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Relationship Between Faith and Reason

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In the readings from the Catholic Intellectual Tradition book; Aquinas, Augustine, and Dante all have claims that human reason and faith are both rely on or are compatible with one another. In the story of Augustine, we find out that in his early life he couldn’t find God because he was sinful. In the reading of Augustine, we find out reasons why children early on in life are very sinful through simple tasks, an example would be crying. On Augustine’s journey of trying to find his relationship with God there are many bumps in the road, but he still goes back to trying to figure out God and find the truth. In the story of Aquinas, we find out that he believes that no human will ever have the full acknowledgment of who God is. In the story of Dante, we learn that he is a poet and a pilgrim who embarks on a spiritual journey, while on this journey Dante meets Virgil who guides the poet through the different stages of Hell. At the end of Dante’s journey, he finally reaches Heaven, he has such a realistic image of God that he can’t describe it to other people because it is so uncomprehensive. The readings of Aquinas, Augustine, and Dante, show that human reason and faith are compatible in their different stories, but they relate because their overall message is the same.

Aquinas who was a medieval philosopher who showed harmony between faith and reason. Aquinas’s views have been very influential in Catholic Intellectual Tradition, through his stories where he proposes reason and faith as two ways of knowing. Reason encompasses what we know by our experiences and logic, it is also very personable and is very opinionated at times. Through reason, we come to a central point that there is only one true God. These truths are revealed to everyone through my experience and logic but are separate from special encounters. Faith is what we can know by God through the Bible and Tradition, it’s very similar to reason because we are basing our beliefs on stories and scriptures that we don’t know are true, but we believe they are. These realities can’t be oppressed by reason alone which is the reason faith expands on reason. Since faith and reason are two pathways of landing at truth, faith is predictable with reason. On the off chance that we get faith and reason, at that point we come to understand that these two thoughts are related.“…nevertheless, that truth that the human reason is naturally endowed to know cannot be opposed to the truth of the Christian faith” (Chapter 7, 255). Aquinas’s views have been very influential, especially in Catholic theories today. Aquinas sees reason and faith as two separate paths of knowledge. Reason is what we believe to know by experience and our senses. These truths about God can be taught to anyone with experience and logic, apart from any special revelation from God. Faith goes over what we can know by God’s revelation to us through uses of the Bible and our Catholic tradition. Through faith, we know that God came into the world through Jesus Christ. These truths about God can’t be approached by reason alone. Faith builds on reason. Since faith and reason are both parallel to getting the truth, faith is consistent with reason. If we understand faith and reason incompatibility, then we can see it throughout our lives.

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Augustine was a bishop and a prolific writer. Augustine had a very sinful journey, and finally, when he let go of sinful pasts he turned into the studies of faith. At the beginning of his life he wasn’t able to believe in faith because of his sinful life.

Dante talks about human reason and faith after he finally reaches heaven, after his journey. Dante takes a journey through hell, purgatory, and heaven while getting a descriptive view of each from his personal guide Virgil. In his poem, Dante attempts to describe heaven that is full of awe and wonder in his eyes. Dante writes, “What I saw is more than tongue can say…The ravished memory swoons and falls away” (326, 55-57.) Dante understands that as a human, the words he uses to portray heaven will never be sufficient to catch its message, much the same as how Aquinas discusses the failure for people to catch the full information on God. Dante becomes overwhelmed and says, “…so far above man’s mortal understanding…lend me again some glimpse of what I saw…” (326. 68-69), Dante needing God to uncover himself and the entirety of his insight. God is all-knowing and all ground-breaking which is the reason Dante needs him to share this information to comprehend reality. Dante’s involvement with paradise mirrors this case since he needs to relinquish motivation to have the option to open his mind to God through confidence. The human explanation itself can’t depict what Dante experienced in paradise, and that is the reason he needs to have confidence in what he saw.

Faith and reason on behalf of the four CIT claims are more than prevalent in Augustine, Dante, and Aquinas’s teachings. They both give us the ability to see that faith builds on reason and that sometimes the most faithful person in life still encounters tragic events in their lives that reason cannot be seen. Human reason and faith are compatible because reason can uphold faith, but the reason has certain limitations. People are just given a limited ability to learn and comprehend. This is the place faith and reason come into lead and guide trust in God and his lessons. Since certain things can’t be clarified through the five detects, which is how our reality spins today, it is fundamental for people to turn towards faith and reason. With the end goal for God to exist there must be an association among faith and reason. Aquinas, Augustine, and Dante support the case of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition that reason and faith are connected each in their own particular manners yet remain solitary in specific viewpoints. 

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