I talked before about how I wanted to start going through Rainn Wilson’s book called Soul Pancake and look through the different days and try and do some of the exercises/answer some of the questions posed by the author. I took some time off, but I started reading through it again and it really got me thinking.
How Do You Reconcile Discrepancies Between Reason and Faith?
“A solid majority of Americans (61%) say that science does not conflict with their own religious beliefs.” Source: The Pew Research Center
When has reason failed you? What do you strictly believe on faith? Does every question have an answer? After thinking heavily about the nature of truth and how certain we can actually be in this world, going through the role of reason and faith seems fitting. First off, I’m not the most reasonable person around. I mean, I can be quite agreeable in a situation, but what I’m talking about is that my decision-making process is much more based on the feel I am getting from the components as opposed to the facts and what makes the most sense logically.
I actually made it all the way through my high school and undergraduate education without every having to take a rhetoric or critical thinking course, which I was excited/proud about at the time, but now I am lamenting because I recognize the need to embrace both my feelings and what makes the most logical sense as I make decisions. It would also help while thinking through some of the stuff in this book.
“The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason” -Benjamin Franklin
“Both faith and reason discover truth, a conflict between them being impossible since they both originate in God.” -Thomas Aquinas
As I touched on in my look at truth, I think that all questions have answers, but I just don’t think we can necessarily get to those answers. I was always struck by the answers we have for some questions and how as we learn more (not just as we get exposed to more knowledge but as science pushes the envelope further in our understanding of the world) how many of those answers get turned on their head. It is a wonder at all that we can rely on the things we see as facts for the time being. There is almost an element of faith to that. 🙂
So many times I am struck by the complexity of the questions that arise and how I have to extend myself in faith and trust gained by experience. As I am studying further in seminary and training my mind in perspectives and schools of thought, I am constantly getting to the point where my questions get pushed further and further up the chain until I have nowhere to turn or look for closure.
Some of history’s greatest scientists – Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Rene Descartes, Robert Boyles and Gregor Mendel – were devout believers in God.
There are many things that I eventually have to give up to faith. When I get to the point where empirical evidence cannot answer my questions or carry me forward I have to come to that point when I can let go and trust in the answers without reason. This is hard, but it is more simple because of the proven experiences I have had in this exercise of faith. As I continued to walk and gain more experience each time letting go and stepping out in faith has proven worthwhile.
It reminds me a lot of learning to swim. It’s so hard when first learning to let go of the wall. It’s easy to lean on it and the uncertainty of the open water is terrifying. For me, that simple moment of leaning back and experiencing freedom and trust in floating is incredibly freeing and with each experience you learn to rest in the goodness that is floating in water. (and I’m not just embracing my strict love of floating).
Being able to trust in something real and trustworthy is incredibly freeing and that step of faith and real trustworthiness is something I have experienced and continue to experience in God’s truth and revelation.
ls that enough though? What happens when my experience goes weird and changes, does my faith? So my faith has to be based on a reasonable expression as well. I’ve found that strength in the tradition and doctrine of the church established over the years. Again I find myself leaning on those I have found trustworthy and it continues to work and I can depend on that.