Faith Or Reason?

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Critical Paper 3
Fides et Ratio, One or Both?

The Middle Ages saw a period in time that was deeply rooted in Christianity. Almost every aspect of life was monitered and ruled by the Church. This period in time also saw the emergence of men beginning to question whether the existence of God can be proved by faith , reason, or as Thomas Aquinas insists, by both faith and reason. There were differing opinions of this matter in both scholarly and religious circles. Faith is what all believers must have within them, it is a crucial part of man’s relationship with God. On the other hand, reason is a part of science and some believed that matters of The Divine should not be subjected to reason; there should not be a justification for God.

Thomas Aquinas was a teacher of the Dominican Order and he taught that most matters of The Divine can be proved by natural human reason, while “Others were strictly ‘of faith’ in that they could be grasped only through divine revelation.” This was a new view on the faith and reason argument contradictory to both Abelard with his belief that faith should be based on human reason, and the Bernard of Clairvaux who argued that one should only need faith.

Aquinas, in the Summa Theologiae, stated that, “Man should not seek to know what is above reason.” His argument was, in very simple terms, that men need reason to understand all of God’s truths. Yet there are certain truths that are beyond reason which men can only understand through Divine Revelation, or faith. And sometimes there might be certain aspects of faith that one day reason might have been able to prove but only a few men would know and understand this, so it is necessary that all men know this through Divine Revelation and faith.

In a personal point of view, I see this interpretation the same way that I see all explanantions of religious beliefs. Religion, in my definition, is a simple way to attain the answers to the mystery ...

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...roofs of God’s existence are basically the same in that they are all, essentially, examples of cause and effect. This cause and effect does not neccesarily prove there is a God but it does lead one to wonder what may be the highest cause, and for this there is no proof.

In the question of faith and reason it is ridiculous to claim that God or any matter of the Divine may be proven by reason. And although I agree with the Bernard of Clairvaux on this one matter I agree for a different reason. He leaves the only answer to be faith. I do not think there is any true way to prove religious matters. Though it may be easy at times to disprove them with the use of reason, it becomes difficult to do so with faith. It is impossible to use faith and reason in conjunction with eachother. Faith is a belief in something that does not have reason, so therefore if something can be proved with philosophical reasoning there would be no reason to have faith except for in the case where reason does not answer the question. This reasoning equation, in the end, does not add up.
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