The Relationship between Faith and Reason

Topics: Pope John Paul II, Faith, Pope Pages: 5 (1369 words) Published: May 30, 2011
Ashley Reynolds



“Faith and Reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth” Explain the dangers for a theologian when faith and reason are divorced from each other. Use at least one example of a Christian teaching that shows the harmony of faith and reason

The harmony of faith and reason are the grounds upon which many Christian teachings are built. This relationship enhances elements of both constructs, however the danger of separating reason from faith is that reason will endeavour to prove literally and most logically which would cause the ultimate goal and question to be lost in deliberation and, on the other hand, separating faith from reason would cause faith to be viewed as mere fable or superstition. The two must cooperate in equal conjunction in order for the human spirit to rise to the contemplation of truth as proposed in the encyclical letter ‘Fides et Ratio’ by the late supreme pontiff Pope John Paul II.

Reason could be simply defined as the logical conclusion drawn from literal occurrences or the confirmed nature of a tradition or practise. However more elements of Reason hold true in addition to the prospect of something that can be ‘proven’. Reason is generally understood as the principals for a methodological inquiry, whether intellectual, moral, aesthetic or religious.1 Any acquisition of intellectual knowledge, through either direct understanding or argument is a representation of ‘reason’


The Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy

Hebrews 11:1 states that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”. The basis of faith is usually adapted from the authority of revelation whether that be direct (God speaking directly to a person), or indirect (books of the bible, sermons by priests, etc). Faith depicts a trust in God and his promises to his people. Pope John Paul II stated that through Christian teachings, what humans cannot see or touch is confirmed by faith2

Pope John Paul II, not only addresses the fallacious assertions of modern philosophers, but offers a remedy by demonstrating the truth of the Aristotelian or Tomistic worldview, showing that faith and science are by no means contrary to one another, but that it’s essential for the progression of humanity—of any kind—that faith and science (or reason) be used together.3 The separation of the two cause a confusion, previously experienced by philosophers, that sections faith and science/reason as two detached entities. Viewing this detachment in its simplest formation, the human thinker surmises that for one to be faithful to God, and a religious being, they must reject all elements of reason and commit solely to the concepts of faith. Alternatively, one who would believe in a greater percentage of reason must be atheist as any rejection of God is inherently a rejection of faith itself.

As the world develops and humans become more knowledgeable, it becomes impossible to deny certain facts; however this becomes a danger to all religious communities as by simplest thinking, trusting in any evidence is perceived as a rejection of trust in God. Herein lies the dangers for theologians; prior of course to John Paul II’s Fides et Ratio 2 3

Fides et Ratio, John Paul II Catholic Champion

that acknowledges that “reason and faith cannot be separated without diminishing the capacity of men and women to know themselves, the world and God in an appropriate way …There is thus no reason for competition of any kind between reason and faith: each contains the other, and each has its own scope for action”

As individuals, we must affectively reason within our own contexts and founded understandings of the world which we live, thus this will help us engage in our faith to make sense of the world we observe.4 Noticeably it can be understood that faith, tradition and reasoning are intertwined within one another, you...
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