Religious teachings on trust
April 6, 2009 12:23 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find religious publications (any religion) on the topic of trust?

I'm looking for examples of how various religious denominations discuss the concept of trust in order to contextualize the findings from a series of interviews I've done. I found an LDS magazine with a good search function, and I'm looking for similar stuff for other groups. Published sermons, magazine articles, even sections of holy books - all are useful.
posted by arcticwoman to Religion & Philosophy (11 answers total)
Trust as in faith or goodwill between people and initially extending benefit of the doubt when judging character?
posted by watercarrier at 12:26 PM on April 6, 2009

The subject of my research is trust as per your second meaning, but part of my argument is that religious teachings tend to speak of trust almost solely in terms of trust in God or faith - so, my answer to your question is... both.
posted by arcticwoman at 12:28 PM on April 6, 2009

religious teachings tend to speak of trust almost solely in terms of trust in God or faith

To be clear, this is how my interview respondents have described their religious teachings about trust - I have no idea if it's objectively true or not, but it's what sticks the memories of the adherents I've spoken with. Trust as trust in god, and trust in the context of the importance of being trustworthy. I'm looking for some religious publications that either give examples of these kinds of lessons, or contradict them.

I don't even know where to start. How many church magazines to Catholics have? What publications do E-Frees read?
posted by arcticwoman at 12:33 PM on April 6, 2009

From a Judaic perspective it is The Universal Answer. Enjoy.
posted by watercarrier at 12:36 PM on April 6, 2009

The Interfaith Explorer and the Internet Sacred Text Archive might be of help. (For the former, the majority of its library is Bahá'í texts -- including a great deal of secondary literature -- but it also includes texts from Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and others.)
posted by camcgee at 2:21 PM on April 6, 2009
posted by mandapanda at 2:26 PM on April 6, 2009

I have access to the American Theological Libraries Association Serials (ATLAS) database. A quick search for articles with keyword "trust" brought up these hits. If there are any of them that look particularly useful for you, just let me know and I can email PDFs to you.

Title: Trust betrayed: a crisis in congregational life
Source: Christian Century 125 no 17 Ag 26 2008, p 12-13.

Title: Hallelujah! Psalm 146
Source: Journal for Preachers 31 no 1 Advent 2007, p 42-43.

Title: What is a Christian? On trusting in Christ
Source: Word & World 27 no 3 Sum 2007, p 339, 341.

Title: The paradoxical nature of surrender
Source: Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling 61 no 4 Wint 2007, p 309-318.

Title: Control is good -- trust is better: freedom and security in a "free world"
Source: Theology Today 62 no 4 Ja 2006, p 465-475.

Title: Openness and trust in congregational and synodical leadership
Source: Currents in Theology and Mission 33 no 4 Ag 2006, p 304-312.

Title: Isaiah 24-27: songs in the night
Source: Calvin Theological Journal 40 no 1 Ap 2005, p 76-84.

Title: "Trust and obey": the danger of obedience as duty in evangelical ethics
Source: Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 25 no 2 Fall-Wint 2005, p 59-77.

Title: On sacred trust: covenant from an African perspective
Source: Living Pulpit 14 no 3 Jl-S 2005, p 8-9.

Title: Betrayal and healing: the aftermath of Judas' kiss
Source: Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling 59 no 4 Wint 2005, p 361-364.

Title: Amazing sin, how deep we're bound: finding the courage to trust in grace
Source: Christianity Today 48 no 5 My 2004, p 50-53.

Title: A prayer for the readers of the Book of Isaiah: a meditation on Isaiah 12
Source: Calvin Theological Journal 39 no 2 N 2004, p 381-385.

Title: Religious belief (not necessarily) embedded in basic trust and receptivity
Source: Journal of Empirical Theology 17 no 1 2004, p 85-100.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:25 PM on April 6, 2009

Also, Christianity Today is probably the leading popular magazine for the evangelical world, and has a good search function on their site.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:28 PM on April 6, 2009

And here's a list of denominational magazines and journals that could help you find specific perspectives.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:35 PM on April 6, 2009

You might find it helpful to look at Rowan Williams's book Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian Belief, which argues that 'Christian belief is really about knowing who and what to trust'. (You can download Chapter 1 for free here.) 'Trust' is being used here in contrast to 'belief' (in the sense of intellectual assent to a set of teachings), Williams's point being that 'Christianity asks you to trust the God it talks about before it asks you to sign up to a complete system' (my emphasis).

Behind this lies a lot of complex theology about the relationship of faith and trust. (Williams's book doesn't go into this, but it's useful to know some of the background to understand where he's coming from.) Traditional scholastic theology divides faith into three parts, notitia (knowledge), assensus (assent) and fiducia (trust), so Williams is perfectly orthodox when he argues that faith and trust are very closely bound up together. (The close relationship between the two is clear in Latin, fides/fiducia, but obscured in English, where the two words spring from different roots.) However, fiducia is tradtionally seen as the 'crown of faith', the final step in the process, whereas Williams presents it as the first step, arguing that trust comes before intellectual assent. (The technical term for this is voluntarism.) Some conservatives would see this as a sign that Williams (a liberal) is not putting enough emphasis on the doctrinal aspects of faith.

For another approach, see Onora O'Neill's 2002 Reith Lectures, A Question of Trust. The BBC website includes the texts of the lectures and some helpful background information on the philosophy of trust.
posted by verstegan at 1:40 AM on April 7, 2009

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