Nature of Faith

Having faith, living for something, belonging somewhere, searching for final meaning and permanent bliss - this is essential to human existence.8 Believing in, entrusting, committing oneself - to have faith - is to give self, to put for safety, to give in charge, to give over, to let go" to God (or a pseudo-god). For Christians, faith is an entrusting of self to God in which we receive certainty, connection, and ground for our existence, an entrusting in which we meet God in ourselves and in creation even as God meets us. We are graciously renewed, experiencing connection with self, others, creation, and God. Henceforth God is the healing power and sustaining ground of our lives, the final ground and ultimate power of and for all other grounds and powers.

The risk of faith is unavoidable; it is also existentially terrifying. For if faith proves futile, life falls apart. "Our ultimate concern can destroy us as it can heal us. But we can never be without it." 10

The faith mode of being in the world "can be phenomenologically described as an ultimate or grounding dimension or horizon to all meaningful activities."11 It is through faith that we explicitly affirm (or deny) our relation to the Ultimate. l2

World-views: Born in Faith

By anchoring human life in ultimate certainty, faith gives rise to a vision of the whole of reality in the light of this ultimate. As James Fowler has recently put it: "faith 'forms into one' a comprehensive image of an ultimate environment."13 This image of an ultimate environment, or worldview, is the means by which the commitment of faith integrates and guides daily experience. In a worldview there are fundamental, seminal answers to the ultimate questions: Who are we? Where are we? What are we to do? What is good and what is evil? Where are we going? Tolstoy asks in his Confession: "is there any meaning in my life that the inevitable death awaiting me does not destroy?"14 At the end of his philosophical reflections Heidegger exclaims: "Why is there a Being at all and not rather Nothing?"15

All such ultimate questions and their answers about life and death, sin and suffering, hope and healing, finally elude our intellectual grasp and strict logical proof. In the end we say simply, "I am doing this because I believe that this is the nature of life and that my ultimate happiness depends on my acting in accord with my deepest commitment and dearest beliefs." Every philosophy too, argues Gilkey, ends with a statement of this kind: "Look, is this not the way things truly are.16 Wittgenstein agrees: "If I have exhausted the justifications I have reached bedrock, and my spade is turned. Then I am inclined to say: 'This is simply what I do."'17 Finally (here comes an end to our reasoning and we answer such end questions in terms of the affirmation and surrender of faith rather than in proof or demonstration.

It is not that such ultimate answers lack cognitive content. But on the ultimate level of faith, reason is impotent to determine what is true. At that level all the options are ultimates and there is no further standard or norm by which they can be assessed. There is no logical move that we can make to achieve an ultimate premise beyond doubt.

Tacitly18 assumed in faith rather than deliberately produced through rational inquiry, ultimate answers lie behind all our creative living and thinking. In their coherence they together form a unifying perspective - a worldview which makes sense of experience. Such ultimate beliefs found our relations of inquiry into the actual, and ground our living in the world. Indeed, dwelling in these ultimate beliefs and receiving them as revelation19 is their final and culminating validation. Consequently, no vision is in its fundamental perceptions subject to proof in the sense that one could discern its basic or ultimate beliefs from a process of thought prior to them.

In summary, it is this fundamental rootedness of worldviews in faith that gives worldviews their this-is-the-way-it-is-and-should-be character. As a vision "of" faith "for" life and the world, a worldview first shapes itself to faith and then shapes the world to itself, projecting images of the cosmic order on the plane of human experience. As a vision rooted in faith, a worldview is in its basic tenets not argued to, but argued from. However, the fact that a vision of life is rooted in faith perceptions received as revelation is only half of the story, the half told from the stance of faith. From the other direction - from the rest of life experience - comes the other half of the story.

