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Faith vs.

Reason: A Quick Glance at the Pope’s Latest Encyclical
Why did the pope write an encyclical on faith and reason? Is not faith and reason
opposed to each other? It is true that we live in an age of faithlessness, but why did he include reason? Are faith and reason related? Does faith need reason and vice versa? In an age of science and technology, is reason also in serious trouble? The pope addresses these questions and more in this Encyclical

At least for most !hristians, we have a common ground " the #ible

$es, there are problems of interpretation and canonicity, but still there is a strong commonality in the #ible The #ible can serve as a basis for intellectual dialog #ut with atheists and agnostics, the common ground becomes more nebulas %ince they deny the e&istence or importance of 'od, then (is Word is even less credible The only possible common ground is reason As %t )eter writes* +Always be ready to give an e&planation to anyone who as,s you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence + -. )eter /*.0".12 3nfortunately some atheist can be as unreasonable and dogmatic 4i e religious5 as some !hristians We must bear in mind as the Encyclical recogni6es, that* +If human beings with their intelligence fail to recogni6e 'od as !reator of all, it is not because they lac, the means to do so, but because their free will and their sinfulness place an impediment in the way + -7ides et ratio .82

9ow I am not a professional philosopher, so in one sense, I am technically incompetent
to give this tal, #ut in another sense, philosophy affects all of us, so we all need to be aware of its current trends )hilosophy is the foundation of political systems, e g :ar&ism We are all thin,ing beings who strive for ,nowledge 'ossip is perhaps one bad e&ample of this urge We all want to ,now the truth )eople may want to deceive others, but very few people want to be deceived This Encyclical addresses issues that affect all of us

(opefully some time in our life, we have wondered about our purpose in life

Are we merely a frea, cosmic accident that needs a purpose, or were we created for a purpose? This Encyclical begins with questions li,e* +Who am I? Where have I come from and where am I going? Why is there evil? What is there after this life?+ -Ibid .2 The answers 4or lac, of response5 to these fundamental questions on the meaning of life +decides the direction which people see, to give to their lives + -Ibid 2

Even though we live in an age of science, we can still be quite unreasonable

We hear how our school systems are failing to teach the new generation Also T;, radio, newspapers and maga6ines proclaim to already have the answers, so we do not need to bother about thin,ing We merely accept the popular trends without questions In my

2 9ow for all humans. it is easy to ignore intangible ideas According to %. because I have many independent sources to trust A few sources may be wrong.nowledge.e )aris by faithA however.ers We are more and more concerned about the material world and our sense perceptions of it Ta& dollars and vaccines can solve social problems :any years ago while ta.epticism + Due to our concrete thin. I have never been to )aris 4I almost went there. I complained to the professor about being uncomfortable with the sub<ect matter I was doing well in the course. but I felt lost or. observation or e&perience We need both ways of .e freedom and <ustice.epticism.opinion. together 7or e&ample.nowledge does not need faith All the .er Even though we claim to live in an +age of reason+. such as love. who claim to have been there. there are two ways of .nowing ?nowledge by reason alone would be quite limited #oth need to wor. science and technology has made us into concrete thin. but my flight plans were rerouted 5 I have no direct personal e&perience of the city At this time in my life. +the human being " the one who see. since we can prove it ourselves @eason replaces faith 3nfortunately this presumption is not totally honest Due to constraints in time and resources.nowledge that fosters personal .nowledge on faith.s. I reali6ed that I was also a concrete thin.now things through our five senses ?nowledge concerning abstract ideas. are perverted or bound to concrete things %.ing. and the literature can be wrong #ut I still believe in )aris. the only important . about it I read many boo. beauty and 'od.nowing through personal thin.nowledge is obtained from our observation of material things We can only . even though it may not be a supernatural faith According to the Encyclical. are either absurd or fantasy Also abstract concepts. but it is still harder to accept that all of them are wrong %cientists must also rely on natural faith They must trust each other Each scientist does not have the time or resources to personally verify every e&periment or measurement They must trust the scientific literature 9ow faith is . tal.ing a course in abstract algebra.nowing through trust @eason is . I must simply believe that this city e&ists I must ta. that we need.ing.s the truth " is also the one who lives by belief + -Ibid /. thought that I was missing something important The professor=s response was* +Well.nowing* faith and reason 7aith is . li. can be personally verified by our sense perception or personal e&perience We do not need to believe in anything. it=s abstract>+ At that point. even scientists must accept some . at least. this natural faith is not a +blind leap + I have good reasons to trust that )aris is a real city There is a convergence of evidence I heard friends.epticism assumes that reason is limited to only sense perception Any idea beyond particular material ob<ects is not important The second problem with modern reason is a false autonomy or independence This false autonomy of reason is called +@ationalism + @ationalism assumes that human . there are serious problems with modern reason The first problem that the pope addresses is called +%. reports and newspaper articles relating to )aris 9ow friends can lie.

