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Faith and/in Reason - Essay Example

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Faith and/in Reason Francis Bacon once suggested that God's message and magnificence could be read in two books: Scripture, and Creation itself (Bacon). One could be read for meaning, but the other could be studied scientifically. For Bacon, Faith and Reason were not oppositional forces, but rather complimentary, since Bacon assumed that Reason would continue to show the validity of Faith, and that what science discovered would be evidence of the divine hand or presence, and not the absence thereof…
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Faith and/in Reason
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Faith and/in Reason

To many, it appears that the choice between faith and reason is either/or, one or the other, and so we see Evangelical Christians dismissing climate science, evolution, and more in order to maintain their faith, while a growing Atheist/Agnostic movement embraces science and claims the mantle of “reality-based” thinking. But it does not have to be this way. If we were to conceptualize faith and reason differently, we could once again see these ideas united. Much depends on how we define the terms. Faith, in this essay, refers to the conviction or belief that a concept, idea, or cause is true independently of the empirical evidence to support said conviction. Reason, by contrast, is the deductive and inductive power to logically link empirical evidence to the validity of a concept, idea, or causal relationship. ...
vid Hume, in his assessment of John Locke's work, suggested that empiricism came from sense impressions, but was ultimately unable to provide the origin of an idea or argument, since impressions were limited to sensory experience (Hume). Instead, Hume suggested that we subdivide human knowledge into relations of ideas on the one hand and matters of fact on the other, even as we acknowledge that our ability to parse either category relies fundamentally on sense impressions. As such, humans could use reason, but reason itself would never be sufficient to ground beliefs, as beliefs tend to be more habitual than rational. Hume provides a good transition point, for he is both right and wrong. He is correct in that all data that we have available as the fuel for reason is predicated on sense impressions, but he was wrong that these sense impressions had limits that reason could not transcend. Hume's idea, for example, that we believe the sun will rise in the East because of a habitual impression, and that a chance exists that sometime in the future it might not, only works if we are unaware of the larger structure of the solar system and the Earth's place in it, the physics involved in the Earth's orbiting of the sun and the rotation of the Earth itself, and so on. Science has developed models that codify sense impressions into reasoned grounds, and in this way reason triumphs over habit (at least in terms of “objective” knowledge). But what is lost in these models is the internal linkage between sense impression and the knowledge that reason can generate by using the model – and this gap in apperception is precisely the way that Faith can re-enter the conceptual terrain. Consider what reason now tells us about the structure of life, the universe, and everything, at a ... Read More
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