Dynamics of Faith
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Dynamics of Faith

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  668 ratings  ·  60 reviews
One of the greatest books ever written on the subject, Dynamics of Faithis a primer in the philosophy of religion. Paul Tillich, a leading theologian of the twentieth century, explores the idea of faith in all its dimensions, while defining the concept in the process.

This graceful and accessible volume contains a new introduction by Marion Pauck, Tillich's biographer.
paper, 147 pages
Published February 24th 2009 by HarperOne (first published 1957)
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John Doe
Tillich argues that the belief in god is not comparable to some empirical statement that we have no evidence for. He argues that the belief in a god is needed for the integration of the personality. That is, just because we don't use the word god, it does not follow that we don't treat something in our lives as a god. That means, money, sex, wisdom, politics, drugs, progress, the nation state, etc. can give our life a sense of purpose, value, but that we cannot find peace in these false idols.

I first heard of Tillich in a conversation where he was presented as an example of a reasonable voice in a debate where the loudest voices are anything but reasonable, and I agree with that assessment. Much of the book is thought-provoking; in general, his redefinition of faith certainly seems superior to the popular meaning of the word. Much, however, oscillates between very specific statements about absolute truths that, I feel, really require some justification (for example, that all men of a...more
Ben De Bono
For an evangelical like myself, my assessment of this book depends a great deal on perspective. If I'm viewing Paul Tillich as a Christian theologian than the book, while still insightful and interesting, is hugely problematic. While it probably wouldn't be correct to fully associate Tillich with theological liberalism, he's obviously quite influenced by it and shares much in common with it (i.e. his denial of the virgin birth and the bodily resurrection of Christ). Whether or not we can fully s...more
Wil Roese
Paul Tillich defines faith as being in a state of ultimate concern or loving something with all our mind, body and spirit Examples of an object of our ultimate concern include money, success, God, and our nation. The object of our ultimate concern becomes our god. If we put our faith in something other than the ultimate, than that faith can be destructive. Therefore, there is always a risk in faith and this risk causes doubt. This doubt is overcome by courage which is one aspect of faith. Faith...more
Ted Hovey
Paul Tillich defined faith as the state of being ultimately concerned. The dynamics of faith, therefore, are the dynamics of being ultimately concerned.

Tillich distinguishes between true faith and idolatrous faith. In true faith, he asserts, "the ultimate concern is a concern about the truly intimate ... an awareness of holiness. The awareness of the holy is awareness of the presence of the divine, namely of the content of our ultimate concern." In contrast, idolatrous faith involves lifting fin...more
I decided recently that I wanted to understand more about Faith, and what it is beyond dictionary and personal definitions.

A couple of searches and review-readings later, I was directed to this book, which is apparently a classic in the understanding of Faith.

I'm not sure what I've learned, really. I grasp Tillich's definition of Faith as "ultimate concern," but he is less explicit about what constitutes either ultimacy or concern.

The language of the book is academic and stilted, not surprisin...more
I don't have time at the moment for a review, but this book did some amazing things for me both intellectually and spiritually. Highly recommended for those who would like some sort of spirituality or faith in their lives, but feel like they don't "fit" due to intellectual or other concerns. Also recommended to committed believers of a religious tradition who want to deepen or strengthen their faith. Also recommended to Richard Dawkins, as Tillich proposes a "God" that even an atheist could "bel...more
Mohamed Kanjaa
من أروع الكتب التي قد يقرأها الواحد
أظن أن كثيراً من قناعاتي استطاع هذا الكتاب تغييرها
هل أستطيع أن أشك في وجود الله وأنا مرتاح؟
هل نستطيع التسامح مع المؤمنين بأديان أخرى؟ كيفما كانت هذه الأديان حتى ولو كانت غير دينية؟
ما هو الايمان؟ وكيف نزيل عنه المعاني المشوهة؟
كل هذه الأسئلة وغيرها
أعد قراء هذا الكتاب بأن يجدوا لها الجواب
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Shane Wagoner
Certainly a more palatable foray into faith than Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling although it fails to excite in the same way F&T's provocative ideas did. Tillich sees Faith as what he calls "Ultimate Concern". This is the act of aligning your entire mind, body, and spirit with the object of your concern (be it your nation, your personal success, your religion, etc.). He also defines idolatry as placing your faith in that which is not truly ultimate but instead, passes away (Nations fall, su...more
Luke Zerra
This is the book that got me into theology. I first read it my junior year of college in a course entitled "Contemporary Theological Thought." I reread it last night out of some sense of wanting to recapture the excitement and promise I felt when I first read it. While it wasn't as groundbreaking for me on the second read, it was a joy to revisit. Tillich's conception of faith as being grasped by the object of one's ultimate concern is very helpful in a context where faith is all too often equat...more
My father is a Lutheran pastor, and much of my life has revolved around the church. People are often shocked to hear this about me, assuming my politics today are a product of an upbringing that involved my parents reading me Christopher Hitchens or something before I went to sleep as a child (right after they read from Capital). They are then further shocked to learn that I don't see my political engagement as a life development in spite of but rather because of my life in the church.

