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In this response, I will go over the debate between faith and reason. I will first
have to define each of these notions clearly. After that I will do an overview of the
debate approaching the argument from multiple directions, ranging from not
compatible to compatible to throwing faith out the window and showing that reason
is sufficient enough to provide the answers to questions about the meaning and
purpose of human existence. From viewing the different position, I will take my
stand on this debate and present my reasonings behind where I stand.
What is faith? Faith is a very broad concept but generally is referred to as
trust (Bishop, 2010). The term is a bit changed when referring to religious faith, so
it is to trust in God. Faith can also be referred to as hope or to have a belief in a
certain outcome. The etymology of the word to date from 1200 50 ends to fidere,
which means to trust. According to Immanuel Kant, he defines faith as having a
rational attitude towards a potential object of knowledge which arises when we are
subjectively certain it is true even though we are unable to gain theoretical or
objective certainty.
Reason can be defined as having the ability to think, understand and draw
conclusions in an abstract way, as in human thinking. The word reason tends to
overlap with the rationality. The etymology of the word leads to the Latin and French
words of logos, ratio, and raison. There is logos which means logical but originally
meant a ground. Which means a source of proof or evidence that someone can
make a statement is be true about. There is also ratio which mean rationality which
I feel is the true definition is reason as reason should be based on rationally and
logical thinking.
Introduction to Debate:
Moving on to the debate between the two notions of faith and reason. There
are many views that says that the two are compatible while there are just as many
that say they are not compatible. There are others who say that only one of needed
over the other. We shall discuss all of these arguments as they all have some sort of
backing for their claims. For example, there is Soren Kierkegaard, who prioritizes
faith even to the point that it becomes positively irrational (IEP).
In the Encyclical Letter issued by Pope John Paul II, on Fides et Ratio, which
mean faith and reason, he said that the Catholic Church has taught that faith and
reason can and must work together. As reason helps understand faith better. A
sense of compatibility between the two is that one of incomplete without the other.
For example, in Fides et Ratio previously mentioned argues that reason is
incomplete without faith and faith tries to seek out reason. Looking at it from this
point of view, it seems that faith and reason can be looked as two objects in an area
that are needed to be together. This would lead to having reason being incomplete
and thus incomplete without faith. This argument of faith and reason depending on
one another shows that there is a strong sense of compatibility between the two.

Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the
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
33:18; Ps 27:8-9; 63:2-3; Jn 14:8; 1 Jn 3:2).
The quote above is by Pope John Paul II, Fides Et Ratio: On the Relationship
between Faith and Reason: Encyclical Letter of John Paul II. This quote states that
faith and reason are two wings that are relying on the other in order to find the
ultimate truth about themselves.
Now lets talk about the other side of the debate stating that faith and reason
are not compatible. According to Hume and Kierkegaard, faith is opposed to reason
and is firmly in the realm of the irrational. Additionally, there are other like John
Calvin that say it is transrational because religious faith is over and above reason
and is not to be subject to criteria generally used by reasoning beings. To use
reason on matters of faith is not only inappropriate but irreverent and faithless.
Another view on the debate between faith and reason is rationalism, which is that
truth should be determined by reason and factual analysis, rather than faith,
dogma, tradition or religious teaching.
There are also the argument of fideism which presents the argument that
faith is necessary, and that beliefs may be held without evidence or reason, or even
in conflict with evidence and reason. However, there are two different groups that
fall into this category. There are the religious thinkers like Calvin, they hold that faith
is not so much against reason but rather that it is above reason. There other group
of fideism is held by Kierkegaard and his view is that faith and reason are not
compatible because faith requires that we take a leap. On that view, Kierkegaard
views faith and reason as logically inconsistent notions. So we have the group like
Calvin who are transrational fideists, who believe that faith is above reason and the
second group which follow in the views of Kierkegaard known as the anti-rational
fideists, who suggest that faith is opposing to or against reason.
My Views:
My view on the debate of faith and reason ends up on having faith and reason
are not compatible. I have to agree with the viewpoints of fideism shown by Calvin
and Kierkegaard. The first reason is that both the notions of faith and reason are
pretty different to me. Faith is putting trust into something which has no proof, while
reason requires providing proofs such as math and science. To fully believe in God,
you have to abandon reason and take a leap of faith which further proves to me that
these notions cannot be compatible. Another reason behind why I take this stance
on the debate is because faith is the irrational belief in things that are not observed
aspects of reality. There is nothing reasonable about faith. I believe I am taking a
stand more with Kierkegaards views of fideism rather than Calvins.

In conclusion, there are many views to seeing the relationship between faith
and reason. There is compatibility, non-compatibility through fideism and
rationalism. By looking at the argument from both standpoints in the debate,
defining both the notions of faith and reason. You have choose what side of the
argument you can be on, but as for myself, I have chosen that faith and reason are
not compatible through the readings and views of Kierkegaard stating that faith is
opposing to or against reason.

Bishop, J. (2010, June 23). Faith. Retrieved March 3, 2015, from
Geisler, N.L., Reasons for Faith: Making a Case for the Christian Faith, 2007,
Crossway Books
Helm, P. (1997). Faith and Understanding. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B.
Eerdmans Publishing Company.
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (n.d.). Retrieved March 3, 2015, from
Johnson, Philip, Science and Scientific Naturalism in the Evolution Controversy.
Unpublished manuscript.
Tavani, H. (n.d.). Faith and Reason. Retrieved March 3, 2015, from