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Faith's Logical Absurdity on Foundational Reason

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Kaleb Parrent


Philosophy of Religion 3600


Faith's Logical Absurdity on Foundational Reason

Reason and faith cannot be perceived as contrasting ideals, especially in the religious sense. Reason can be used in different senses, sometimes referring to the elements of methodological inquiry. It can also be understood as providing sound evidence that validates the truth of some proposition, or as a term for rational intellectual thinking. The word faith is most definitely an ambiguous term, often used to refer to as a sense of trust for someone or something other than the single individual. Living "faithfully" in the religious realm, can be defined as one who lives accordingly to the will of a higher power or of "God" due to an indirect or direct revelation received. Reason leads to justification through demonstrability of the empirical, while faith requires an assertion of belief in justification outside of the empirical. Reasoning would not be sound if the proper methods of rationality were not practiced in the attempt to reveal the proposition of truth, just as an act of religious faith would not be sound if proper methods of reasoning were not practiced to establish valid claims of credibility. Religious faith requires sound reasoning and rationality to justify its original ambitions, for rationality establishes a firm foundation of logical reasoning that allows one to take a leap of religious faith confidently and assuredly.

Ancient Greek philosophers relied upon reason and logical thinking to achieve knowledge of the truth, while religious thinkers have placed a heavy emphasis on revelation through a higher being. Conflict arose between early Christian followers and the Greek philosophical emphasis on using deductive reasoning and logic to examine scripture. Yet, as Gary Kessler explains in "Do Faith and Reason Conflict?", that "St. John, uses an important Greek philosophical notion, the logos to explain who Christ was and is," and that "many early Christian theologians, following John's lead, found many Greek philosophical concepts useful in defending and defining the central doctrines of Christianity" (Kessler, 429). Modern science has also caused strife between rationality and faith-based religions, many "argued that science demands that nothing be believed until there is sufficient evidence for it. Because there is not sufficient evidence for religious beliefs (such as the belief that God exists), we should withhold assent until such evidence is available" (Kessler, 429). Yet, there are many religions in the world today encourage rational investigation of their belief system in order to explain the phenomenon of religious experience. With the example of Christianity, reasoning through methodological inquiry is important to adherers in establishing the credibility of Jesus's historical accuracy. The content of the scriptures in the New Testament call for intellectual rationality in order to provide its adherers with an adequate sense of the historical importance of the life of Jesus Christ that the scripture entails. Suppose that through the use of advanced modern technology, scientist accurately determined that Jesus was found to have never had been crucified, and DNA test revealed that he had 4 wives, 16 children and died at the age of 76 in the Galilean area. Sound reasoning and rationality would obviously lead any logical person, whether a previous adherer to Christianity or not, to conclude that the scriptures of the New Testament are now grossly contradictory, inaccurate and false. This would not only discredit the historical accuracy of Jesus, but more importantly the divinity claims and spiritual accuracy of the New Testament teachings. The previous revelations through faith that previous adherers of Christianity had experienced would then have to be analyzed through sound reasoning to formulate the next necessary steps of action. This hypothetical example shows the necessity of rational inquisition of religious material before the act of religious faith takes place. Measuring the empirical evidence of religious material, analyzing the credibility of the authors/composers of the religious doctrine, and investigating claimed contradictions of the religious doctrine is necessary methodical steps of reasoning to establish faith of a religion.

Faith is such a crucial component of many religious doctrines because of the different dimensions of religion that can't be objectively empirically measured by means of deductive reasoning. Gary Kessler gives a great illustration of this point in "Do Faith and Reason Conflict", stating, "Take the existence of



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