It took me...more
Nathanael Booth
Tillich defines faith as the state of being “ultimately concerned” (1). Thus, it is an existential rather than an intellectual state, a state made manifest by myth and symbol and concerning the whole person in relation to whatever that person considers “ultimate.” Idolatry, then, is counting the wrong thing as ultimate. I actually find Tillich more helpful that, for instance, Francis Schaeffer, since Tillich focuses on faith as a movement by the entire person, rather than as the assent to a set...more
Matthew Leroy
I liked this book, although it was one of those that I wish I had read in class and could hear someone else's thoughts on. I'm not sure if I understand all of the finer points regarding faith.

Below is a brief primer to help me remember when I look this book over on main points the book had. It may be useful to others, or it may not.

Tillich argues that faith is the process of being concerned with the ultimate. Since the ultimate is uncommunicable man needs to use symbols to communicate their ult...more
Without telling you exactly what Tillich thinks about faith (that would spoil the fun, and also be extremely difficult), let me explain what I thought was useful about this book.

First, it proposes a coherent and accurate definition of faith. Many of his terms and explanations make spiritual sense. Sidenote: I would not recommend Tillich to an atheist. If you don't agree with his basic initial premises, it might be hard to hack your way through 150 dense pages. On the other hand, if you're an ath...more
Faith is what pushes a person passionately forward, seeking to be joined with what is just beyond. More than a simple "belief in the impossible" or "unseen" Paul Tillich's idea of faith is that it is a part of all people. In this way faith underlies all action, thought, and decision. Using this thesis the author looks at several aspects of faith. After building up his arguments he lays out some provoking ideas about how faith and one's life are interwoven. I particularly enjoyed his thoughts on...more
In Dynamics of Faith, Tillich challenges commonly held misconceptions of faith, belief, doubt, symbols, divinity and religion in dense but efficient language that forces the audience to stop and meditate on what is being said. Unlike many other works of theology/philosophy I have read, I found Dynamics of Faith clear and concise, never once offering an idea or concept that was beyond the grasp of the average individual ( such as yours truly). Never once did I feel like Tillich was spiraling or l...more
The first Tillich book I've read - not the last - and I will refer to this wonderful short book often. The idea of an Ultimate Concern as the object of faith is introduced at the beginning of the book with the tenet that there is within us the infinite that is made to connect to the Infintite. My subjective takeaway is that we have this need to connect to the ultimate and a great danger is connecting to false ultimacies such as the nation (Tillich was a refuge from Nazi Germany), sex, alcohol(in...more
Katrina Best
While this book is fairly small (around 140 pages), it requires your full attention. This isn't a light read. Tillich dissects faith and breaks it down to a very specific formula of what faith is. The book starts out with explaining what 'faith' is. Faith is man's ultimate concern. He discusses the reasons as to why science can't disprove faith and faith science. He discusses faith in an organized and systematic fashion. This is a must read for those who think faith is based purely on emotion. I...more
Jonathan Andreasen
"Faith is real in every period of history. This fact does not prove that it is an essential possibility and necessity. It could be--like supersition--an actual distortion of man's true nature. This is what many people who reject faith believe. The question raised by this book is whether such belief is based on insight or on misunderstanding, and the answer is unambiguously that the rejection of faith is rooted in a complete misunderstanding of the nature of faith. It is not restricted to belief...more
It's hard to give this book a rating. Tillich's definition of faith as being "ultimately concerned" in such a way that one's being is oriented around this concern was provocative and helpful, as was his argument that everyone has some kind of faith because everyone is has some kind of ultimate concern. On the other hand, Tillich's "ultimate" doesn't reveal itself to us and it is certainly not personal, thus making it difficult to know why pursuing the ultimate is worth the effort.

