from "The Biblical View of Reality"
in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity
Abraham Joshua Heschel
Philosophy of religion is primarily not the philosophy of a philosophy, the philosophy of a doctrine, the interpretations of a dogma, but the philosophy of concrete events, acts, insights, of that which is immediately given with the pious man. The dogmas are merely a catalogue, an indispensable index. For religion is more than a creed or an ideology and cannot be understood when detached from actual living. It comes to light in moments in which one's soul is shaken with unmitigated concern about the meaning of all meaning, about one's ultimate commitment, which is integrated with one's very existence; in moments in which all foregone conclusions, all life-stifling trivialities are suspended, in which the soul is starved for a inkling of eternal reality; in moments of discerning the indestructibly sudden with the perishably constant.
Religion is never meaningful in the abstract, only in the concrete reality of living and so it is imperative that each of us who practices faith does so with the knowledge that the eyes of the world are focused on us, trying to see what it is we do--all-too-ready to revile and ridicule, all-too-reluctant to pause a moment in awe before the moral magnificence of a Mother Teresa--but somehow reluctantly persuaded by what is done. Hence, we add fuel to the fires of the Dawkinses and Harrises of the world when we act contrary to our belief.
It's a hard reality--but the world is a judging place and we are in the dock. Therefore, it is imperative that the practice of our faith yields the good fruit we have so often heard about. Anything less and we convict ourselves and once again hammer in the nails.
And yet, and yet, we must not forget--we are broken and imperfect hence:
O felix culpa quae talem et tantum meruit habere redemptorem