The Definition of Faith and Reason

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REL-401-CL01
Essay 1

Using the information from Albl, define both faith and reason. Include in your explanation the different relationships that can exist between faith and reason, the different ways of describing faith, and the role of reason in theology.

Faith and reason can be described many different ways. Before I began reading and preparing for this class, I had believed that the definitions of both of these words were pretty simplistic. I did not expect to find so many different meanings on so many different levels. To me, faith was believing in something that was intangible, and reason was gathering information and deciding what I believed to be true. I see now that both of these words have much more depth and mean so much more that I imagined.

So far I have learned that the connection between faith and reason cannot be separated. The very first page of our Albl text shows that “faith needs reason in order to communicate beliefs clearly” and vice versa. I had not made this connection before. In order to understand faith, you need to be able to reason your thoughts and beliefs. By the same token, you need to be able to have faith in your reasoning. We need to be confident in our beliefs for both faith and reason. I think Chesterton said it best, “reason itself is a matter of faith” (Albl 31). In order to have one, you must have the other. However, not everyone believes that these 2 concepts work so harmoniously with each other. In the rationalist tradition, they believe “faith and reason are contradictory, or at least exclude one another” (Albl 41). In rationalism and materialism they think of faith as “a harmless opinion about matters that are not real” (Albl 30). Worldwide there are many different opinions of how faith and reason are viewed. They could not be more different through different cultures and traditions. However, like previously talked about the Catholic tradition “emphasizes the compatibility of faith and reason” (Albl 40)....
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