There has always been something of an uneasy relationship between Faith and Reason (or Rationality). There are those that see the two as being the antithesis of each other, that the essence of faith is inherently irrational. This stems for the view that if a position can be backed-up rationally then faith is superfluous. Conversely if faith is required to believe a certain proposition then it is because it can not be shown to be true using reason.

However there have long been those who seek to bolster faith by appeal to reason, because to believe things with out reason, they feel, is to be defenseless against foolishness. While I can not disagree with this, it does seem to go against the purpose of faith in the first place. It is also open to abuse by a tendency of those applying reason to faith to start with the conclusion and work backwards to rationalise it.

Humans are by nature rational beings and for the vast majority of us believing things without evidence is difficult. This being said however, it must be considered that there are many levels of evidence that people may choose to accept. For some an anecdote from a trusted friend is sufficient to accept almost any proposal. It may be argued that we are conditioned to place a great deal of weight on this type of evidence, after all, for most of our history the concept of experimental verification was unheard of.

Those of us who have a higher standard of evidence have to remember that this is so and not judge too harshly our fellow beings. This begs the question though, what level of evidence is required and should be required for various claims? Well, that’s another topic.

Resources:

http://www.skepdic.com/faith.html

http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/07-08-01.html -Review of Frank Tipler’s “The Physics of Christianity”

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Religion/Arguments_God_ATCAG.html -Heavy going but fascinating