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Faith vs. Reason in the Christian Worldview

Updated on June 25, 2011

Since the 19th century, the words “faith” and “reason” have been at war. There seems to be a great chasm between the two that disallows them to overlap in our culture, causing great tensions. In fact, neither faith nor reason should be discredited, but should equally be considered and unified. Still, some rely only on science while others rely only on faith. The prime minister of India in 1960, Jawaharlal Nehru, commented:

“It is science alone that can solve the problems of hunger and poverty, of insanitation and illiteracy, of superstition and deadening custom and tradition, of vast resources running to waste, of a rich country inhabited by starving people… The future belongs to science and to those who make friends with science."

Science alone?

Although choosing to live life through reason and science may seem straightforward when it focuses solely on study and research, it still takes an awful amount of faith to believe that the conclusions are absolute truth. If it's not called "faith", what is the power that scientists tap into when they formulate a hypothesis and expect their experiment to prove it? If not "faith", what do you call the belief that the Big Bang Theory is true, the idea that the universe was formed out of nothing? It takes faith to believe in something that has no tangible proof, whether it is ideas about God or scientific hypotheses.

God desires we use both faith and reason in our living. We are told to “eagerly desire spiritual gifts” (1 Corinthians 14:1, NIV), and among those gifts include wisdom, knowledge and faith (1 Corinthians 12:8-10). Although the Spirit may allot some with more faith than wisdom and knowledge or vice verse, James still reminds us of how they interlace: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:5-6, NIV). If we desire wisdom, we must go to God with faith that he will grant our request to fulfill our minds.

God created everything with a sense of order (1 Corinthians 14:33), and reveals his secrets and mysteries to men through what he has made (Romans 1:20) . It is an order that we can slowly discover as he allows his revelations to come into view. In this sense, religion and science can live in harmony. As Blaise Pascal said in his Pensees, “[we] come to know truth not only by reason, but still more so through our hearts”.


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    • Madeline Madison profile image

      Madeline Madison 6 years ago from Anywhere and Everywhere. Home-base in CT

      Indeed we do!

    • Porshadoxus profile image

      Porshadoxus 6 years ago from the straight and narrow way

      Well done. I'm currently reading The Soul of Science, which discusses the Christian and religious roots of scientific inquiry, all the way back to Plato. We need both knowledge and faith for solid Christianity.