From Faith and the Future, by Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), recently published by Ignatius Press:
The man who wants to limit himself to what is knowable in exact terms is caught up in the crisis of reality: he beholds the withdrawal of truth. Within himself he hears the cry of faith, which the spirit of the hour has not been able to stifle, but has only made all the more dramatic. There is a cry for liberation from the prison of positivism, as there is, too, for liberation from a form of faith that has allowed itself to become a burden instead of the vehicle of freedom.
This brings us at last to the point at which the question can be put: How is such a faith to be created? First let us remark: faith is not a diluted form of natural science, an ancient or medieval preparatory stage that must vanish when the real thing turns up, but is something essentially different.
It is not provisional knowledge, although we do use the word in this sense also when we say, for example, "I believe that is so." In such a case "believing" means "being of the opinion." But when we say, "I believe you," the word acquires quite another meaning. It means the same as, "I trust you," or even as much as, "I rely upon you."
The you, in which I put reliance, provides me with a certainty that is different from but no less than the certainty that comes from calculation and experiment. And it is thus that the word is used in the Christian Credo. The basic form of Christian faith is not: I believe something, but I believe you. Faith is a disclosure of reality that is granted only to him who trusts, loves, and acts as a human being; and as such it is not a derivative of knowledge, but is sui generis, like knowledge, although it is indeed more basic and more central to our authentically human nature than knowledge is.
'This insight has important consequences; and these can be liberating, if taken seriously. For this means that faith is not primarily a colossal edifice of numerous supernatural facts, standing like a curious second order of knowledge alongside the realm of science, but an assent to God who gives us hope and confidence.
A bit about the book:
But the problem of the future assails not only the believer. In the ever more rapidly advancing process of historical evolution, man is confronted with enormous opportunities, but also with colossal perils. For him, the future is not only hope, but sorrow—a nightmare, indeed. He cannot avoid asking what part faith can play in building tomorrow's world.
Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, approaches this problem of universal concern from a variety of angles, bringing his deep personal faith and theological brilliance to bear on these serious questions.
Learn more about some other newly released books by Joseph Ratzinger.