World-views: Shaped by Life Experience

We have explored how worldviews are visions of faith for life. However, they are simultaneously visions of life for faith. In the movement from life experience to faith experience, a worldview first shapes itself to the world and then shapes faith to itself, attuning and adjusting images of the cosmic order so that they mirror experienced reality. As it shapes itself to the world, a worldview is confronted by the demands of life as a whole. In the movement from life experience to faith, the worldview must do more than exhibit internal conceptual coherence and consistency; it also must illuminate experience and guide human action.

The development and formation of worldviews, including their conceptualization, occurs within particular traditions which are embedded in the historical process. Conceptualization occurs as individual and communal reflection attempts both to articulate and arrange the ultimate beliefs into a coherent worldview and to do so in a way appropriate to all the facts of experience. In this process an ordering takes place which elaborates and reworks the meaning of the basic beliefs. Since the basic beliefs receive their meaning in terms of how' they fit into a particular worldview, we often have diverging worldviews emerging from the same basic underlying faith commitment. Thus, for example, H. Richard Niebuhr in his classic Christ and Culture has described five types of worldviews which give form to the Christian faith. And a variety of worldviews have likewise emerged in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam, as well as in secular faiths such as Marxism.

The formation of worldviews occurs in dialogue with a particular people's historical experience and their categorial frameworks. The concepts used to form the worldview will express more or less well the basic beliefs and will be more or less adequate to experience. As the historical process continues, re-articulations will become necessary as aspects of reality remain un-illumined, and refurbishing will take place as insight increases and faith deepens.

The fact that worldview formation takes place in terms of a particular tradition and in a psychosocial context emphasizes that a vision is not simply the product of faith, but the product of faith experience as it is founded in all the other dimensions of human experience. Thus, worldviews can and ought to be argued to, even though, as previously noted, since a worldview is rooted in faith, it is in the end argued from rather than argued to. This paradox needs to be honored. I suggest that honoring it opens up a path which allows us to slip through the either-or, "fideist"-"evidentialist" dilemma.

There is another important implication of understanding worldviews in this way. If we recognize that though our faith is affirmed and nurtured in terms of our worldview, still our worldviews do not flow from our faith alone, then we have the room as well as the obligation to acknowledge and honor other world-views as being significant and worthy formations of a common underlying faith. Such recognition allows us to endorse our own worldview enthusiastically even as we recognize and learn from other worldviews.

Praxis and Worldviews

Worldviews, I am emphasizing, are always informed not only by the commitment of faith, but also by tradition, socioeconomic conditions, societal institutions, authorities, science and schooling, mores, family and friends, memory, emotional experience, physio-organic health, intellectual development, volitional temperament, sexuality, etc. All the realities which belong to the social and personal matrix of its confessors nourish and justify a vision of life.

Emotional Anxiety

Emotions are a very important part of the personal matrix. Healthy emotional life which knows and expresses appropriately the full range of emotions is crucial in worldview formation. For although faith commitment cannot he reduced to emotional sensitivity, the way we live and articulate our faith is inextricably connected with our emotional well-being. In our early childhood experiences, certain patterns of emotional response are formed which, if unhealthy, promote life-denying rather than life-affirming worldviews. Deeply rooted feelings of aloneness, abandonment, deprivation, inadequacy, and violation undermine the security, intimacy, power, love, and wholeness of faith. The emotionally rooted illusions can be so powerful that we live day to day according to their dictates rather than by the faith to which we are committed. The anger, fear, and despair which feed the illusions can be so pervasive that we adjust or change our worldview in order to validate and support the habit, i.e., our illusions.

Unresolved issues in personal or communal life can cause an enormous split between what is in fact done and what is confessed in faith. When such a split becomes a way of life, incongruities become increasingly difficult to live with and pressure builds up for resolution. The painful pressure and turmoil can lead to delusions and schizophrenia; more commonly, release occurs through a modification or adjustment of the vision of life. Through rationalization and other defensive postures we adjust our view of life in an effort to restore peace and unity. When our vision of life is contaminated, both faith and praxis are threatened.

