Satisfying the Soul

river to the sun copy

We all want to be certain, we all want proof,
but the kind of proof we tend to want —
scientifically or philosophically demonstrable proof
that would silence all doubts once and for all —
would not in the long run, I think,
answer the fearful depths of our soul at all.

–Frederick Buechner


Reason, Faith and Folly

faith & reasob

Freudians and political radicals, along with a great many people who would see themselves as neither, are aware that without reason we are sunk, but that reason, even so, is not in the end what is most fundamental about us. Richard Dawkins claims with grandiloquent folly that religious faith dispenses with reason altogether, which wasn’t true even of the dim-witted authoritarian clerics who knocked me around at grammar school. Without reason, we perish; but reason does not go all the way down. It is not wall to wall. Even Richard Dawkins lives more by faith than by reason. There are even those uncharitable observers who have detected the mildest whiff of obsessive irrationalism in his zealous campaign for secular rationality. His anti-religious zeal makes the Gran Inquisitor look like a soggy liberal.

–Terry Eagleton,
Reason, Faith, and Revolution

Too Large

648965_8e4d4e76a6f1bf435d57952f49cc667c_largeCreation is too large
to be contained in
the tight fist
of reason.

–Marilynne Robinson


Logic Is A Tool, Not A Religion

gearsLogic may be viewed, perhaps, as a machine which is designed, at best, to be such that when we feed into it certain data and turn the logic crank, we inevitably get certain conclusions out the other end. Logic is designed to give inevitably true results starting from known true–or assumed-to-be-true–premises. Logic is a wonderful tool when we want only logical conclusions. We should not reject such a machine merely because it is not equipped to handle all of reality. The scientist who commits himself to use a logic machine is doing wisely, qua scientist, for use on data of science. But if he feeds into that machine convictions that there is no God, or ignores God because He is not in his corpus of data, and then draws from his logic the conclusion that God does not exist, his conclusion is irrelevant. Logic is a tool; it should not be made into a religion.

–Kenneth L. Pike,
With Heart and Mind


Faith and Reason



Sad Simplification


I do not feel any contempt for an atheist,
who is often a man limited and constrained
by his own logic to a very sad simplification.

–G. K. Chesterton‏


Man Cannot Live By Reason Alone


Even the wisest of mankind cannot live by reason alone; pure arrogant reason, denying the claims of prejudice (which commonly are also the claims of conscience), leads to a wasteland of withered hopes and crying loneliness, empty of God and man: the wilderness in which Satan tempted Christ was not more dreadful than the arid expanse of intellectual vanity deprived of tradition and intuition, where modern man is tempted by his own pride.

―Russell Kirk,
The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot