Faith Is a Matter of Experience

Elizabeth Bettenhausen

Article Type: Article

Publication Date: 7/1/1981

Issue: Experience and Christian Faith (Vol. 1, No 3, Summer, 1981)

One reason for the difficulty in saying just what is meant by the word "experience" is precisely that the word is no longer self-evidently meaningful. If you look at any word long enough, it stops looking like a word at all; it becomes just a collection of letters. In the same way, if the meaning of the word is questioned again and again, we find it all the more difficult to pin it down to any meaning at all. For good or for ill, this describes our current situation. People who use English and thus the word "experience" often assume that its meaning is the same all over the world. "All people have experience." "That tribe does not really experience healing; they just believe it." But the word arises out of a particular people, culture, and history.

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