Societal Dislocations

Not only emotional anxieties lead us astray. Hidden desires to maintain our socioeconomic positions of privilege and power can lead us to adopt postures which justify injustice and economic oppression. Thus many of us judge the worldviews of racist, sexist, Fascist, capitalist, or Marxist societies as cover-ups serving their particular material interests or groups. Visions can easily become ideologies: "not being transparent-to-oneself ... is the defining characteristic of ‘ideology.’"20 Visions as ideologies are disguises for ulterior motives, projections of unacknowledged fears, blinders hiding us from reality.

In short, rather than facing and dealing with our personal anxieties acid societal dislocations, we tend to rationalize and project, hiding from ourselves the reality of the situation. We end up adopting a vision of life which puts the best possible face on a bad thing. Without Freud and Marx we might not have seen how such self-justifying and illusory factors operate in our beliefs.

My conclusion at this point in our discussion is as simple as it is crucial: emotional health and societal status deeply influence for good or ill the kind of worldview we adopt. This in no way denies that worldviews help shape personal identity and either foster or hinder wholeness and health, physically, emotionally, and socially. The movement is two-directional. That is, if there is a change in worldview, our body awareness, feelings, and actions will tend to change accordingly. On the other hand, increased body awareness and growth in emotional and social openness will tend to modify our worldviews as we attempt to establish new harmony.

Worldview Crisis

Sometimes, however, the worldview-experience gap remains unbridged. No doubt a wide range of factors can give rise to such situations: the vision may be inadequate or outmoded, the commitment to it half-hearted, the environment may be hostile, the emotional anxieties overriding. Whatever the reasons, whenever there is a gap between vision and reality, there is crisis, frustration, and tension.

Unless people are able to refocus and make sense of reality again, whether through new understandings, revisions of old views, or by adopting a new vision, they are likely to suffer breakdown. Even the remotest indication that a vision may prove unable to cope raises, for all of us, "The gravest sort of anxiety,"21 as the anthropologist Clifford Geertz asserts. If the anxiety about a worldview is shared by a sizeable segment of the community, the entire community is rendered vulnerable and liable to breakdown. 1f the crisis involves the dominant visions of society-as is the reality today-the whole society is prone to massive breakdown.

Worldview crises are so deep and pervasive and the fear of losing one's moorings is so strong that many people and groups retrench themselves in their, views and deny reality rather than face the consequences. Sometimes reality pushes through anyway, and one is forced to abandon the familiar confines of his or her worldview. Then an existential crisis erupts.

For, as we have noted, although commitment of faith is not exhausted in nor identified with the worldview which gives expression to it, the surrender in faith is concretely embodied in that vision of life. The existential entrusting is always embedded in this historical process: it happened here, at this time, in this community, through this particular vision of life and meaning, at this stage in its cultural unfolding. Thus when a vision fails its people, it is a crisis of vast proportions. The very scaffolding on which they are standing is collapsing. Home is being dismantled before their very eyes.

Although a worldview crisis is unavoidably a faith crisis, it does not follow that one must either deny one's faith or remain committed to it insincerely. Sometimes, no doubt, this choice must be made. The result can be conversion from one faith to another, from Buddhism to Islam, or from Christianity to Marxism. Often, however, changing worldviews is a sign of growth in one's faith. In such moments of deep disquiet, people may make the startling discovery that not only is their worldview inadequate, but fidelity to their faith demands adopting another vision of life. Thus Christians seeking fidelity to Christ may move from an ascetic Christ-against-culture worldview to a more accommodating Christ-and-culture two realm vision, from a Christ-above-culture Thomism to a Christ-transforms-culture perspective.

When a faith and its worldview empower its adherents to make sense of life and when it sustains them in sorrow and distress, it evokes deep and pervasive attachment and occasions moods of deep satisfaction, joy, and peace. However, when there is little or no emotional attachment to the vision of life confessed, people are divided against themselves. Acting contrary to their ultimate beliefs, they struggle with guilt and lose self-esteem. No matter how sound the vision, if the adherents arc not emotionally committed to it and to others who share it, they cannot live out the vision in a way of life. On the other hand, deep emotional commitment and long-term community support of a worldview give health and power to individual and communal life.

