Thy Law Is Truth
The Living Space Between Faith & Reason
There are few questions more momentous than that of faith. In whom or what should I trust—and why? Of course there are many kinds of faith, and no simple answer can be given that will cover all of them. Plainly reason must play a role at some level, but how and why is not easy to say, least of all when it comes to faith in God.
Aristotle famously warned that a correct beginning is necessary to avoid great errors at the end. In that spirit, I wish to focus here on the basic question of the nature of faith and its relationship to reason. I will begin with what I call mundane faith, the sort that is involved in believing in a loved one, a leader, or perhaps even an ideal or political program. Faith in this sense seems to be an inescapable element of human life, however keenly we may be aware of its potential for failure. The important question is how it relates to reason, and whether we can find in this relationship a clue that points beyond the mundane to more controversial and problematic forms of faith. In particular, how does mundane faith relate to religious faith, and is there a bridge connecting the two?
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David Bradshaw is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Kentucky and the author of Aristotle East and West: Metaphysics and the Division of Christendom (Cambridge University Press), as well as numerous articles on ancient, medieval, and patristic philosophy. He and his wife attend St. Athanasius Orthodox Church in Nicholasville, Kentucky.
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