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November 21, 2004



A lot of people I know just don't say the Creed. Including me, at first. As a matter of fact I went to a service for awhile where no creed was used at all, and that was fine with me, too. I used to view it as sort of an oath, and thought I couldn't say it if I didn't believe in it - and I didn't. (Weekday masses, BTW, normally don't use either creed, unless it's a feast day.)

But now I like saying it mainly to bow at the Incarnatus.


For some reason, I view it now as a kind of meditation, instead of as an oath; maybe it's because I've been going to services where it's sung, instead of said. Then, it's a lot easier to deal with - it's just another piece of music. I don't know why, but I don't feel at all the way I used to about it; I used to argue for leaving it out completely, so that newcomers to the church wouldn't feel weird about being pressured to say it. Then somebody pointed out to me that during the Eucharist we consume the Real Presence of Our Lord in the form of bread and wine every week, and I realized the Creed wasn't that big a deal for new people, comparatively speaking.


I like the way you interpret "belief," too. I've found a similar result for the word "faith": it can mean, variously, "assent," "confidence," "fidelity," and "fealty." I have no problems at all with any of those words.

I still think it's fine to leave the Creed out completely, though. It's really not a prayer or anything. It's doctrine, and I don't think it actually needs to be repeated aloud.

David Huff

Prof. Marcus Borg speaks about the meaning of "faith" and "creed" in this sermon preached at Calvary Episcopal Church, Memphis, TN entitled What is Faith ?. He also expounds on this topic very well in his latest book, The Heart of Christianity : Rediscovering a Life of Faith.

Basically, the idea is that "creed" came from the Latin "credo" which does not mean "I believe" (in an intellectual fashion), but rather, "I give my heart to." Giving my heart to the statements in the creeds is certainly something I can do without crossing my fingers, or violating my intellectual integrity.


I read the "Trackback" at Pontificator. Here's the flaw in his logic about "sung" vs. "said":

At my last parish I was in the choir. The duty of the choir is to lead the congregation in song (as well as to present music ourselves in the form of Offertories and anthems).

So, what about a choir member who sings the Creed? Pontificator says this is wrong; that saying it is the same as singing it. He hints that it's somehow a sacrilege or disrespectful to say or sing it when you don't believe in what it says, or in parts of what it says. But what about the choir member? Should she keep silent, too, and neglect her duty, simply because she doesn't agree with or "believe" what she's singing?

IOW, is there, or is there not, something sacred about saying (or singing) these words? I say no, and offer this example as proof. And it's all right for the choir member to sing it, why is it not all right for you to say it for the reason you gave here?

Further, the mere fact that neither Creed is used in weekday masses says that there's nothing about the Creed that's necessary to worship. It's obviously perfectly OK to receive the Sacrament having not said the Creed; and isn't the Eucharist the central act of worship in our faith?

Sorry, Pontificator: this is Church doctrine, and/or a historical statement. It is not a prayer, it is not worship, and it is not a required part of the celebration of the Eucharist. (And BTW, Pontificator: is it really necessary, do you think, to introduce your argument by calling James Pike "apostate"? And BTW am I now, because I argue in a similar way about the Creed, "apostate by association"? Is it necessary to say such things, as if your opinion of other peoples' theological conditions were all there was to say about them? Sorry, but I find that offensive.)

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