How Do We Explain Faith And Reason?


Creation is too large to be contained in the tight fist of reason.
– Marilynne Robinson

Reason is no substitute for faith, as colour is not substitute for sound.
– Nicolás Gómez Dávila

God does not expect us to submit our faith to Him without reason, but the very limits of our reason make faith a necessity.
– Augustine

Reason itself is a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.
– G. K. Chesterton,

Religious faith is not a rebellion against reason, but a legitimate and necessary revolt against the imprisonment of humanity within the cold walls of a rationalist dogmatism. The Christian faith declares that there is more to reality than reason discloses – not contradicting reason, but simply transcending it, and escaping from its limitations.
– Alister McGrath

The last function of reason is to recognize that there are an infinity of things which surpass it.
― Blaise Pascal

How Do We Explain The Human Brain?


Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.
― C. S. Lewis 

If everything is reducible to physics and chemistry, then so is your mind. And then, why would you trust your mind? In other words, atheism taken to its logical conclusion, undermines the very rationality you need to trust to do science. And I’m not in for accepting a worldview that undermines the foundations of any kind of argument or discussion whatsoever. So I think that, in the 21 century, we can push back on that very naive notion that God’s out, we do science now. Science actually brings God back in.
– John Lennox

It is idle to talk always of the alternative of reason and faith. Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.
– G. K. Chesterton

Limited Understanding


“Do you think things always have an explanation?”
“Yes. I believe that they do. But I think that with our human limitations we’re not always able to understand the explanations. But you see, Meg, just because we don’t understand doesn’t mean that the explanation doesn’t exist.”

― Madeleine L’Engle,
A Wrinkle in Time

A Built-In Homing Instinct

Pigeons follow noses

Homing pigeons have long blown the minds of many with their uncanny ability to find their way home, even across great and disorienting distances. Their innate navigational skills are astounding. Someone jokingly said, “I just sold my homing pigeons on EBay… for the 22nd time.”

It has been suggested that if we could teach a homing pigeon about geography it would probably never arrive at its destination. Its inherent bird instincts are a far superior guide for finding its way to its nest.

Could instinctive faith be a more trustworthy compass for humans than cold rationalism? Although in a state of disrepair, could our basic intuition not point us the right way?  It appears that humans are naturally predisposed, or “wired” to believe in a supreme being. The New Testament declares that the divine law is inscribed upon human hearts (Rom. 2:15). Never has a tribe been discovered that did not have some kind of belief in the supernatural. A recognition of God seems to be our default setting, written in our DNA.

It is not merely on the basis of reason and logic that a person must find God. When we consider how often reason has led us astray, it behooves us to give more credence to instinctive childlike faith.  It could well help many to set off in the direction of home.

The Cult of Reason

cult of reason

You meet a thousand times in life with those who, in dealing with any religious question, make at once their appeal to reason, and insist on forthwith rejecting aught that lies beyond its sphere, without however being able to render any clear account of the nature and proper limits of the knowledge thus derived, or of the relation in which such knowledge stands to the religious needs of men. I would invite you, therefore, to inquire seriously whether such persons are not really bowing down before an idol of the mind, which, while itself of very questionable worth, demands as much implicit faith from its worshipers as divine revelation itself.

–Theodor Christlieb
Modern Doubt and Christian Belief

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