Essay about Faith and Reason

Essay about Faith and Reason

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Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and the University of Oxford’s Professor for Public Understanding of Science once said, “Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.” Professor Dawkins is an avid evangelist of reason and logic, and condemns any faith-based worldviews, seeing faith and reason as complete opposites. The conflict between the two is and everlasting debate, pondered by many great philosophers since the time of Aristotle and Plato. C.S. Lewis takes on the debate in his novel Till We Have Faces by expressing his views through the actions and thoughts of Orual and her two mentors, Bardia and the Fox, as well as her sister Psyche. Because of the insufficiency of the explanations of Orual’s two mentors, as well as the eventual unison of Psyche’s faith-based worldview and Orual’s reasonable skepticism, C.S. Lewis provides a conclusion to the debate between faith and reason by uniting the two in an unbreakable bond.
The Fox, a mentor for Orual who bases his life purely on reason, fails to provide Orual with insufficient explanations for the nature of the gods. His stubbornly logical point of view is expressed early in the novel, when he disregards the stories of the gods: “‘Not that this ever really happened,’ the Fox said in haste. ‘It’s only lies of poets, lies of poets, child. Not in accordance with nature’” (Lewis 8). Even this early on, an incompleteness in a purely logical viewpoint appears in the Fox, because these stories that he dismisses are the same stories that he studies and sometimes cherishes even more than his reason-based philosophy. Further insufficiencies in this logic bas...


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...syche” (208). The gods fulfill Lewis’ purpose by telling Orual that she is both Reason and Faith. She finally fulfills both sides of the debate.
Through the resolution of Orual’s conflict between a reason-based worldview and a faith-based worldview, C.S. Lewis challenges the notion that the two must remain eternally separate. By becoming Psyche, Orual is able to demonstrate to the reader the meaning of C.S. Lewis’ purpose through her example as a character. Lewis calls the reader to apply this to real life, forcing them to ponder their worldview and encouraging the reader to critically evaluate the balance of faith and reason in their own worldview.



Works Cited

Dawkins, Richard. "The Nullifidian." Dec. 1994. The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.
Lewis, C. S. Till We Have Faces. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1984. Print.

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