Saturday, September 30, 2006

Reasonable Faith

The Popes recent misadventures in his speech to the University of Regensburg prompted a little bit of thought on my side.

I have always looked at Reason as being to the exclusion of Faith but I am now thinking that maybe they are actually complimentary concepts, neither of which are able to determine Truth which is what we would all actually like to know (I think). I have been brought up to respect the reasoning of an argument and to take Positions as a result of Reason. However, I have found that as time goes by, Positions I have arrived at have not stood the test of time as new evidence has come to light which have contradicted my previous Positions, requiring a change of mind on my part. Equally, it could be as simple as a case of unsound reasoning which has led to a change of Position. Either way, the Truth appears to be more of a moving target rather than an absolute.

On the Faith side, which I define here for purposes of this discussion, as a Position that is taken that has no justification by Reason. Taking a Faith based position does not preclude the Position taken from being the Truth any more than just because a Position has been arrived at by Reason, it is therefore the Truth. So, in a nutshell, Faith takes over where Reason ends on any given Position one wants to take for a Reason based person. On the other hand, Reason can take over where Faith is no longer required for a Faith based person.

We all get to decide where we would like to position ourselves on this scale. Do we only accept Positions that can be arrived at by Reason or are we willing to accept Positions by Faith that, while unable to be justified by Reason are not contradicted by Reason. Lastly, are we the type of person that will accept Positions by Faith even in the face of contradictions by Reason.

I feel that often we are simply not mature enough to just accept that maybe, sometimes, we are just plain wrong in the Positions we take whether they be Reason of Faith based. Somehow we take Jesus' words "I am the way, the truth and the life" (Hope I haven't misquoted here) to be our own words and way too seriously which is why we get so tense when we come up against something which really challenges or eclipses a Position we have taken.

I find religious people quite amusing sometimes because they 'have the Truth' which means that they can't change their mind because then they didn't really have the Truth did they, they would have just had what they thought was the Truth. This is exactly the same as a scientist who steadfastly refuses to believe that his/her theories are or could be wrong.

A cool motto would be "Let truth take me where it will" but I fear that we are not anywhere mature enough to actually live this out. Maybe we just actually enjoy being obnoxious about the views we hold.

No comments: