Faith vs Reason?

Faith is the subjective act of the existing subject in deciding for God above reason but not against reason.



Mark said... 10/04/2008 3:07 pm  

I'm not sure if I agree entirely with the statement, but I would want to stress that faith is not irrational. I've always been intrigued by the conclusion of Paul's defence before Agrippa and Porcius Festus (best name in the Bible!) in Acts 26:24:

"24 And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind. 25 But Paul said, I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. 26 For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe. 28 And Agrippa said to Paul, In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian? 29 And Paul said, Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains. ...

Paul has been rationally persuaded of the gospel message himself and seeks to rationally persuade both Agrippa and Festus of its truth and reasonableness. Yet he is entirely reliant on God to override the blind sinfulness and finiteness of their minds. Ie. faith is a gift of God, but God works through human rationality to bring about objective trust in the person and work of Jesus.

Mark said... 10/04/2008 3:07 pm  

Sorry for the long comment!

Lara said... 10/04/2008 4:27 pm  

The idea of theology containing things above reason but nothing contrary to reason was a common theme in the 17th century. That's slightly different to faith, I know, but still interesting, I think!

I agree with Mark that faith is not irrational - it's not the opposite of reason.

The Pook said... 10/04/2008 10:50 pm  

"Faith has reasons that Reason knows nothing of" - Blaise Pascal

Chris said... 10/04/2008 11:13 pm  

I would say that it is unlikely in any decision we make ever do we have the full facts and are therefore almost never able to make a truly rational decision.

Going to the shops for example, I put faith in law makers, farmers and owners (to name the few that come to mind) that the product I'm buying is actually healthy, and not going do damage to me.

And from going to the shops to driving a car, or believing in almost any scientific theory (given I am an Arts graduate and therefore no nothing of science really). I never have the full set of facts so I never make a truly rational decision.

The problem as I see it is people have two sets of criteria for judging what a rational decision is. It seems that it is rational to essentially make any decision that doesn't involve God. We have as much, if not more, evidence for a belief in the Jesus we read about in the Bible as we do for making any number of our daily rational decisions.

So like all our decisions a belief in God requires faith. But it is a rational weighing of the best evidence we have before us.

mike said... 10/05/2008 10:51 am  

Thanks for the comments

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