the first roc. the second as a very faithful e&ecutor of the commands of 'od + During the final year of my )h D program.et and the compass The 'ree. I still needed faith to motivate me through the hard times As a result of supernatural faith in an intelligent !reator who wishes not to deceive. accident If the universe is an accident.s believed that nature was divine and thus not fundamentally .nowable These people had the intelligence but not the inspiration to pursue science According to %tanley Ca. very few people would be interested in wasting their time in studying the universe and the fundamentals of matter Bet=s face it* accountants and nurses have more <ob security than scientists The Encyclical recogni6es that.ed by reason The published scientific literature is carefully peer reviewed Also if a particular scientist is proven to be dishonest.en. atheistic evolution.nowable The universe is worth studying for its own sa.e. but something strange was happening I was frustrated and falling into despair I complained to my supervising professor (is response to me was* +$e of little faith>+ Even though I was pursuing a high"level degree in the physical sciences at a secular university.nowable This presumption of Darwinism can . is engineering or technology 5 Without this fundamental. modern science arose from medieval !hristianity The ancient !hinese and 'ree. in order to master it. assumes that the universe is a frea. +It is faith which stirs reason to move beyond all isolation and willingly to run ris. science in these cultures was +still born + Ironically +Darwinism+. +It is the one and the same 'od who establishes and guarantees the intelligibility and reasonableness of the natural order of things upon which scientists confidently depend. is discredited (e needs to find a new profession 9ow faith can also motivate us to pursue reason According to the Encyclical. while studying the universe. they did not believe in the intelligibility of the universe The 'ree. for its own sa. unproven belief.e? An accident has no purpose Also an accident usually implies chaos If the universe is fundamentally chaotic.relationship because there is a need for trust In science this faith fosters the +scientific community + #ut this faith is not a +blind leap+ but is bac. and his wor. then is it really worth studying for its own sa. my e&periments were still not giving satisfactory results These e&periments should have given good results. and who reveals himself as the 7ather of our Bord Cesus !hrist + -Ibid /D2 It is here that the pope quotes 'alileo in footnote EF8* +%acred %cripture and the natural world proceeding equally from the divine Word.s were very intelligent people The !hinese invented gunpowder.e and not simply for learning how to e&ploit it 4%tudying the universe. the first as dictated by the (oly %pirit. the trust is bro.i. then it may not be .s so that it may attain whatever is beautiful. good and true 7aith thus becomes the convinced and convincing advocate of reason + -Ibid 012 All physical sciences assume that the physical universe is fundamentally .s invented the first steam engine and geometry #ut due to their pantheistic religions. is science.

