Using the information from Albl, define both faith and reason. Include in your explanation the different relationships that can exist between faith and reason, the different ways of describing faith, and the role of reason in theology. Faith and reason can be described many different ways. Before I began reading and preparing for this class, I had believed that the definitions of both of these words were pretty simplistic. I did not expect to find so many different meanings on so many different levels.
To me, faith was believing in something that was intangible, and reason was gathering information and deciding what I believed to be true. I see now that both of these words have much more depth and mean so much more that I imagined. So far I have learned that the connection between faith and reason cannot be separated. The very first page of our Albl text shows that “faith needs reason in order to communicate beliefs clearly” and vice versa. I had not made this connection before. In order to understand faith, you need to be able to reason your thoughts and beliefs.
By the same token, you need to be able to have faith in your reasoning. We need to be confident in our beliefs for both faith and reason. I think Chesterton said it best, “reason itself is a matter of faith” (Albl 31). In order to have one, you must have the other. However, not everyone believes that these 2 concepts work so harmoniously with each other. In the rationalist tradition, they believe “faith and reason are contradictory, or at least exclude one another” (Albl 41). In rationalism and materialism they think of faith as “a harmless opinion about matters that are not real” (Albl 30).
Worldwide there are many different opinions of how faith and reason are viewed. They could not be more different through different cultures and traditions. However, like previously talked about the Catholic tradition “emphasizes the compatibility of faith and reason” (Albl 40). There are also many different ways that faith is described and viewed. Christianity does show faith through the rational structure of the universe. The Christian worldview believes that God was the ultimate source of all rationality and order which were created by both humans and the universe (Albl 31).
This rationale is used to show how the world follows the laws of nature which were set in place by God. Faith can also be displayed through the goodness of existence. People that have faith believe that our lives are something precious that were gifted to us. “The person of faith considers life and all existence a good gift” (Albl 33). This is not based on our lives alone. It is based on the premise that everything that God created is good. We should be thankful for all that He has created for us. Faith is also openness to wonder.
We are willing to question all that it around us and “to know that it is possible for it not to be at all” (Albl 33). Faith is also associated with God’s grace. Thomas Aquinas had much insight into this approach of describing faith. He also made many references of all parts of our lives being a gift from God and how He is still a part of our present existence. While faith can be described in many different ways, the role of reason plays a part in theology. To begin theology is “the reasonable, or rational, study of the divine” (Albl 13).
While some think of studying like an academic pastime, theology goes on to other levels. They do not just look at books and study what they read; they also interpret intuitively all aspects of religion. They also work on the transcendent realm and “with a broader and truer vision of reality than those who deny or ignore this realm” (Albl12). However, as the text describes that the biggest difference between theology and other studies is that theology “insists on the reasonable examination of all reality” (Albl 13).
Again while looking at theology and reason we see the familiar relationship of faith and reason. What I have found through writing this essay is that there truly is a very solid relationship between faith and reason. Even when looking at each individually the other word appears at some point in the description. Faith can be seen in so many aspects of Christianity and other religions. Each of these areas put a little different spin on what faith means, but I feel that the bottom line is that our lives and everything we are surrounded by are a ift from God. We are allowed to wonder about things around us, however, to have faith we need to accept them and be thankful for who we are and what we have. Reason is also crucial in the study of theology. Theologians use reason to study the transcendent realm and all aspects related to it. Finally, my original definitions were not to off basis. I do consider the belief to be the basis of faith and fact gathering to be the basis of reason. However, it is just that, the basis.