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Faith Or Reason?

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Critical Paper 3

Fides et Ratio, One or Both?

The Middle Ages saw a period in time that was deeply rooted in Christianity. Almost every aspect of life was monitered and ruled by the Church. This period in time also saw the emergence of men beginning to question whether the existence of God can be proved by faith , reason, or as Thomas Aquinas insists, by both faith and reason. There were differing opinions of this matter in both scholarly and religious circles. Faith is what all believers must have within them, it is a crucial part of man's relationship with God. On the other hand, reason is a part of science and some believed that matters of The Divine should not be subjected to reason; there should not be a justification for God.

Thomas Aquinas was a teacher of the Dominican Order and he taught that most matters of The Divine can be proved by natural human reason, while "Others were strictly 'of faith' in that they could be grasped only through divine revelation." This was a new view on the faith and reason argument contradictory to both Abelard with his belief that faith should be based on human reason, and the Bernard of Clairvaux who argued that one should only need faith.

Aquinas, in the Summa Theologiae, stated that, "Man should not seek to know what is above reason." His argument was, in very simple terms, that men need reason to understand all of God's truths. Yet there are certain truths that are beyond reason which men can only understand through Divine Revelation, or faith. And sometimes there might be certain aspects of faith that one day reason might have been able to prove but only a few men would know and understand this, so it is necessary that all men know this through Divine Revelation and faith.

In a personal point of view, I see this interpretation the same way that I see all explanantions of religious beliefs. Religion, in my definition, is a simple way to attain the answers to the mystery in life. It holds all of the 'truths' about who made the us, what happens to us after we die. It is a way to give people a purpose and sense of something in their life when there might otherwise be nothing. It is also a way of keeping society in safe behavioral limits by supplying mankind with a code of laws and punishments. How very coincidental it is that God and religion supply all of these things that are so necessary to human society. Of course as time went on these simple religious ideas and laws grew into a very complicated and contradictory system that may be seen as void of any holiness.

It seems very easy to just make explanations as Aquinas does about why things are as they are. He was able to use reason to prove certain Divine Truths, but not all, and when he found he could not prove with reason he uses faith as the answer. How is it philosophically reasonable that reason may be applied to certain aspects but not all? Maybe it is easy for a believer to accept this, but using this 'reason' may be a bit more difficult in proving anything to a non-believer. But of course the non-believer was a very rare site, if not non-existant in the Middle Ages to even contradict or question Aquinas' theologic ideas. "Aquinas was convinced that reason and faith could not really conflict with one another. He wrote, 'Christian theology isues from the light of faith, philosophy from the natural light of reason. Philosophical truths cannot be opposed to the truths of faith'." Where is the reason for this? Reason is associated with fact and it is evident that Aquinas does not have a strong concept of either reason or fact.

Aquinas also used his Reason to explain "Whether matrimony is of natural law". In this he states that matrimony may not be viewed as natural because it is not necessary

in the wild, but in the case of humans it is required for the good of the offspring. He argues that children need parents with a strong bond. "We derive three



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