Faith and Reason

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Long Essay
The two subjects of “Faith and Reason” and Religion and Science” have both, or a long
time, been subject of a continuous debate in theology and philosophy. The question here is how
science can be compatible with religion and how faith and reason overlap. Faith and reason have
traditionally been considered sources of justification for religious belief. Because of this,
philosophers and theologians have been interested in exploring the relationship between the two
and how claims from both faith and reason can be treated.
Some people believe that the two do not conflict and therefore that if faith is understood
properly and reason used properly, there will never be any competing or contradictory claims. Still
others claim that faith and reason are in contention and believe that faith and reason cannot coexist.
For instance, Kierkegaard holds faith as a priority even when it seems to be irrational. On the other
hand, Locke shows that faith is unreasonable to the extent that he says that the irrationality of a
religious doctrine and the conflict it has both with itself and with facts that are known clearly show
that it is not sound.
There are still other thinkers who claim that both faith and reason have separate domains
that they govern. This means that apparent conflicts are resolved on the side of faith while logical
conflicts are solved using reason. Logical positivists deny that faith governs any domain of human
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existence. They hold that all meaningful ideas and statements can be accesses by rational
Thomas Aquinas shows that faith and reason are inseparable and so are religion and
science. He says that “The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any
Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific
scrutiny shows to be false.” This shows that religion and science, according to him, should not
conflict (Thomas and Stephen, 1999). He presents that religion should not advance knowledge that
cannot be verified by science. Thomas Aquinas also says that “To one who has faith, no
explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” By this he shows that
for a person to be considered a rational human being, they have to use both faith and reason, as
reason without faith is null and faith without reason is likewise null.
Although there are those who think that science and religion are at war, there are others
who think that there is no contradiction whatsoever that exists between religion and science, that
these are two different institutions that deal with different aspects of the existence of human beings.
While science explores the natural world we live in today with logical and verifiable claims,
religion connects the natural world with the supernatural and spiritual world through faith.
Religion explains how spiritual and supernatural powers affect the natural world we live in and
the lives of human beings. Ian Barbour shows four ways of relationship between religion and
science. The four modes of interaction between science and religion according to Barbour are
conflict, independence, dialogue and integration (Barbour, 1997).
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Works Cited
Barbour, Ian G, and Ian G. Barbour. Religion and Science: Historical and Contemporary Issues. ,
1997. Internet resource.
Thomas and Stephen F. Brown. On Faith and Reason. Indianapolis, Ind: Hackett Pub, 1999. Print.
Sullivan, F R. Faith and Reason in Kierkegaard. Washington, D.C: University Press of
America, 1978. Internet resource.
Forster, Greg. John Locke's Politics of Moral Consensus. Cambridge University Press, 2005.
"Aquinas: The Harmony Of Reason And Revelation." Two Thirds of the Average. N.p., 2017.
Web. 11 Dec. 2017.

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