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

How Do We Explain The Human Brain?

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

Reason, Faith and Folly

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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

Post-modernity and rat poison

William Lane CraigMost people don’t for a minute think that there are no objective standards of truth, rationality, and logic. . . [A] post-modern culture is an impossibility; it would be utterly unlivable. Nobody is a post-modernist when it comes to reading the labels on a medicine bottle versus a box of rat poison.

–William Lane Craig

It doesn’t always stand to reason

Jurgen Schulz'12 copyOne of the crucial factors relating to faith and belief is the fact that humans are not merely rational creatures. We often think and act in very irrational, and sometimes downright foolish ways. Reason does not reign supreme in our lives.

Along with a mind, we have a heart—a motive center. Our heart tends to find certain things attractive or repulsive, and encourages our mind to look for logical reasons to support these inclinations. Before long “good” arguments are found to back them up these preferences and desires of the heart.

We often end up eating something we shouldn’t eat, or buying something we shouldn’t buy. At times we act or react in wrong and hurtful ways.

What happened to our rationality?

It got overtaken by our desires. Our mind got highjacked by our heart.

A similar phenomenon takes place in matters of faith. There are things swirling around in our hearts like guilt, pride, lust, resentment, hurtful memories, etc. Our intellect is colored and shaped by these feelings and inclinations. We latch on to certain ideas because we “feel” inclined to do so. It may have little or nothing to do with logic or reason.

It was suggested by Thomas Cranmer that what the heart loves, the will chooses and the mind justifies.

Thomas Aquinas ‏went as far as to say “Most men seem to live according to sense rather than reason.”

So the questions arise: Do people reject belief in God because of cold hard evidence? Or do they do so because they have hearts that prefer it to be that way? Do we honestly seek to know the truth, whatever it may be, or do we seek evidence to support what we really want to believe? How objective are we really?

I am afraid that rationality is only a part of what’s going on. Perhaps a small part. We are often eager to believe what we know is not true. No one deceives us more often than we deceive ourselves.

Even in matters of life and death.

In fact, it’s rather scary.

–Jurgen Schulz