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Midterm Exam

Approaches to God 267

1) What do Luther, Aquinas, Augustine, Decartes, and Kierkeguard hold about the relationship between faith and reason?

All of these great philosophers had varying views on the relationship between faith and reason. Martin Luther was a key historical figure and a key historical figure of his time. He rose to fame for his 95 thesis and is credited with bringing about the Protestant Reformation. Luther was a feidest- everything opens to faith with no regard to reason. He believed people were saved “by faith alone”.

St Thomas Aquinas did not have the same views as Luther. He was a mitigated rationalist who believed in both faith and reason. Aquinas argued that reason preceded faith. St Thomas, a mendicant fryer, was a believer in the unity of truth.

St Augustine of Hippo, a well respected, top-notch philosopher was one of the greatest thinkers of his time. The great Augustine was also a mitigated rationalist. Unlike Aquinas, Augustine believed faith preceded reason. He took ancient thought and applied it to the bible. He believed man was good, but not perfect. Augustine’s theory that faith precedes reason can be best summed up by citing his famous quote, “I believe in order that I may understand”. St Augustine was a giant in philosophy and continues to be studied today.

Decartes, who invented the Cartesian Plain, wanted to make philosophy as precise as his beloved mathematics. He often related philosophy to the principles of geometry and fineness. Decartes operated out of the theory of doubt, he doubted everything. However he did not doubt the fact that he could think. He felt that he could not think without existing. Hence he came up with the notion “I think therefore I am.” Decartes ultimately pulled faith away from reason and completely separated their relationship.

Kierkeguard was the father of modern existentialism. He stresses the individual as an existentialist he created three levels. The first level was an aesthetic level, second was an ethical, in which one leads a good life, and the third and highest level was called the “leap of faith”, the religious level.

2) Is natural theology a science? Why or why not?

When determining whether or not natural theology is a science or not, we encounter many different opinions. Some may argue yes, while others argue no. The definition of Philosophy comes into play here. Philosophy- the science which studies all things in their ultimate causes by the light of natural reason.

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