The Ground And Nature Of Faith And Reason

The Ground And Nature Of Faith And Reason


The mind of a human being is not made to only think of true things or even suited to full extent of all the things. The mind is able to meet with so many situations that it is unable to comprehend those that are important among the ones that can be kept aside. This however should not make a person lose hope in the search of truth or even make somebody think that he or she cannot be in a position to know or learn anything. It is important for human beings to know that they have been sent on earth which is full of all the faculties so as to obtain the necessary knowledge for human consumption (Locke, p1). Even after storing experience and natural history as is important in the work of philosophy or understanding, the process of understanding is not enough to deal with the philosophy of reasoning. The process of invention comes about as a result of man thinking and also writing such that after reading and writing, better things will be on the way. (Bacon, p11).

This paper aims at looking at the ground and nature of faith and reason. I will employ several examples to show how faith and knowledge are linked in the proposition of truth.

It is believed that human mind has its origin from barbarism (Alembert, p7). The brain was like a child who is eager to obtain ideas though it is difficult at first due to the low development. For instance, philosophic spirit is as a result of great men who have written quite a lot to illuminate the world. Francis Bacon Chancellor in England is one of the philosophers whose work deserves to be read. He had very extensive and sound views, various subjects with a good style of writing. He started by looking at the general view of natural science, divided it into several branches and continued to research on what people knew on the said subjects. He considered philosophy to be part of knowledge which makes people happier and better. His work is based on the analogy that he obtains facts, compares and analyses experiments and performs experiments. He then invites other people to do the experiments and learn so that they can be perfect.

Reason and Faith

The word reason has several meanings. It can be said to be for clear principles and truth, fair deductions and also for cause and especially for final cause. However, in my argument I will look at reason in a different perspective. That is, the way it stands in man. The faculty in which human beings are differentiated from the beasts, and the fact that man is better than the beasts. If the general knowledge involves the way we perceive the agreement or the opposite of our ideas, and the prior knowledge of existence of the things we see except for the case of God whose existence is evident to all men. The most important part of our knowledge comes from intermediate ideas and deductions. Human beings have the need to examine, find out and compare all the things that are found in nature. The aspect of finding the means, applying them in discovering certainty in the means and probability is what is referred to as reason. Reason looks at the indubitable connection and the necessary ideas in every step of any demonstration which produces knowledge. There is no man who was born with a methodical mind or was a better logician like Mr. Locke. However, he was not a better mathematician. He could not spend a lot of time with calculations to an extent of getting tired and even though this was the case, nobody could ever give better proofs than this man. It was said that it was like he had a geometrical head and therefore did not require geometry. In early days people were subjected to reasoning in the same manner as they reason today. Mr. Locke used to reason a lot and therefore was able to solve calculations perfectly.

Anaxagoras who taught mankind the fact that sun was greater as compared to Peloponnessus, heaven was made of stones and the fact that snow was black also said that the soul was immortal and an aerial spirit. All this was as a result of reasoning. He used what he knew to compare with whatever he did not know. He went on to say that the soul was part of God which is a very sublime (Francois-Marie, p 191). Aristotle who was not very intelligent believed that all men understand the same way. Plato, Aristotle and Socrates reasoned that the soul was eternal and corporeal.

Sometimes our reasoning may fail us. It is able to elevate the way we think very high and yet comes back to a low opinion on some other aspects. Reasoning is able to fail us whenever the ideas we had fail (Locke, p6). The moment an individual does not have an idea, reasoning stops and we reach the end of reckoning. On the other hand, now that our ideas are imperfect, the reasoning capacity becomes puzzled and often at a loss due to confusion, imperfection of ideas or obscurity. Whenever we have clear, distinct and perfect ideas our reason does not at any one time meet with any difficulty or come across any contradictions.

