Faith and reason catholic perspective

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faith and reason catholic perspective

Fides et Ratio: On the Relationship Between Faith and Reason by John Paul II

I found this to be a splendid example of the similarity between science and religion: both rest on faith statements and proceed by logical analysis. If you think science does not rest on faith statements, consider Humes Problem of Induction and Popperian Falsification.

Five stars! (I read a .pdf version.)

p. 62. The Church remains profoundly convinced that faith and reason “mutually support each other”; 122 each influences the other, as they offer to each other a purifying critique and a stimulus to pursue the search for deeper understanding.

p. 22. It is the one and the same God who establishes and guarantees the intelligibility and reasonableness of the natural order of things upon which scientists confidently depend,29 and who reveals himself as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Science and religion cannot be in conflict.
p. 50. The content of Revelation can never debase the discoveries and legitimate autonomy of reason.

p. 58. To believe it possible to know a universally valid truth is in no way to encourage intolerance; on the contrary, it is the essential condition for sincere and authentic dialogue between persons.

There is reading list in the last paragraph on p. 46.

p. 2. 3. Men and women have at their disposal an array of resources for generating greater knowledge of truth so that their lives may be ever more human. Among these is philosophy, which is directly concerned with asking the question of lifes meaning and sketching an answer to it.

p. 4. Sundered from that truth, individuals are at the mercy of caprice, and their state as person ends up being judged by pragmatic criteria based essentially upon experimental data, in the mistaken belief that technology must dominate all.

p. 6. This knowledge expresses a truth based upon the very fact of God who reveals himself, a truth which is most certain, since God neither deceives nor wishes to deceive.6

p. 8. For the People of God, therefore, history becomes a path to be followed to the end, so that by the unceasing action of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 16:13) the contents of revealed truth may find their full expression.

p. 8. the Eternal enters time

p. 9. The Council teaches that “the obedience of faith must be given to God who reveals himself”.14 This brief but dense statement points to a fundamental truth of Christianity. Faith is said first to be an obedient response to God.

p. 9. It is not just that freedom is part of the act of faith: it is absolutely required.

p. 11. These considerations prompt a first conclusion: the truth made known to us by Revelation is neither the product nor the consummation of an argument devised by human reason. It appears instead as something gratuitous, which itself stirs thought and seeks acceptance as an expression of love.

p. 14. If human beings with their intelligence fail to recognize God as Creator of all, it is not because they lack the means to do so, but because their free will and their sinfulness place an impediment in the way. . . . . “All mans steps are ordered by the Lord: how then can man understand his own ways?” (Prov 20:24).

p. 16. The crucified Son of God is the historic event upon which every attempt of the mind to construct an adequate explanation of the meaning of existence upon merely human argumentation comes to grief.

the theory that changes in the earths crust during geological history have resulted from the action of continuous and uniform processes.

I would have to say that I am an extreme uniformitarian. It is to geological processes which appear to be operating at they have since creation, but also cosmological, evolutionary, etc. processes. Although this change is continuous, I do not see evidence that human nature has changed over the past 2,000 years.

Our earlier sources are First Thessalonians (c. 50 AD), Galatians (c. 53), First Corinthians (c. 53–54). Unless I believe there is Divine Inspiration, I would not credit sources today written, about events that took place fifteen to twenty years ago, by someone who did not witness them.

Exacerbating my challenge here, still in the absence of Divine Inspiration, our earliest (partial) copy of these sources is Papyrus 46 thought to have been made between 175 CE and 225 CE.

Beating my Doubting Thomas routine to death, how could Paul know, with any confidence, whom it was he met on the road to Damascus? There is no evidence he met Christ during his lifetime. There were no pictures.

Faith based on Divine Inspiration stands on its own. The Resurrection as a historical event . . . . .

p. 17. The Apostle accentuates a truth which the Church has always treasured: in the far reaches of the human heart there is a seed of desire and nostalgia for God.

True! Although I would have put it more that evolutionary psychology has established an adaptive value to religious belief.

p. 19. One may define the human being, therefore, as the one who seeks the truth.

By that measure is President Trump even human?

p. 21. This means that the human being—the one who seeks the truth—is also the one who lives by belief.

See Thomas Reids principal of credulity.

p. 30. In short, what for Patristic and Medieval thought was in both theory and practice a profound unity, producing knowledge capable of reaching the highest forms of speculation, was destroyed by systems which espoused the cause of rational knowledge sundered from faith and meant to take the place of faith.

p. 31. But this does not mean that the link between faith and reason as it now stands does not need to be carefully examined, because each without the other is impoverished and enfeebled. . . . . It is an illusion to think that faith, tied to weak reasoning, might be more penetrating; on the contrary, faith then runs the grave risk of withering into myth or superstition.

p. 33. On the contrary, the Magisteriums interventions are intended above all to prompt, promote and encourage philosophical enquiry.

p. 38. Scripture, therefore, is not the Churchs sole point of reference. The “supreme rule of her faith” 75 derives from the unity which the Spirit has created between Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church in a reciprocity which means that none of the three can survive without the others.76

p. 39. I cannot fail to note with surprise and displeasure that this lack of interest in the study of philosophy is shared by not a few theologians.

p. 42. Although faith, a gift of God, is not based on reason, it can certainly not dispense with it.

p. 44. Insofar as cultures appeal to the values of older traditions, they point— implicitly but authentically—to the manifestation of God in nature, as we saw earlier in considering the Wisdom literature and the teaching of Saint Paul.

