“What Faith is”
Paul Tillich
Katie Duncan and Erica Norton
Faith as Ultimate Concern
• “Faith is the state of being ultimately concerned: the
dynamics of faith are the dynamics of man’s ultimate
concern” (Tillich 255).
• What do you think man’s ultimate concern is?
• “Everything is centered in the only god, the nation- a god
who certainly proves to be a demon, but who shows dearly
the unconditional character of an ultimate concern.”
• How is the nation a demon?
Faith as Ultimate Concern
• “Faith is the state of being ultimately
concerned. The content matters infinitely for
the life of the believer, but it does not matter
for the formal definition of faith.”
Faith: believing in something that cannot be
 Why does the content matter to the life of
the believer but not to the definition of faith?
Faith as a Centered Act
• “For Faith is a matter of freedom. Freedom is
nothing more than the possibility of centered
personal acts. The frequent discussion in which
faith and freedom are contrasted could be helped
by the insight that faith is a free, namely,
centered act of the personality.”
How is faith a matter of freedom?
Why might it be considered an act of personality?
The Source of Faith
• “Placing faith in something involves risk because
we might fall into idolatry.”
How might one “fall into idolatry?”
• “… the act of faith leads to a loss of the center
and to a disruption of the personality.”
 How is this so? How does having a strong belief lead
to what Tillich refers to as a “disruption” of one’s
I Have A Dream
• “One hundred years later, the life of the Negro
is still sadly crippled by the manacles of
segregation and the chains of discrimination.”
Why is it important for blacks and whites to
receive equal opportunity? Why was this such a
big deal, per say, for black and white children to
interact with each other in the educational
I Have A Dream
• King declares in his speech, “… even though we face the difficulties
of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply
rooted in the American dream.”
 What is the “American Dream” which he refers to?
• “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the
true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal.”
 This quote came from The Declaration of Independence which was
signed in 1776.
 So why is it that nearly two hundred years later, during the time
MLK gives his speech, racial discrimination and segregation have yet
to end?
“Let Freedom Ring”
• “… when we let it ring from every village and
every hamlet, from every state and every city, we
will be able to speed up that day when all of
God’s children- black men and white men, Jews
and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics- will be
able to join hands and sing in the words of the
old Negro spiritual…”
Do you think we have finally met the goal of
MLK’s dream?
Work Cited
• King Jr., Martin Luther. "I Have a Dream." The
Human Experience. 6th ed. Littleton, MA:
Tapestry Press, 2009. Print.
• Tillich, Paul. "What Faith Is." The Human
Experience. 6th ed. Littleton, MA: Tapestry
Press, 2009. Print.
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