Reason vs Faith : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Hello my Internet Church Family,

I read a thought provoking daily devotional for April 16, 2003 on The writer basically said that "reason" is confidence in man's ability vs " faith" which is confidence in God's ability. He said that "reason" is first couisin to worry.

We know that according to Hebrews 11 that "faith" is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. We also know that we can only please God with "faith".

The writer then went on to say that "reason" says " I can do it." but "faith" says that " With God all things are possible"Matthew 19:26. In another incidence "reason" says " Get yours or much as you can while it lasts" but " faith" says " My God will supply all your needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus" Philippians 4:19 Then "reason" says "There has to be a better way!" but "faith" says " I am the way, the truth, and the life." John14:6

After reading this devotional, I wonder if "faith" and "reason" are antithetical to one another. For on so many occasions, acts of faith defy sound reasoning. Conversely, sound reasoning prevents one from moving ahead on "faith". Yet we Christians are called to step out on an ever increasing "faith" daily in order to please God. Another writer has said that "faith" is belief in the promises of God. On the other hand, asking God for something in "faith" that He has not promised may lead to disappointment on the part of the Christian. I would love it if you seminarians would teach me some theology in regards to "faith". Thank you very much for your time.


-- Anonymous, April 18, 2003


Jazzman in the reformed tradition of which Methodism is a part "we are the priesthood of all believers" whether you know it or not you are preaching an Easter Sermon. Jazzman you too have been called by God to be his disciple and the fact that you are sharing this poignant message on Good Friday is a blessing to us all. How dark and sad it was for the disciples to withness their Lord and Savior being nailed to the cross and mocked. It was a long and painful journey for Jesus laying on the cross. Only a few days earlier the people believed he was the son of man and greeted him with palms. They had faith but in less than a week their faith was gone. As we as Christians prepare for the Easter celebration, I hope that on this Good Friday we will examine our own faith. How many times have we said we can't do something or the AME church is going down hill and our statements are based on logic and reason instead of the power of God which is faith. Last night at our Maundy Thursday service I talked about the "Love of Christ that he has for all of us, even for the one that betrayed him that he would willingly go to the cross." One of my members pointed out that Love is not logical for it is based on spiritual pricipals. We spent much time discussing what God's love means for us as Christians. We are a small church. But we do not serve a SMALL GOD! And because he is so big with his love for us we are able to do things that defy logic. Jazzman thank you for reminding us of the power of faith and my brother do not look to seminarians but keeping looking at the cross. Happy Easter and thank you so much for blessing me with your post.

-- Anonymous, April 18, 2003

Jazzman thanks for this thoughtful post. I look at it slightly differently. It seems to me that the ability to reason and the capacity to believe are from the same source, God. They are not intrinsicly antithetical. I think that God gives us a multiplicity of lenses through which we can glimpse His glory working in us and in the world; faith and reason are but two. When those lenses are directed towards Him we do pretty well, but when we point our faith or our reason towards things other than their source, we fail. But "when I think of the goodness of Jesus.." Our cognitive ability need not be divorced from our faith, nor is it necessarily inconsistent with the will of God. (Although in my case God only knows how often it has been). I think we need both faith and reason pointed towards God, but surely both can be pointed at other things. I'm sorry that I had to chime in here, but too often I've seen so many abandon reason under the guise of faith--parents that won't take their children for needed and proven medical treatment, under some notion that taking them to the doctor for measels etc. demonstrates weak faith. Not only do we need faith and reason, but wisdom to know which one is the appropriate lens at any given time. Be blessed.

-- Anonymous, April 18, 2003

Reason can lead to obedience and faith. In Isaiah 1:18, God entreats Israel to "Come let us reason together". Paul was a "reasoner" using his great intellect to convince others with many proofs the way of the Lord. Acts 24:24, 25 tells how he "And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come," with Felix and his wife, Felix being so moved he "trembled", and was almost persuaded. I believe that all faith comes through "reason" or "intellect", otherwise it is blind and no faith. John speaks of belief in Christ Jesus. One must use his/her mind or reason in order to believe. In the Roman letter chapter 7 concludes with Paul recognizing the weakness of the flesh saying, "With my mind I serve the law of God . . ." emotion is fun but to reach others for Christ we must reason with them about Christ.

BE Blessed

Pastor Paris

-- Anonymous, April 18, 2003

One of the greatest examples of how reasoning produces profound and unshakable faith the book entitled, "Mere Christianity" by C. S. Lewis.

Lewis was an atheist but his intellectual reasoning caused him to convert to Christianity. He then went on to spend his life writing and defending the faith. His writing and his intellectual reasoning also converted his future wife as well. It is also through reasoning that I find my faith has been made strong. And when I thus reason I can boldly sing:

Well might the sun in darkness hide And shut his glories in, When Christ, the mighty Maker died, For man the creature’s sin.

-- Anonymous, April 18, 2003

Reconciling reason and faith will always be difficult. Reason is based on the principles of logic and scientific philosophy. Both are often adversarial to faith. St. Paul states emphatically that we walk by faith not by sight (i.e. reason). Now while I find Kierkegaard's Christian Philosophy appealing and the Lewis classic Bob provides truly outstanding, many great thinkers rejected Christianity precisely because it failed the litmus test of internal consistency. Critical thinkers like Bertrand Russell, Gore Vidal Ayn Rand and all existentialist philosophy see absolutely no value in faith as an objective criterion for understanding human behavior. QED

-- Anonymous, April 18, 2003

Thanks everyone for your responses. I have found them truly thought provoking. I intend to ponder them more as I seek to learn more about how to wallk by faith.


-- Anonymous, April 21, 2003

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