Talk:Fall 2009 Philosophy Proseminar Faith & Reason Seminar

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Let's try using this talk page for pre-seminar discussion and sharing of additional resources. Alfino 17:12, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

General Observations

Traditional forms of the question vs. contemporary forms of the question

The "faith and reason" issue is often framed as a debate between people who think that the truths of faith can be known through rational methods of investigation and people who argued that that they cannot. If you believe that the truths of faith cannot be known through rational methods of investigation, you might still believe a range of views about the relationship of faith to reason. You might believe that faith is a distinct, possibly superior, form of knowledge. Or, you could believe that faith is actually antithetical to reason.

In recent years, however, a different approach to this traditional questions has come about (though there are ancient versions of this view). The rationality of faith can be investigate pragmatically or scientifically. William James is an example of the former approach. The latter approach is especially active in cognitive science and related fields. On this approach, we use reason (especially scientific reasoning) to try to understand faith as an object of study. No effort is made to determine the truth of claims about superior beings, miracles, or other objects of religious belief. Relgious belief and behavior is taken at face value and as the phenomenon requiring explanation. Alfino 17:25, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Fideism rejected by the Roman Catholic Church

[This section of the wikipedia "Fideism" article looked good. Might want to read the first part of the article as well. Alfino 17:12, 24 September 2009 (UTC)]

Some theologies strongly reject fideism. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, representing Roman Catholicism's great regard for Thomism, the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas, affirms that it is a doctrine of Roman Catholicism that God's existence can indeed be demonstrated by reason. Aquinas' rationalism has deep roots in Western Christianity; it goes back to St. Anselm of Canterbury's observation that the role of reason was to explain faith more fully: fides quaerens intellectum, "faith seeking understanding," is his formula.

The official position of Roman Catholicism is that while the existence of the one God can in fact be demonstrated by reason, men can nevertheless be deluded by their sinful natures to deny the claims of reason that demonstrate God's existence. The Anti-Modernist oath promulgated by Pope Pius X required Roman Catholics to affirm that:

:... God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (cf. Rom. 1:20), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated...

Similarly, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that:

:Though human reason is, strictly speaking, truly capable by its own natural power and light of attaining to a true and certain knowledge of the one personal God, who watches over and controls the world by his providence, and of the natural law written in our hearts by the Creator; yet there are many obstacles which prevent reason from the effective and fruitful use of this inborn faculty. For the truths that concern the relations between God and man wholly transcend the visible order of things, and, if they are translated into human action and influence it, they call for self-surrender and abnegation. The human mind, in its turn, is hampered in the attaining of such truths, not only by the impact of the senses and the imagination, but also by disordered appetites which are the consequences of original sin. So it happens that men in such matters easily persuade themselves that what they would not like to be true is false or at least doubtful.
     — Catechism of the Catholic Church, ss. 37.

Pope John Paul II's encyclical Fides et Ratio also affirms that God's existence is in fact demonstrable by reason, and that attempts to reason otherwise are the results of sin. In the encyclical, John Paul II warned against "a resurgence of fideism, which fails to recognize the importance of rational knowledge and philosophical discourse for the understanding of faith, indeed for the very possibility of belief in God."