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Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pope John Paul II - Faith and Reason

Faith and Reason

Between a reason which, in conformity with its own nature that comes to it from God, is directed to the truth and is accustomed to know what is true, and a faith which reinforces itself at the selfsame divine source of every truth, no basic conflict can arise. for rather, faith confirms the rights which are proper to natural reason. it presupposes them. For its acceptance presupposes that freedom which is proper only to a rational being. that said, it is nonetheless true that faith and science belong to two different orders of knowledge, which cannot be superimposed the one on the other. And here, furthermore, it becomes plain that reason cannot do everything of itself; it is finite. It has to be embodied in a multiplicity of partial types of knowledge and is expressed in a plurality of individual sciences. It can grasp the unity binding the world and truth to their origins only within partial modes of knowledge. In so far as they are sciences, even philosophy and theology are limited attempts that can only grasp the complex unity of truth in its diversity - that is, within a latticework of open and complementary kinds of knowledge.
The 'learned' and the 'clever' have worked out their own view of God and the world, and they are disinclined to change it. They believe that they know all there is to know about God , that they have the final answer, that they have nothing more to learn. And This is why they reject 'the good news', for its strikes them as quite alien and conflicting with the main tenets of their Weltanschauung. The Gospel message proposes certain paradoxical reversals which their 'common sense' cannot accept.
As it was in the day of Jesus, so it is today, and yet today in perhaps a very particular way. We live in a culture which subjects everything to critical analysis, and which does this while often regarding partial criteria as absolute. By their very nature these criteria are unsuitable for perceiving the world of realities and values which eludes verification by the senses.
Christ didn't ask us to give up our reason. How indeed could he, since it as he who gave it to us? What He does ask is that we should not give in to the Tempter's old suggestion that we can be 'like God' (cf Genesis 3:5)
Only those who accept their intellectual and moral limitations and recognize their need for salvation can make themselves once more open to faith and in faith encounter, in Christ, their redeemer.

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