Document: D.H. Vollenhoven, “Faith: Its Nature and Structure, and its significance for Science” (Free University of Amsterdam, n.d.).

Excerpt: Your invitation to contribute to this Congress I gladly respond to. Not only because of the pleasant memories of my study‐days at Utrecht in 1946, but also and especially to strengthen our contact. For, if I see correctly, Roman Catholics and Calvinists in Holland are becoming strangers to each other – to the detriment of our country. If this situation is to change, a clear mutual understanding is necessary first. Few occasions are more conducive to promoting it than congresses such as these.

I. The Nature of Faith
Taking “faith” in the sense of religious faith and primarily in the active sense of “believing” –then what is the nature of “faith”? I would describe faith in the sense of believing as the highest function in the life of the individual man. Whether a man is a Christian or – to mention the extremes – a pagan is, of course, terribly important, but incidental for our definition; everyone possesses faith. This is so because believing belongs to the structure of human life which, in spite of important differences in realization, is the same for all. Within this structure (of human life) we can in addition distinguish the “inner” and the “outer”, or, if you prefer, the center and the periphery, heart and functions (‘functiemantel’).

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Faith: Its Nature and Structure and its Significance for Science – D.H. Vollenhoven.pdf