Intelligence counts. Humanist and Christian practice

This is a follow-on from  Talkies and walkies: John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Regress.

“Intellect by itself, says Aristotle, the humanist, moves nothing, but only the intellect which aims at an end and is practical.” (Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics). C. S. Lewis agrees:

“It is intelligence that counts,” said Humanist.

“It moves nothing,” said John. “You see that Savage is scalding hot and you are cold. You must get heat to rival his heat.” (“The Pilgrim’s Regress,” Book 6, Chapter 7, p. 139. Collins, Fount Paperbacks, 1990 [1993]).

The Greek humanist, Aristotle, and the English Christian, Lewis, both agree that Humanist is wrong to think that brains is what it’s all about. What is important to humanists as well as Christians is “use your loaf, yes, but don’t loaf around – do.” C.S. Lewis’s Humanist does not seem to be a typical humanist. As far as I know all humanists, John Dewey, for example, are do-gmatic pragmatists.

We find an echo of Aristotle in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s “Knowing is not enough; we must apply.
 Willing is not enough; we must do,” which is the motto of the counsellor Ra Lovingsworth.

Aristotle and Goethe cover three aspects of personality, namely, intellect (logic [how we think] and knowledge [what we think]), the will and behaviour. When we add the emotions/feelings/heart to the pot, we have the basic ingredients of the Psychology of Personality (or Personality Psychology). Christian theology adds another ingredient, faith, which it maintains is the very reason for the existence of the intellect, the will, the emotions and behaviour (works).

The Reformers of the 16th Century divided true saving faith into three parts: notitia, assensus and fiducia. Notitia comprises knowledge, such as belief in one God, in the humanity (1 John 4:3) and deity of Christ (John 8:24), His crucifixion for sinners (1 Cor. 15:3), His bodily resurrection from the dead, and some understanding of God’s grace in salvation. Assensus is belief. This belief hasn’t yet penetrated the heart; it is still on the mental level – a mental assent. “I believe it, that settles it.” Of course, when you say such a thing, your mental assent is more of a mental descent. To understand why it is a mental descent, you need to ascend to the the third level of faith: fiducia.

Fiducia is full trust and commitment, it’s the heart knowledge of Jesus’ prayer to His Father. It is Fiducia that ultimately counts, which, itself is the (irresistible) gift of God (Two conversions: the mind (NOTITIA) and the heart (FIDUCIA) of faith in Blaise Pascal).

Here is the practical part:

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6-7).

What is more practical than a regenerated heart, that is, a dead heart that has been “transfused” by (faith in) the blood of Christ and brought near to the Father: “Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12-13).