Reason and faith in religion
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Published: Mon, 06 Mar 2017
Reason and Faith are sources of authority whereby the belief of an individual can rest. Belief is referred to as the values that emanate from a methodological process of inquiry. This process can either be religious, aesthetic, moral or even intellectual. On this basis, reason does not emanate from the wisdoms of traditional authority, or oracles, or assumptions. However, reason requires the existence of real life evidence to proof a fact. Once there is a clear demonstration of this evidence, a claim can be understood and justified as either to be false, or true. Faith is the opposite of reason, and it does not require any evidence for an individual to believe in a given issue or authority. On this basis, faith is a demonstration of assent or trust (Albl, 22). Faith therefore involves an action of commitment that emanates from the believer, in relation to a given belief. Religious faith involves the belief of an individual to a supernatural deity, or God. The root cause of this faith always comes from an individual revelation of God, or the workings of God (The Bible, 3).
On this note, revelation can either be direct, personally experiencing the powers of God. It can also be indirect, that is experiencing the powers of God through the testimonies of other people. Faith that emanates from religion is of two types, namely evidence insensitive faith, and evidence sensitive faith. Evidence sensitive faith is built upon by demonstrable truths, which includes testimonies brought forth by believers or people who ascribe to the same Faith. Mueller (27) denotes that this type of faith is also built on the teachings and lives of people who believed in God. On the other hand, Mueller (29) denotes that evidence-insensitive faith is built upon the individual experiences of a person with his God. Albl (26) explains that it is very possible for a person to believe in God, through faith, or through reason. This paper take a stand that the bible is the main book that provides guidance on an individual’s Christian faith. Reason is only used to confirm and provide support on the various religious beliefs.
Prickett and Robert (36) denote that the main factor that led to the problems associated with reason and faith comes from the concept of revelation. All religious believes are based on revelations. Revelations always entails an individual’s experiences with God, which in turn they are described through sacred pronunciations (Prickett and Robert, 33). These revelations are then written in canonical writings or are passed through oral traditions. An example of a person who experienced revelation and passed the message through canonical writings is apostle Paul. Paul had a personal experience with God, and wrote the messages which are always reffered to as epistles. Hicks (36) denote that these writings are always immune from a rationale critique, or evaluations. On this basis, any attempt to evaluate and critically analyze these messages is a mistake.
However, in the current century, Hicks (41) denotes that various religious organizations encourage a rationale critique of the Bible. One main issue that surrounds the problems regarding reason and faith is to find out how the authority of reason, and that of faith interrelate with one another in this process whereby a religious belief is either justified or not. There are four major ways in which reason and faith can interact. The first method of interaction is the conflict model. Under this model of interaction, the objects, aims and methods of faith and reason usually depict different notions and concepts. On this basis, there is a rivalry between reason and faith.
An example of this rivalry is depicted in the different explanations of the existence of earth. Christian’s belief that God created the world, scientists on the other hand belief that God did not create the world, but it came as a result of evolution (Hicks, 56). The story of creation is effectively explained in the book of Genesis chapter number 1. Charles Darwin on the other hand denotes that the world came as a result of evolution of species. Darwin elaborately explains this concept through his theory of evolution. He came up with this concept of evolution after a careful study of the various species of animals, including mankind. On this basis, his evolutionary theory was developed out of a methodological study, satisfying the principles of reason. This view by Darwin directly conflicts the views of the origin of man, as prescribed by the Bible (Mueller, 28). This therefore challenges the existence of God, putting faith and reason in a conflict with each other. The next model of interaction between reason and faith is the incompatibility model. Under this model, objects, aims and methods of faith and reason are distinct.
Under this model, faith concerns itself with seeking the divine truth, while reason on the other hand concerns itself with seeking for an empirical truth. On this basis, rivalry between faith and reason does not exist. This relationship between reason and faith is divided into two main categories. The first category is transrational (Hick, 43). Under this category, believers denote that faith is higher than reason, and reason can only be used to explain certain religious practices that occur within an individual’s religion or sets of believes. The second category holds that religious believes are irrational, and on this basis, it is not appropriate to examine it through a rational evaluation. Under this principle, it is only possible to understand God, by analyzing what God is not. People who ascribe to this principle believe that there is no need of subjecting faith to a rational justification. This is because it is beyond human understanding (Mueller, 41). The weak compatibility model on the other hand believes that it is possible for there to be dialogue between faith and reason. This is even though reason and faith maintain different methods of evaluations and clarity. Under this model, faith is developed from the existence of miracles, while reason on the other hand involves scientific evaluations of the miracles under consideration.
The final relationship between faith and reason can be termed as the strong compatibility model. Under this relationship, faith and reason have some parity. Proponents of this relationship denote that it is possible to demonstrate articles of faith, by applying reason within it. It is possible to demonstrate articles of faith by using either inductive method, which is depending on experiences to justify faith (Prickett and Robert, 51). It can also take a deductive approach, which is depending on the teachings of faith to justify a belief. An example of an inductive approach is the miraculous healing of a lame man, whom science could not cure. An explanation to this concept is that God has a healing power, thus he healed the man under consideration. Science on the other hand would denote that there wasn’t any scientific method of healing the man under consideration; hence it is only the power of a divine deity that did the job (Prickett and Robert, 51). An example of a deductive approach would always start with an argument that the principles of science would not have existed, unless the power of God was there to ensure that the science under consideration is successful. For example, God gave men the capability and wisdom of making vehicles, and airplanes.
In conclusion, Christians normally rely on the bible as a basis of their faith. For a long period of time, the information contained in the scriptures have never been challenged or critiqued. They are always held as true, no matter how controversial they may be. However, in the 21st century, there is always a demand of evidence and reason in the various teachings of Christianity. This paper manages to effectively explain this concept of reason, and how it used to justify certain aspects of faith. For instance, in this paper, we are able to denote that reason can directly contradict faith. This is by use of science to proof certain aspects of the scriptures as untrue. This paper explains how the Bible depicts the origin of the universe, and how science explains the origin of the universe. The Bible denotes that God created the world, while science denotes that the world came about out of evolution. These two areas are very contradicting and rival each other, and those who believe in the evolution story, do not have any faith in God, nor religious beliefs. In as much as reason can contradict certain aspects of faith, reason is also used to explain certain religious practices or elements of faith. For example, how can one explain the movements of birds in the air, or even the existence of rivers, mountains, and lakes? Initially, the practices of a religious belief were not questionable. Whatever the scriptures said, was always true. However, in the 21st century, religious organizations encourage a rationale critique of their practices.
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Mueller, J. J.. Theological foundations: concepts and methods for understanding Christian faith.
Winona, Minn.: Saint Mary’s Press, 2007. Print.
Prickett, Stephen, and Robert Barnes. The Bible. Cambridge [England: Cambridge University
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The Bible. Harlow, England: King James Version, 2010. Print.
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