Ottawa Citizen

Com­plex faith and rea­son

Re: Faith vs. rea­son, Dec. 20 and Faith is not es­tranged from rea­son, Dec. 18.

- Religion · Arts · Philosophy · Social Sciences · Stephen Hawking

I be­lieve let­ter-writer Richard Pauk­staitis mis­un­der­stands the re­la­tion­ship be­tween faith and rea­son. Th­ese no­tions also touch upon the con­cepts of be­lief and knowl­edge, which also share a com­plex in­ter­re­la­tion­ship.

Un­for­tu­nately, he misses the point of Richard Bastien’s opin­ion piece. He seems to think the two con­cepts are mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive. The two can­not be sep­a­rated and op­er­ate closely with one an­other. He seems to triv­i­al­ize the in­her­ent com­plex­ity be­tween the two no­tions which have been de­bated by some of the great­est thinkers of the West.

It is akin to Stephen Hawk­ing’s bold procla­ma­tion, on the very first page of his book The Grand De­sign, that phi­los­o­phy is dead at the hand of sci­ence. One need not be a philoso­pher to un­der­stand that such a state­ment is not a sci­en­tific one but a philo­soph­i­cal one and lit­er­ally self-re­fut­ing. It is im­por­tant to note that faith is not a term that only car­ries re­li­gious or the­o­log­i­cal bag­gage.

Inescapabl­y, any world view will in­evitably carry forth its own par­tic­u­lar view of faith whether it’s some form of sci­en­tism, a-the­o­log­i­cal or the­o­log­i­cal in­ter­pre­ta­tive frame­work.

As hu­mans, it is very dif­fi­cult to re­move our­selves from our pre­sup­po­si­tions, as­sump­tions and bi­ases. To think that rea­son stands alone un­tainted or un­in­flu­enced is an epis­te­mo­log­i­cal naiveté of the worst kind.

I won­der which man­i­fes­ta­tion of rea­son Pauk­staitis al­ludes to and which faith is it based upon.


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