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April 18, 2013 / compassioninpolitics

Are faith and reason opposites or compatible?

The Core Assumptions:
Your question supposes that the question of the Bible is a scientific one. To a great extent its not. If God is God, he controls the laws of nature. Also, the science, if its involved, is more like detective work. Third, its more a question of history than a question of science.

The Over-Application of Science is Anti-Rational:
Lets think about the inverse challenge–applying science everywhere. Thats not particularly rational. We know that in certain areas science lacks key insights and tools. Other methods of inquiry are more appropriate to help supplement. Why might someone thing scientific reductionism can solve all our problems given its failure to do so in the case of say international development (anthropologists & development practitioners are both in arms about this).

Just because the scientific method is easier or more efficient doesn’t make it the best model for determining the moral truths of the universe or helping us through issues like love and relationships. This core problem would be the same logic that brought Michael Jordan to believe that if he could succeed at basketball at the highest level–he could achieve at baseball at the highest level. While there is some overlap, there are distinctive skills involved.

Of Assumptions and Logical Fallacies:
The notion of rationality is question begging (itself not particularly a rational or logical model). Its based on a particular mode of rationality from a particular time in history. Its wedded to the product of materialism.

The question seems to be based on a false dichotomy between faith and reason. Human reasoning is more integrative. (see also the work on the Elephant and the Rider)

For more on this you can check out the work of Alvin Platinga. You can read Alvin Platinga’s articles here.
* I use the Michael Jordan as an example–as an illustration. I’m not honestly sure if he thought he could achieve at the highest level of baseball, but I’m pretty sure given the economics involved he probably throught that he could.

If you want to read more here about Christian apologetics or Christian philosophy feel free to dive in by clicking the links.

Update: I just watched this video–its visual nature helps explain a bit (the first 4:30):

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