I'm glad that I...more
Aug 26, 2011 Tom rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: morality
To anyone who sees faith and religion as lesser forms of knowledge that have been rendered obsolete by the developments of science, Paul Tillich's book The Dynamics of Faith is a must read. Tillich is concise and artful with his prose and defines and defends his point beautifully. Reading this the clarity of his argument coupled with a subtle ambiguity that keeps you from being certain masterfully embodies the very ultimacy he tries to convey. I could not help but be reminded of Confucius's (Ko...more
This book is a must for all people interested in the debate between science and religion. Tillich clearly parses out the different facets of faith and explains how the misunderstanding of faith leads to conflict between faith and other ways of knowing.

His approach is from a philosophy of religion point of view and is very analytical. His definition of faith as "ultimate concern" allows for faith to be applicable to every person regardless of religious belief or lack there of. The atheist as wel...more
- Reason is the precondition of faith; faith is the act in which reason reaches ecstatically beyond itself.

- Faith as an act of passionately accepted and defended doctrines does not produce acts of love.

- Without symbols in which the holy is experienced as present, the experience of the holy vanishes.

Mostly intelligent with some bullshitting and some dry spots. I think defining faith as the state of being ultimately concerned is wonderfully correct. When Tillich said doubt is implicit in faith,...more
May 25, 2014 Sandy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sandy by: Father Joe
My favorite theologian/philosopher of religion. If St. Paul were gobsmacked by Camus, there you go. This little book is a quick read and the best introduction to Tillich, a man whose thought speaks to me in a major way. Faith defined as being grasped by ultimate concern. Which means it's not a range of other things, including belief in things for which there is low evidence. Existentialist philosophy applied to religion. Beautiful.
Trying to understand the quantitative and qualitative component of personal faith in a cultural environment increasingly hostile to the notion and a religious environment shot through with overly-theologized fundamentalism? This book might help. While this is Tillich-lite, it is not an easy read or a self-help book, but, a weighty philosophical writing with powerful existential import.
Dirk Haupt
Love the ideas and pretty much adopt it in anything religious I do, but the book was poorly executed. You could tell his ideas had to be hidden under a convoluted guise, partly due to the fears felt everywhere after world war 2 as to humanity's uncertain future. He didn't want his ideas labeled as radical or seen as a complete departure from religious norms, which they certainly are.
read for Theological Questions: What is the value of faith?

Could probably say more if I'd actually read more of this book. Silly class getting in the way of enjoying reading. Tillich's central argument is that faith revolves around and "ultimate concern". And one can be ultimately concerned about anything, God, money, llamas, you name it. A little to relativist for my taste.
Kyrstin S.
This book pretty much changed my life and my view on faith. I was required to read it in a modern Christianity class. It was astounding. Keep in mind anything he writes in this about Catholics is pre-Vatican II. For current information on beliefs in the Catholic Church check out: http://www.amazon.com/Modern-Catholic...
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was a German-American theologian and Christian existentialist philosopher. Tillich was – along with his contemporaries Rudolf Bultmann (Germany), Karl Barth (Switzerland), and Reinhold Niebuhr (United States) – one of the four most influential Protestant theologians of the 20th century.[citation needed] Among the general populace, he is best known for his works The Courage to Be (1952) and Dynamic...more
More about Paul Tillich...
The Courage to Be Systematic Theology 1 Systematic Theology 2: Existence and the Christ A History of Christian Thought Theology of Culture

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“...history has shown that the most terrible crimes against love have been committed in the name of fanatically defended doctrines.” 17 likes
“Faith as the state of being ultimately concerned implies love, namely, the desire and urge toward the reunion of the seperated.” 9 likes
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