Thursday, September 03, 2009

Intertwined Faith and Reason


Whoever has followed the speeches and homilies of Pope Benedict even to a limited extent is aware that one of his major themes is the harmony of faith and reason—and not just their harmony, but the dependence of human reason on the creative divine Reason or Logos. For Pope Benedict, it is not merely the case that faith does not contradict reason, as if the two are compatible partners on an equal footing. Human reason is a finite and fallible light that derives from the prior, all-encompassing light of God, who is also the font of life, love, freedom, and wisdom. Therefore men can be truly reasonable and free only when they must submit their intellects and wills to this light and live in its radiance. Without this light, men are doomed to the darkness of self-will, the tempest of irrational urges, and ultimately the madness of nihilism. Put differently, unless we embrace God’s revelation in faith, which purifies and elevates the natural light of our mind, our own reason is fated to be its undoing. By refusing or abandoning faith, we undermine reason at its foundation. Those who labor to sweep clean the rooms of their minds, thinking to find in scientific and technical prowess a kind of secular salvation, end up verifying the somber words of our Lord Jesus Christ when he speaks of the demon who, finding his old house “empty, swept, and garnished,” takes with him “seven other evil spirits more wicked than himself” and enters in to dwell there.1 Is this not what we are seeing all around us as our beloved country plummets with accelerating speed into the folly, nay the insanity, of liberalism unbounded, which refuses allegiance even to reason and to nature in its insatiable quest for self without soul, liberty without loyalty?

There's a lot more at the link, all just as good.

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