Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Exploring Boundaries: Faith & Reason

I believe in the integration of faith and reason. Even many of my Christian brothers & sisters disagree with me here, I am not alone. Pascal, Edmund Burke, Augustine, Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Ravi Zacharias and many many others would echo this affirmation.

When we put on seatbelts to ride in a car, we do so because logic says that the seatbelts make us safer. However because we cannot absolutely know whether or not we will arrive at our destination safely, our decision to ride in the car is based upon faith. Furthermore, if the driver of the car was inebriated, reason would dictate that such faith would be even less founded, if not unfounded.

I believe in Christ but not without reason. But because my reasons can not absolutely prove Him to be true, I still have faith. There is a reason that the Bible says that the Christ who could walk through walls in his resurrected body rolled away the stone from His tomb. It wasn't so that He could get out. It was so that we could see in.

I have blogged on the reasons for my faith in other posts and will not reiterate them again. But now that I have established this nexus of reason and faith, let's explore their limitations.

The limitations of reason are less obvious to many. Maybe you've read about the philosopher who asks questions like "How do I know I exist?" and "How do I know that I'm not really asleep living in a dream?" Go without food and drink for a while and you'll know that you are alive even if you can't explain how or why via reason. We somehow know that we exist but we can't explain how.

The limitations of faith are obvious. I can have faith that the world is flat, that I am the king of Narnia, that I am going to be healthy, wealthy, famous and wise, but reality does not always conform to our faith.

I can have faith that the oil currently spewing into the gulf of Mexico will miraculously stop but I cannot presume my faith upon God's will. It is only when I know the will of God that my faith can have traction.

What is at the boundary of reason if it is not faith? And what is at the boundary of faith if it is not God?

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