How Do We Explain Faith And Reason?

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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,
Orthodoxy

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

Standing On The Threshold

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I tended at this stage to think of my Christian faith as a philosophy of life, not a religion. I had grasped something of its intellectual appeal but had yet to discover its imaginative, ethical and spiritual depths. I had a sense of standing on the threshold of something beautiful and amazing, which my reason had tantalizingly only grasped in part. Like Einstein, I realized that nature “shows us only the lions tail,” while hinting at the majesty and grandeur of the magnificent animal to which it is attached—and to which it ultimately leads.

–Alister McGrath,
University of Oxford Professor

An Atheist Rethinks his Faith

6729543099_95c4fd001e_bAtheism, I began to realize, rested on a less-than-satisfactory evidential basis. The arguments that had once seemed bold, decisive, and conclusive increasingly turned out to be circular, tentative, and uncertain. The opportunity to talk with Christians about their faith revealed to me that I understood relatively little about their religion, which I had come to know chiefly through not-always-accurate descriptions by its leading critics, including British logician Bertrand Russell and German social philosopher Karl Marx. I also began to realize that my assumption of the automatic and inexorable link between the natural sciences and atheism was rather naïve and uninformed.

–Alister McGrath,
Atheism, Christianity, Religion, and Science

Giving Atheism a Bad Name

another superheroThe New Atheism’s vigorous and uncompromising assertion of the rationality of its own beliefs and the irrationality of everyone else’s has caused many within the wider atheist community to cringe with embarrassment.

As the atheist philosopher Julian Baggini pointed out, the New Atheism seemed to believe that “only through stupidity or crass disregard for reason could anyone be anything other than an atheist.” This sort of dogmatic intellectual arrogance, he suggested, just gave atheism a bad name.

–Alister McGrath,
Faith and the prison of mere rationality,
http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2011/03/01/3151356.htm

When science gets hijacked

Science_badThe cultural and intellectual authority of science depends critically upon its absolute neutrality in such debates. If it is hijacked for ideological purposes, its public reputation can only suffer. This point was appreciated long ago.

Darwin’s great supporter Thomas H. Huxley (1825-1895) famously declared that declared that science “commits suicide when it adopts a creed.” Huxley was right. If science allows itself to be hijacked by fundamentalists, whether religious or anti-religious, its intellectual integrity is subverted and its cultural authority is compromised.

That is one of the reasons why so many scientists are troubled by the New Atheist agenda. They see this as compromising the integrity of science, and hijacking it for the purposes of an anti-religious crusade.

–Alister McGrath,
Stephen Hawking, God and the role of science,
http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2010/09/14/3011163.htm

The prison of mere rationality

canstock16766365To limit oneself to what reason and science can prove is merely to skim the surface of reality, and fail to discover the hidden depths beneath. Both reason and science are severely limited in what they can prove…

For Christian writers, 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,
Faith and the prison of mere rationality,
http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2011/03/01/3151356.htm