How are faith and reason connected?

Faith and Reason -


Faith and reason

Discomfort with the total "rationalization"

Modern science and technology, the achievements of which have been celebrated for three centuries as evidence of the in principle unlimited possibility of a rational world design, have been suspected of inhumanity for several years. The growing discomfort with modernity is rooted in the allergic reactions to the all-encompassing "rationalization", which increasingly leads to a reification of the everyday world, even into interpersonal relationships. The instruments of this total expansion of reason are the market, the laboratory and This is why it is also called instrumental reason.Through the access of instrumental reason to the inner world and the self-image of people, people are increasingly becoming a commodity, an object of technical manipulation and bureaucratic surveillance.
A rejection of modernity is the common feature of the new return of religious subcultures in esoteric circles or fundamentalist religious movements. The followers of these religious subcultures evade a world whose complexity creates disorientation and feelings of powerlessness in them through the flight into unreasonable views, especially magical ways of thinking and methods.
The Christian faith also criticizes instrumental reason, but does not go into such an irrational religious subculture. The Christian faith claims for itself the position of the "logos" (cf. Jn 1,1), ie a "broad" and "creative" reason and draws its argumentative power from the coincidence of the biblical message with the concept of reason of the Greek philosophy of Platonic tradition At this meeting, reason is not transformed into unreason, but rather called to reason with reason, that is, to its own foundations.

"Wide" reason

Reason is therefore more than mere logic or the exploitation and manipulation of nature and man with the help of technology. Rather, it is any responsible way of dealing with the world. It has the whole wide world as its object, including its transcendence; thus not only includes technology, but also creativity and art. It is interrogative, comparative and dependent on the exchange with others. Your highest sensible ability is to put yourself in the shoes of others and empathize with them. The universality of reason does not consist in all common rational statements, but in the common ability to interact with one another with attention to the experience and to try to protect oneself from deceptions and thus gradually, through "trial and error" of the To approximate reality and truth Whoever appeals to reason is not appealing to views already shared by everyone, but is ready to submit his view to public scrutiny, to convince with reasons and to respond to objections.

This process of the self-enlightenment of reason about its actual "breadth" is initiated above all by the historical coincidence of the biblical message with Greek philosophy. Such an "enlightenment" also takes place with repercussions on faith. Where faith does not engage in reason, argumentation or accountability, there religious beliefs tend to enforce their interests by force. The history of religion proves to our day that religiously motivated violence thrives on the ground of dull irrationalisms.

According to the Christian understanding, faith is the trust given in the self-communication of God in his word, which is passed on in interpersonal language. The content of this message is the loving attention to human beings, which can neither be justified with reason nor classified in a "frame of reason". Reason has as its object that which is not God, namely the entire world and reality recognize reason that although it differs completely from God, but in its difference points completely beyond itself. This complete difference from ..., with complete reference beyond itself, is the reasonable and appropriate concept of creatureliness, who does not make God part of a reasonable chain of reasons, but also does not split off dualistically from the world. The world as creation cannot yet reasonably be seen to be secure in the love of God. Faith is required for this knowledge and certainty.

On the basis of such considerations, faith and reason differ not only in the mode of knowledge but also in the object; But in this way they are placed in a "brotherly and sisterly" relationship. Because faith is about the fact that precisely the world that is accessible to reason is at the same time the world loved by God. But because the latter cannot be read in the world, it is recognized in faith and must be said to the world. In this sense, "faith comes from hearing" (Rom 10:17).

Reason and Faith: "unmixed and unseparated"

Nothing can be believed that can be traced back to reason. Without this first criterion, belief would not be belief. The Christian message understands faith as being filled with the Holy Spirit, as the (= evident) acceptance into the love which, according to the Christian message, exists between the Father and the Son from eternity in the "Word of God" to the world instead of believing something whose truth or untruth could be recognized with mere reason would be superstition. For example, the astronomical question of whether the earth revolves around the sun or the sun revolves around the earth cannot be involved be decided by faith.

Reason has its own rules, but nothing can be believed that contradicts these rules. This is what the use of autonomous reason means and is to be distinguished from the autonomous use of reason, i.e. the use of reason as it sees fit. Without this second criterion, the Christian faith could not be justified before reason. Reason objections to belief must be answered in the field of reason by arguments of reason. Because of these two criteria, faith and reason belong together "unmixed", but also "unseparated". They differ and relate to one another and in this way can be helpful for the mutual understanding of religions and cultures in the first place.

Author (s): Eckhard Türk