Faith In Reason, or Reason In Faith?

Reagan Parker, Contributor

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Every student must go through science courses throughout his schooling. The word “science” is rooted in the Latin word “scio” which means “to know”, or in the noun, “scientia”, which is “knowledge”. We, for the most part, use the word science to represent the branch of our studies that has to do with chemistry, studying chemicals and particles, or biology, which studies life, and within these subcategories we find facts, absolute knowledge. Much of what has been concluded when it comes to science has been derived from the trusted senses of men, i.e. taste, touch, smell, sight, hearing. In the 17th century, the scientific method was embraced, for the most part inspired by Francis Bacon. The scientific method is a process of empirical, inductive reasoning, using human senses and knowledge, to make a conclusion. The steps consist of: 1.Make an observation. 2. Ask a question. 3.Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation. 4. Make a prediction based on the hypothesis. 5. Test the prediction. 6. Iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.

So this is how we learn and know, and how the very class of “science” exists. Everything is fine under this until we hit the giant wall, which we didn’t see until we crashed head-first into it: the Big Bang Theory and the Evolution Theory of Darwin. Science, Reason, and human senses have gotten us so far, but the colossal, world-wide split between faith and science took its greatest leap as the enlightenment took off, mostly in the 18th century. So how does one take this? Does “science”, or reason, go first, or does the faith of religion reign supreme? Every religion on the face of this earth deals with the question of creation and human origin, and from this conclusion, all other personal philosophy branches off, such as human purpose, or the very existence of God. Now, remember that truth is never subjective, but our perspectives on the truth differ, therefore, the debate rises on whether everything can be learned from human experience, or if one must take that “leap of faith”.

In 1775, one of the world’s most disastrous earthquakes hit Lisbon, killing about 75,000 people. Voltaire, one of the most highly esteemed men of the French enlightenment, wrote a poem on the matter, where he responds to those who say “All is well”, because it was God’s will that they should be punished by means of this earthquake. He continues to question why God would allow such a thing to happen to such a people, and even so far as to whether God exists. Immanuel Kant, probably the most influential man in the German enlightenment, argued for reason above all faith, and that God’s only purpose is to cultivate morality in the people of this world. The ancient philosopher and theologian, Thomas Aquinas, would have differed much, arguing that “Philosophical reasoning is sufficient by itself, without faith or revelation, to demonstrate that God exists”( He pursues in “From the Nature of the Universe”, that God exists, using argument of efficient cause, design of all things, etc. Some philosophers argue that reason leads to the conclusion that no God exits, while others say that it absolutely leads to the conclusion of a creator. Therefore, what human reason can be deemed as correct?

Is it possible for reason to answer the question of whether God exists, and, what’s more, all the truth of the universe? Or is faith the only way to make any conclusion, and, if that is the case, how can one know that their faith is the right faith? Consider these things, for the entirety of the philosophy which you conclude rests on them.

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Reagan Parker, Contributor

I am Reagan Parker, a junior here at Ben Franklin. I enjoy singing and am in Charged Harmonies, and I also play on the varsity basketball team. I play...

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Faith In Reason, or Reason In Faith?