Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Faith and Reason

“Sacred Scripture indicates … how deeply related are the knowledge conferred by faith and the knowledge conferred by reason…”[1] Rejecting reason denies being made in God’s image as intelligent beings. Reason without faith denies God’s plan, rejecting fellowship with him. “Intelligence enables everyone, believer and non-believer, to reach ‘the deep waters’ of knowledge (cf. Prov 20:5).”[2]

Credo ut intellegam ("I believe in order to understand') and intellego ut credam ("I understand in order to believe") need to be kept in tension. Through faith, we understand who we are and where we fit in. Life can be intolerable without faith. God’s plans are “plans to prosper … not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jer 29:11).

“Most reflective believers with a theistic orientation realize that the truth of God’s existence is not immediately obvious.”[3] Anselm, a “reflective believer,”[4] stood “… in a long line of thoughtful believers who have sought to give a rational account of why they believe in God….”[5] Peter taught, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Pet 3:15).

Bill Hybels explains:

Most secular folks have written off Christians as people who believe in floods and angels

and strange miracles. My goal is to explain, in a reasonably intelligent fashion, some matters that touch their lives. I hope when they leave they'll say, "Maybe there is something to the Bible and to the Christian life."[6]

[1] Pope John Paul II, Fides et Ratio, 16.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Michael Peterson, William Hasker, Bruce Reichenbach and David Basinger, Reason and Religious Belief: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, Third Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 11.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Bill Hybels, “Speaking to the Secular Mind,” Christianity Today, 12 July 2006, n. p. Online: http://www.christianitytoday.com/bcl/areas/missions/articles/071206.html [12 July 2006].

The Bible. New International Version.

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