Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Faith and Reason

Posted by Friar Rick

I suppose I should say "hello" first and perhaps introduce myself. I'm Rick, friar Rick. I'm not really a friar, though if I were it would likely be after the Augustinian order. Neither am I mendicant in subsistence, but rather am blessed of God through the fruits of my own labors. I also abstain from all forms of celibacy, being happily married and joyfully engaging in those benefits which the Lord has enjoined to that vocation.

The idea connoted, however, by the word "friar," specifically that of spending quality time seeking out the truth in matters of the holy, meditating on them, searching out their intricacies, and passing along what knowledge I attain to others, is an idea that appeals to me and that is why I have chosen my specific and peculiar appendage.

Tom has asked me to contribute to this blog on the subject of Christian apologetics. I have agreed with the caveat that I must be able to inform you that I am no professional, nor any great authority on this subject. I lean heavily on my teachers and they are numerous. They are the experts and I am but a poor reflection of them. However, I will endeavor to post their arguments in as clear and concise a manner as I can and do you the favor of translating them into layman's language. An argument does no one any good if it is either unclear because of technical terms or too uninteresting to endure. Thus I shall attempt to add a little spice to them as well. I will let you be the judge of whether I am successful or not. Enough of me, let's lay a brief foundation.

A favorite canard of the atheist against religion is that religious thought is the antithesis of reason. Here is a pertinent quotation:

"Christian theism must be rejected by any person with even a shred of respect for reason."--George H. Smith, Atheism: The Case Against God, (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1989), 51.
I cannot help but laugh at the blatant irony embodied in such a statement. The ignorance of Christian theology which this and a thousand other similar statements made by atheists demonstrates their total lack of having attempted to learn exactly what Christians believe and why they believe it. It is as if two thousand years of Christian theologians and apologists never existed or if they did none of their writings were ever published. Men of the cloth have been defending their faith against all other belief systems, whether they be pagan, atheistic, or otherwise, since the great Apostle to the Gentiles first took up his pen. And they have been doing so with reason.

So let me assure you now that the Christian faith is a reasonable faith. The God Who Is approaches us through the faculties of reason and offers us a reasonable system of belief for he, himself, is the author of reason and the only perfect practitioner of it.

Faith cannot be the antithesis of reason, for God is not a contradiction, nor does he allow the existence of such in his universe. Everything is ordered, everything is logical, everything is completely whole. God is truth. Therefore truth, being a reflection of him, is owned by him in every way. He never asks us to believe something unreasonable.

It will not be necessary for me to prove this assertion with arguments. I simply state it in the beginning and will endeavor to demonstrate it over time. I will engage atheistic thought on its chosen turf, staking the claim that this turf was never rightfully theirs to begin with, but God's. May God be my help.

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