that faith. as its name implies. its starting point is sense e&perience Theology. .en.nowledge that aims at e&plaining something. so our will may be more receptive to the grace of supernatural faith 7or e&ample the radical question.s !hristianity but also the fundamental inspiration underlying the pursuit of science #ut what about supernatural faith? %upernatural faith is the basis of !hristianity (ow can this be related to natural reason? According to the Encyclical. reason can help us better e&plain our faith to other people who do not share our personal convictions In the other side. tied to wea. it becomes apparent that reason needs to be reinforced by faith. is an approach that borrows particular ideas from different philosophies without any concern for their appropriateness or internal coherence Its a +hodgepodge+ of thoughts %econdly. but its starting point is the revealed Word of 'od It is related to faith but also reason %ince the two disciplines have different starting points. faith can motivate us to pursue reason further to acquire more . a gift of 'od.nowledge According to the conclusion of the Encyclical* +The !hurch remains profoundly convinced that faith and reason Jmutually support each other=A each influences the other as they offer to each other a purifying critique and a stimulus to pursue the search for deeper understanding + -Ibid . +Why is there something rather than nothing?+ -Ibid G12. of withering into myth or superstition + -Ibid DH2 Ine heresy concerning faith. since the title of the Encyclical is +7aith and reason+. +Although faith. can ma. faith then runs the grave ris. claims that supernatural faith is so superior to natural reason that faith cannot benefit from reason 3nfortunately 7ideism reduces faith to simply a personal conviction or a +blind leap + As %t )eter encouraged. on the other hand. they are distinct #ut both can be used to better our understanding of 'od #ased on the naturally .e us reali6e that there is something missing from mere sense e&perience Also reason can help faith from falling into superstition @eason can critique our beliefs The Encyclical states that* +It is an illusion to thin.KK2 Even though I have spo. we can better understand 'od as Trinity #efore concluding. the pope points out several modern currents of philosophical thought which are fundamentally flawed 7irstly. but they are more fruitful if they interact with each other )hilosophy is an orderly body of .raise doubts in the minds of those attempting to study science Darwinism not only attac.e reason. reason which is unrelated to an adult faith is not prompted to turn its ga6e to the newness and radicality of being + -Ibid DH2 7aith can free reason from the bondage of mere sense perception As in science. is not based on reason. reasoning. in order to discover hori6ons it cannot reach on its own + -Ibid 1G2 @eason can open our concrete minds. might be more penetratingA on the contrary.en mainly about faith and reason. philosophy can argue for the e&istence of 'od as the ultimate subsistent #eing #ut philosophy is without a clue concerning the Trinity Inly through revelation and theology. is also an orderly body of . +7ideism+. the Encyclical is really concerned about the relationship between philosophy and theology #oth need their rightful autonomy. a supernatural faith can give reason a vitality and newness Ince again according to the Encyclical* +#y the same to. +Eclecticism+. it can certainly not dispense with it At the same time.nowable world.nowledge that aims at e&plaining something Bi.

7aith and @eason 7r :aurice 'ilbert. claims that the only reliable . I will end here )lease read this Encyclical Than. 7ides et ratio Dr Douglas 7lippen.D :ay . Israel=s Wisdom #ishop Andre":utien Beonard. which is similar to @ationalism and )ositivism. you for your time and patience References: . F / D 0 1 G H 8 'od. is an attitude of thought which bases all decisions on results and utility Any theoretical considerations are ignored If a given action produces the desired results. every illusion of autonomy which would deny the essential dependence on 'od of every creature " the human being included " leads to dramatic situations which subvert the rational search for the harmony and meaning of human life + -Ibid HK2 In summary. here for lin.nowledge is obtained through the scientific method It gives the impression that if something is technically possible then it must be morally admissible +)ragmatism+. due to our human conditions.nowledge #oth go hand"in"hand %ince I am neither a philosopher or a theologian. The Drama of the %eparation of 7aith and @eason :ost of these articles can be found on Peter's Net )lease clic. honest logical conclusion that without 'od.888 . then it is good 7inally all of these philosophies eventually lead to +9ihilism+ It is the final denial of the dignity of man and man=s eternal destiny 9ihilism is the final. 7rom :any (uman Truths to the Ine Divine Truth 7r Enrico dal !ovolo. we are nothing It is the despair of atheism These philosophies tend to re<ect the need for 'od and profess a false autonomy As the Encyclical notes* +%ince the created world is not self"sufficient. The Encounter of 7aith and @eason in the 7athers of the !hurch 7r 'iovanni # %ala.+(istoricism+ assumes that there are no time enduring truths What was true in one historical period may not be true in another It is closely related to :odernism 9e&t +%cientism+. @ational Custification of the Act of 7aith #ishop )eter (enrici.s )hillip # Biesches. The #ible )ope Cohn )aul II.i . we need both faith and reason in order to properly advance in . which is quite popular in #ritain and the 3 % A .