Worldview in Process

A worldview is a human formation open to all the foibles of human subjectivity. On the other hand, it functions as the truth for its adherents. What conclusions may we draw from this two-sided situation?

Even though we can do nothing other than confess and use our perception of reality as true for us - if we didn't so believe, we would have another perception - we may not canonize our interpretation of reality as the infallible blueprint for life. Such absolutization of our views conveniently absolves us from the need constantly to test and refine our own perceptions, and it negates the possibility of seriously considering any other perception of truth and reality. Indeed, it blocks us from being truly open to God's revelation.

If we canonize our worldviews or even if we adopt static worldviews, the development of faith and the development of insight in the light of faith arc stopped cold. The natural flow towards the actualization of our commitment in life-praxis becomes sluggish and eventually freezes over. The worldview and its adherents stagnate at a certain stage of development. This means trouble in our constantly changing world.

Worldviews, if they are to remain viable, need to be changed continually - as faith deepens, as insight into reality grows, and as individuals and cultures themselves move on to new stages in their development. Not allowing reality to question or correct one's views, not modifying one's views to meet changing reality, is to isolate oneself and one's views more and more from the reality of life. Eventually we will be forced to retrench as we continue to deny reality, or else the dam will break and we will have to abandon our views altogether. The subjectivity of being human, the changing nature of life, and our sense of our own fallibility all help us to realize that insight into the truth is and remains open-ended, on the way, in process. Worldviews develop in the reciprocity between faith and the rest of life experience. Not only do worldviews develop in process, but individual members of a community subjectively appropriate their worldview in stages and phases which correspond to the developmental stages of their lives.

At the same time, these features of subjectivity, relativity, and continual development need not lead us to the relativist position that any one worldview is as good as any other. On a very existential level, some worldviews have shown themselves to prevent growth and to promote injustice. Moreover, as we noticed much earlier, adopting a vision of life involves committing oneself to the ultimate (or at least what is taken to be ultimate) as the unconditional ground of existence. Thus, although the vision I adopt is my vision, I adopt it because it affords me the experience of total peace and healing. That is its compelling character. And if it compels my allegiance, shouldn't it do the same for others? If not, why do I believe in it? What we believe to be most true for ourselves, we must also implicitly believe to be worth the commitment of others.

In the end, I suggest, right beliefs and a right vision will reflect God's universal order which calls to life and makes for life. Visions of life need to be judged in that light: are they life-affirming rather than life-destroying? How much freedom and dignity, hope and healing do they offer? In how many areas of life? For the living as well as for the dying? 22


Integration between Faith and Praxis

For its adherents, a vision of life is a framework of ultimate beliefs which are the decisively true perception of and for reality. From the direction of faith, a worldview is the integrator through which the commitment of faith seeks incarnation in a way of life. From the direction of life experience, it is the integrator through which human experience, conscious and unconscious, individual and societal, seeks a validating vision and a grounding faith.

As integrator between faith and way of life, a worldview

In conclusion, three matters seem worth repeating. First, the crucial role played by a worldview in shaping personal and communal existence highlights and fundamental importance of having a life-affirming worldview. A faulty, inadequate vision of life works against growth and healing in life. Second, our emotional anxieties and societal insecurities can lead our basic beliefs astray, contaminate them, or cause us to abandon them. Third, although a worldview is open to justification, challenge, modification, and change, it receives its culminating validation in the entrustment of faith.

These concerns need our full attention if we are to avoid either underplaying or overplaying our worldviews. These concerns need our full attention if we wish to develop worldviews which, adequate to the facts of common human experience, make for wholeness, reconciliation, and hope, the demands of faith.


