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Chapter 4. Bring About the Obedience of Faith • 41

The ultimate goal of a life of faith is eternal union with God in

heaven. Through the gift and experience of faith, we are able not only to

look ahead to what awaits us, but also to experience here some of God’s

divine life, “a taste in advance” of our sharing life with him forever (see

CCC, no. 163). While living a life of growing in faith might seem like

a waste of time and energy to skeptics and non-believers, both because

the objects of faith cannot always be proven and because faith often

“produces” little of measurable value, believers know the strength, the

wisdom, the confidence and hope that a life of faith gives.


The culture of the United States has been strongly influenced by the

eighteenth-century Enlightenment, or Age of Reason. That philosophy

coincided with the scientific revolution and was based on the premise

that reason and common sense should be our only guides. Its religious

counterpart was Deism, which claimed that while God exists, he simply

created the world and then left us to our own devices.

The founding fathers of our country were influenced by the

Enlightenment and the promises of science. Though some were attracted

to Deism, they supported freedom of religion and noted the value of

just as long as I please, and no longer; what I believe

today I will reject tomorrow, if I choose. I will believe what

the Apostles have as yet said, but I will not believe what

they shall say in time to come.” No; either the Apostles

were from God, or they were not; if they were, everything

that they preached was to be believed by their hearers;

if they were not, there was nothing for their hearers to

believe. To believe a little, to believe more or less, was

impossible; it contradicted the very notion of believing.

(John Henry Newman, “Faith and Private Judgment,” in

Discourses to Mixed Congregations