Saturday, 24 October 2009



The exact relationship between faith and reason has consistently been a battleground within
Christendom. From near the beginning of Christianity, there have been serious reflections on
this topic. Why then, one may ask, is yet another essay being offered on the subject? I would
like to offer at least three reasons for the present volume.
First, there always is a need for a study of biblical faith. Many of the studies on this subject, I believe,
have ignored important biblical evidence—evidence that will be presented and discussed in this
book. Since ultimately the question is, “What does the Bible teach about faith and reason?,” one must not
divorce his reflections from a biblical foundation. Unfortunately, this has occurred in far too many cases.
Second, there is a need for this study, if for no other reason, because of the increasing prevalence of
agnosticism within the confines of Christendom. Admittedly, this is a serious charge, yet it is one that can
be documented in literally hundreds of cases—some of which will be mentioned in the body of this work.
There are those who simplistically assert, “Where there is knowledge, there is no longer any room for
faith.” Such a statement is a perversion of plain biblical teaching. Still others have surrendered any claim
to a foundation of evidence for faith.
Some years ago, a seminar was conducted in Dallas, Texas, in which a “debate” occurred between
world-renowned atheists and theists trained in the empirical sciences, social sciences, and philosophy.
The philosophy panel was represented by Paul Kurtz, Antony Flew, Wallace I. Matson, and Kai Nielsen
on the atheists’ side, and Alvin Plantinga, W.P. Alston, George Mavrodes, and Ralph McInerny on the
theists’ side. The theists were to defend God’s existence against the challenge of the atheists. I listened in
shocked amazement as theists Plantinga and Alston actually urged rejection of the law of rationality,
which states that “one should draw only such conclusions as are warranted by the evidence” (cf. 1 Thessalonians
5:21 and Isaiah 41:21). The astonishing thing was that these men spent an inordinate amount of
time giving evidence for their conclusion that one should reject the law of rationality—a position that is
hopelessly self-contradictory. They “reasoned” that one should reject reason with reference to the question
of God! And this was how they hoped to defend God against the attacks of those who challenged His
existence? Since these men are some of the heavyweights in the academic community, this was disheartening,
to say the least.
Third, of course, there is a need to study and understand biblical faith because of the consistent
challenge to Christianity from the atheistic camp. In his book, Atheism: The Case Against God, George
Smith wrote: “The conflict between Christian theism and atheism is fundamentally a conflict between
faith and reason. This, in epistemological terms, is the essence of the controversy. Reason and faith are
opposites, two mutually exclusive terms: there is no reconciliation or common ground” (1979, p. 5).
Smith summarized his claim by saying: “It is logically impossible to reconcile reason and faith” (p. 101).
At least one of my motives for publishing this treatise is to demonstrate that Smith’s position is completely
false. We are not required to flee into the land of irrationality in order to escape the challenge of
the skeptic. My desire is that the reader will come to this same conclusion through a study of the material
made available in this volume. The conclusions drawn from the various arguments presented here become
our shared responsibility. I am traveling the road of reflection regarding the faith/reason controversy; I
now bid you to accompany me on the journey.

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1 comment:

  1. I hope that I am not contradicting what you are saying but, if we could confine God within our limited reason, miracles have never happened, there is no afterlife, and true conversion experiences are just emotional or neurotic. Even the greatest minds of men cannot understand the ways of an infinite being. How could they ever hope to explain to an unregenerate?