1. Three new books of this kind immediately come to mind. In 1980 Jeremy Rifkin championed Entropy: A New World View (New York: Viking Press, 1980) as an alternative to the dominant Western mechanical, rationalistic, materialistic worldview. In 1982 F. Capra pleaded in The Turning Point: Science, Society and the Rising Culture (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1982) for a synthesis of modern physics and Eastern mysticism as the only viable escape from the collapse of the dominant Western worldview. In 1983 Arthur F. Holmes offered his Contours of a World View (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983) as a biblical alternative to the naturalistic humanism of our day.

2. Ninian Smart has recently examined the major religions of the world and secular ideologies under the title Worldviews: Crosscultural Explorations of Human Beliefs (New York: Scribners, 1983).

3. The German Weltanschauung, of which "worldview" is the English translation, is found in Kant's Kritik der Urteilskraft (1790). In a forthcoming paper on the history of the term, AI Wolters concludes that its popularity reaches a peak around 1910. Although Kierkegaard had already given the term a technical meaning as early as 1838, philosophically the discussion is center stage in the work of Windelband and, Rickert, and Dilthey in the early twentieth century.

4. Paul Ricoeur, The Conflict of Interpretations (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1974), pp 148-49.

5. Friedrich Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals (New York: Doubleday, 1956), pt. 3, no. 12, p 255.

6. "If I want the door to turn, the hinges must stay put." L. Wittgenstein, On Certainty 343 (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1969), p. 44e; also 211, p. 29e.

7. Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures (New York: Basic Books, 1973), p. 93

8. Religion is universal in human societies. This is an empirical generalization, an aggregate of a multitude of specific observations." Raymond Firth, Elements of Social Organization (London: Watts, 1951), p. 216.

9. In his recent Faith and Belief (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979) Wilfred Cantwell Smith has documented in detail that the Latin credo and the early Modern English "believe" basically meant respectively to "give my heart to," "to commit myself to," and "hold dear," "cherish." Believing a proposition (belief-that) was a rare and derived form which has in our day unfortunately become dominant, almost to the exclusion of belief-in. See Chapters 5 and 6.

10. Paul Tillich, Dynamics of Faith (New York: Harper Colophon Books, 1957), p. 16.

11. David Tracy, Blessed Rage for Order (New York: Seabury Press, 1975), p. 55.

12. Herman Dooyeweerd talks of the "transcendental terminal function" of faith with "its immediate relatedness to the transcendent root and to the Origin of temporal existence." A New Critique of Theoretical Thought (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1955), 2: 304.

13. James Fowler, Stages of Faith (New York: Harper & Row, 1981), p. 28.

14. L. Tolstoy, A Confession (London: Oxford University press, 1961), p. 24.

15. M. Heidegger, "The Way Back in the Ground of Metaphysics," in W. Kaufman, eds.,Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre (New York: Meridian Books, 19.56), p. 219.

16. Langdon Gilkey, Naming the Whirlwind: Renewal of God-language (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1969), p. 440. For a phenomenological unveiling of the dimension of ultimacy. Gilkey's book is unsurpassed.

17. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, Section 217 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1967).

18. Cf. Michael Polanyi, The Tacit Dimension (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1966).

19. Revelation "is that definite mode of experience in which a particular answer to these ultimate questions that arise in relation to all secular life manifests itself, is received, and so 'known'. Revelation so defined is universal in human existence" (Gilkey. pp. 426-27).

20. G. Radnitzky, Contemporary Schools of Metascience (Chicago: Henryy Regnery, 1968), p. 228.

21. Geertz, p. 99. Peter Berger describes such crises in The Precarious Vision (Garden City, N.Y. Doubleday, 1961) and, with Thomas Luckmann in The Social Construction of Reality (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1966), talks of the need to "switch worlds" (p. 157).

22. In The Denial of Death (New York: Free press, 1973), Ernest Decker comes to the same conclusion. See pp. 202-204.