Tuesday, December 14

Faith and Reason

Perhaps the tension we feel today between a life of faith and one of reason is a conceit we owe to the Enlightenment. Certainly it is my experience that the act of studying biblical text while an act requiring an exercise of faith, also fully engages ones reason.

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What I don't get is the intellectual elite sneering down their noses at theological inquiry. They fall into the error pointed out over 2000 years ago by a Greek named Socrates and recorded by his student Plato. Expertise in one field of study or endeavor be it a craft or a science, often leads one to believe he is wise in ways not studied and this is an error. As I have noted before, our fine educational system and technology affords us much, but wisdom in the ways of men, God, and nature is very much less than that of past ages. With google, the internet, and our great libraries at our disposal we count ourselves wiser and smarter than those upon whose shoulders we stand, when in fact more often than not the reverse is the case. Whence comes their intellectual superiority. One reason perhaps, is a failing of our educational culture, which allows a student of Engineering to opt out on studying Philosophy or Theology because "he won't need it" and at the same time, for the student of the "Arts", to disavow learning Mathematics and some "hard sciences".

Those Enlightenment intellectuals also persevere in wishing to keep an "open mind" in all things. N.T. Wright, in his book For All God's Worth quotes G.K. Chesterton who says that the purpose of an "open mind" is to be shut. It is no use to be open always, and seeking even after finding what it seeks. I think this concept has been forgotten (if ever learned) by the lost secular souls of our generation. When what you seek has been found, continuing your search is more than mere folly. The end is not an open mind. It is the starting point. What have you gained, if at your end, your mind has not yet shut on any truths you can hold dear.