Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ontology: Faith vs Reason

Yesterday and Monday I quoted the Catholic Encyclopedia (CE) on the subject of soul. Catholics insist the soul is given to man by "Supernatural Order, by God, for the purpose of raising the rational creature above its native sphere to a God-like life and destiny."
Today, that same quote can be used as a refutation of the denial that faith negates reason.

"Some have held that there can be no conflict between the two—that reason properly employed and faith properly understood will never produce contradictory or competing claims—whereas others have maintained that faith and reason can (or even must) be in genuine contention over certain propositions or methodologies."

"In the Old Testament, the Hebrew [word for faith] means essentially steadfastness, [ ] hence it comes to mean faithfulness, whether of God towards man or of man towards God. It would, however, be illogical to conclude that the word cannot, and does not, mean belief or faith in the Old Testament for it is clear that we cannot put trust in a person's promises without previously assenting to or believing in that person's claim to such confidence. Hence even if it could be proved that the Hebrew does not in itself contain the notion of belief, it must necessarily presuppose it." (CE) [italics added]

The 6th century theologian (and government leader) Boethius made the dictum, "Insofar as is possible, join faith to reason." This was because Christianity had been running almost entirely on faith, in the belief in miracles as the basis for their religion. The Virgin Birth and the Ressurection were the two upon which Christianity was built; but there were those from the Old Testament which could not be disbelieved, assented to as in confidence that revealed revelations deserved their faith.

He knew this unconditional faith could not last much longer. Joining them would seem to defy the notion that one negates the other. Modern Christianity is build on that dictum, in the attempt to separate reasoned theology from unsubstantiated faith.

"Logic became important in the Middle Ages because it provided the epistemological foundation of scholasticism: 'Through reason and the powerful tool of Aristotelian logic, men could resolve the seeming contradictions between faith and reason, Christian truth and Greek science, and attain insights into the nature of the world, of man and of God.' (Overfield 1984, p. ix)"

But the contrary is true; the unconditional faith, necessarily presupposing unsubstantiated belief, negates the substantiations made by reason. The attempt to join faith to reason is the attempt to short-circuit the faculty of mind that automatically identifies, ontologically, the material provided by man’s senses.

This automatic identification is not fool-proof-perfect. It is, after all, the result of non-omniscient thought. But to the degree that such thought bears the characteristics and integrity of non-contradictory logic, it is substantiated enough to be separable from faith.

Faith in supernatural deities and acts begins as assention to miracles and to the claims of the recipients of such miracles. As assention to these things faith is faith in the superiority of others begining with a God substantiated only by the word of others that miracles have occured.

"Faith and reason cannot be joined in the extreme because they are diametrically antithetical. No form of creationism can argue for faith without using the principles of deductive reasoning. Such reasoning can only go so far in explaining faith and the moral principle of God; then it comes up short because faith and reason can be joined only as far as is possible, and that possibility comes up short. The argument for faith always relies, in the end, on the belief in faith to explain faith."

What is "the purpose of raising the rational creature above its native sphere to a God-like life and destiny," if not a claim to some form of gaining knowledge that is above reason?

And what is this form of knowledge that is greater than reason, if not the antithesis of reason, i.e., of faith in the reality of omniscient, omnipotent intelligence, for the purpose of somehow being raised above reason, and this in order to submit one's self to the superiority of others.

The Free Assemblage of Metaphysical Naturalists is the SM of
The Free Assemblage of Metaphysical Naturalists LLC.
The Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism TM,
The Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism Blogger TM, and
Academy of Metaphysical Naturalism Blogger Extra TM are the educational arms of the LLC and are:

© 2008 by Curtis Edward Clark and Naturalist Academy Publishing ®

blog comments powered by Disqus