The Popular View of Faith and Reason Is Wrong

by L. James Everett, III

In Christian history, there have been at least two ways of understanding the definition of Faith and Reason and their relationship to one another. One is correct, the other is massively confused. Unfortunately, the confused version is popular.

The confused version is the following: Faith is a pure act of will that is radically opposed to any kind of evidence. The more evidence, the less room for Faith. The more reason one has for a course of action or for holding a belief, the less doing that action or holding that belief  is an act of Faith. Also, Faith is, on this view, sort of a virtuous thing (except it doesn’t have to be a habit). It is a pure act of will that is praiseworthy–a pure act of will without or against reason. The act of will may be an act of intellectual judgment, with no reason or evidence to support that verdict. It may even GO AGAINST evidence or reason, which gets you even more Super Mario points in Heaven.

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So, on this popular view, the less evidence, the better. The more room for Faith. On this view, Faith and Reason shall never be friends.

Being ignorant works, however. This view says ignorance leaves room for Faith. Without Faith, it is impossible to please God. Therefore, God would want you to have as little evidence as possible for both (1) your actions, and (2) your beliefs. You have to will yourself to believe. You are obligated by God to pull yourself up by your own belief-bootstraps–without the crutch of evidence, reason, scholarship, good arguments, rational thought, etc.  In other words, God have mercy on our sinful souls if we have any shred of evidence that we are sinful!

In one sense, it’s rather hard to argue against the view, because on it’s own account, any argument you give against it is of no use. By it’s own standards, it ignores arguments. Ignoring arguments and reason is the key to being a spectacularly ignorant person…

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The Poached Egg ApologeticsThe Popular View of Faith and Reason Is Wrong | SturdyAnswers

 

RECOMMENDED APOLOGETICS RESOURCES FOR FURTHER READING:

Love Your God with All Your MindLove Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul

The Passionate Intellect: Christian Faith and the Discipleship of the MindThe Passionate Intellect: Christian Faith and the Discipleship of the Mind

 

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