p. 45. To reject this heritage would be to deny the providential plan of God who guides his Church down the paths of time and history.

p. 46. Theologys source and starting-point must always be the word of God revealed in history, while its final goal will be an understanding of that word which increases with each passing generation.

p. 49. 78. It should be clear in the light of these reflections why the Magisterium has repeatedly acclaimed the merits of Saint Thomas thought and made him the guide and model for theological studies.

p. 50. And again: “If there is no assent, there is no faith, for without assent one does not really believe”.96

p. 52. This applies equally to the judgements of moral conscience, which Sacred Scripture considers capable of being objectively true. 101

The law of Nature is a law installed by Nature in all living things. -- The Codes of Justinian.

p. 54. The segmentation of knowledge, with its splintered approach to truth and consequent fragmentation of meaning, keeps people today from coming to an interior unity.

p. 55. The first goes by the name of eclecticism, by which is meant the approach of those who, in research, teaching and argumentation, even in theology, tend to use individual ideas drawn from different philosophies, without concern for their internal coherence, their place within a system or their historical context.

p. 55. 87. Eclecticism is an error of method, but lying hidden within it can also be the claims of historicism. To understand a doctrine from the past correctly, it is necessary to set it within its proper historical and cultural context.

p. 56. 88. Another threat to be reckoned with is scientism.

p. 56. 89. No less dangerous is pragmatism, an attitude of mind which, in making its choices, precludes theoretical considerations or judgements based on ethical principles.

p. 57. 90. The positions we have examined lead in turn to a more general conception which appears today as the common framework of many philosophies which have rejected the meaningfulness of being. I am referring to the nihilist interpretation, which is at once the denial of all foundations and the negation of all objective truth. . . . . Truth and freedom either go together hand in hand or together they perish in misery. 106

p. 61. In order to fulfill its mission, moral theology must turn to a philosophical ethics which looks to the truth of the good, to an ethics which is neither subjectivist nor utilitarian. Such an ethics implies and presupposes a philosophical anthropology and a metaphysics of the good.

p. 64. Such a ground for understanding and dialogue is all the more vital nowadays, since the most pressing issues facing humanity—ecology, peace and the co-existence of different races and cultures, for instance—may possibly find a solution if there is a clear and honest collaboration between Christians and the followers of other religions and all those who, while not sharing a religious belief, have at heart the renewal of humanity.

p. 64. The intimate bond between theological and philosophical wisdom is one of the Christian traditions most distinctive treasures in the exploration of revealed truth.
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Angela Watkins Great Catholic Thinkers- faith and

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Catholic Faith and Reason. Mary: Our Mother in the Order of Grace. Prayers Before and After Holy Communion. Agustine Explains Genesis. Gregory the Great A.

Yet another study confirms the hemorrhaging taking place inside the Church in the West. People are leaving the Faith in droves. A good many are leaving for agnosticism, atheism, or the often used, nones category. Much of what drives these individuals to leave en masse is our failure to explain coherently and concisely the relationship between faith and reason in the face of widespread criticism in the culture. The Western world is dominated by secular education where children are taught principles, ideas, and a worldview that is often hostile to the Catholic Faith. The West has been engaged in a battle between faith and reason for the last years. First, far too many splitting from the Catholic Church abandoned reason altogether believing it to be a broken ability in Fallen men.

Traditionally, faith and reason have each been considered to be sources of justification for religious belief. Because both can purportedly serve this same epistemic function, it has been a matter of much interest to philosophers and theologians how the two are related and thus how the rational agent should treat claims derived from either source. Some have held that there can be no conflict between the two—that reason properly employed and faith properly understood will never produce contradictory or competing claims—whereas others have maintained that faith and reason can or even must be in genuine contention over certain propositions or methodologies. Those who have taken the latter view disagree as to whether faith or reason ought to prevail when the two are in conflict. Other thinkers have theorized that faith and reason each govern their own separate domains, such that cases of apparent conflict are resolved on the side of faith when the claim in question is, say, a religious or theological claim, but resolved on the side of reason when the disputed claim is, for example, empirical or logical.


Tweets by CACatholicConf. It was written to support and defend traditional Christian philosophy. His Holiness believed that faith and reason together allow people to know and love God. There is a long tradition of philosophy in human history stretching back to the ancients. This fact has led all people to ponder their existence and purpose. The Church also has a long history of participating in the realm of philosophy since discovering the ultimate truth — Jesus Christ.

Jump to navigation. There are advantages in beginning with the Catholic position. For one thing, it has been defined with care and precision by the doctors of the church. No similar statement is possible for Protestantism, since there are more than two hundred Protestant sects, each varying slightly in doctrine and attitude from its neighbours. Perhaps also, in beginning with Catholicism, we may profit from the renewed and widespread interest in it aroused by the World Council of the sixties. That Council fastened the eyes of mankind on the Roman church—its ancient creed, its impressive ritual, its incomparable history. The waves of interest then generated have still not died wholly away.

Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves cf. Ex ; Ps ; ; Jn ; 1 Jn In both East and West, we may trace a journey which has led humanity down the centuries to meet and engage truth more and more deeply. It is a journey which has unfolded—as it must—within the horizon of personal self-consciousness: the more human beings know reality and the world, the more they know themselves in their uniqueness, with the question of the meaning of things and of their very existence becoming ever more pressing. This is why all that is the object of our knowledge becomes a part of our life. Moreover, a cursory glance at ancient history shows clearly how in different parts of the world, with their different cultures, there arise at the same time the fundamental questions which pervade human life: Who am I?

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