Newton who was sure of what he wanted. To prove that Descartes’ vortices was not a better way of explaining planet movements (Motte, Cajori, p1). He had reasoning that there is a certain force which is able to induce planets mutually so that they can attract each other (d’Alembert, p13). He utilized the momentum theory. He also came up with the notion that matter had some properties which many people had not reasoned about. This is all because he had an idea, which he went on to reason about and came up with the theories. He perceived his ideas to make conclusions. It is advisable that human beings should not proceed on wrong principles. False principles always lead to the mind having difficulties and contradictions of what we really want to achieve.

Reason and faith go hand in hand. Faith is actually controlled by reason (Locke, p7). Faith affirms the mind that whatever the brain is reasoning is bound to happen. It is believed that;

“He that believes without having any reason for believing may be in love with his own fancies; but neither seeks truth as he ought, nor pays the obedience due to his Maker, who would have him use those discerning faculties he has given him, to keep him out of mistake and error. He that does not this to the best of his power, however he sometimes lights on truth, is in the right but by chance; and I know not whether the luckiness of the accident will excuse the irregularity of his proceeding”.(Locke, p7)

I also agree with traditional revelation which is able to guide us in understanding the prepositions that are knowable through reason. Truth could be identified through revelation which is discovered by reason and the ideas that we could be having naturally. This means that through the might of God men could use their faculties to make great discoveries. Every human being has an experience of using faculties or power to form various ideas. The right way of using these faculties is referred to as common sense (Toland, p2). God has given us a clear discovery of things through contemplating and having knowledge of ideas. The early great philosophers were able to discover several things such as mariner’s compass, art of painting using oil, printing, making glass, and other discoveries such as restoring some sight to old men who were blind by using spectacles, they discovered the use of gun powder among others(Francois-Marie, p 53).. This revolution was done through reasoning and faith. There must be an agreement of an idea with the mind for people to discover something (Toland, p3). There are however other very useful interventions that man was able to discover. This was due to the mechanical instinct that human beings possess. The philosophy through which man was able to discover fire, make bread, work with metals, melt them, build houses among others is very astonishing. Chancellor Bacon through experimental philosophy was able to make pneumatic machines where he was able to discover air elasticity. He believed in enquiring. He wanted to know the exact reason for the elasticity. Whether it is the magnetic force between the earth and the other bodies like the moon and sun or what caused the elasticity. Through the reasoning and use of faculties these men were able to get their answers.

There are other things that we cannot be in a position to know their past, present or future through our natural way of using our own faculties. These are beyond human discoveries. They can only be revealed by God. For instance, when some of the angels of God rebelled against Him and they lost their state of happiness, and one of them who is known as Satan was thrown in a fire den. Other ideas for instance the fact that the dead will rise and have a chance to live again among others are things that are beyond our discovery and are therefore known to be matters of faith. In this case, reasoning is not involved at all (Locke, p8).

In conclusion, where reasoning affords specific knowledge, the faith dominion reaches. This will lead to the discovery of truth which if one is not able to obtain through the natural way of thinking and reasoning, God will bring it to man through His way of eternal fountain of knowledge. What God reveals to man is true and nobody should doubt that. The object of faith whether in divine revelation or other means should be judged with a reason. However, there is no evidence on the traditional revelation as to whether it is divine original. This paper has widely looked at reason and faith and it is clear that the two are intricately intertwined.

Work Cited

Andrew Motte, Florian Cajori. “Sir Isaac Newton, Mathematical Principals of Natural Philosophy”. 1962.

Francois-Marie De Voltaire. “ On Bacon and Newton. 1733

Francois-Marie De Voltaire. “On Mr Locke”. 1733

Francis Bacon. “The Great Instauration”. 1733

Jeane Le Rond D Alembert. “The Human Mind Emerged from Barbarism. 1760.

John Locke. “Essay concerning Human Understanding”. Journal. 1677.

John Toland. “Christianity Not Mysterious: or, a Treatise Shewing that There is nothing in the Gospel Contrary to Reason, Nor Above It: And that no Christian Doctrine can be properly call’d A Mystery”. London, 1696.