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Can Faith & Reason Live Together?

February 26, 2013 :: Jim Piper, Jr.

Many movies have been produced about Jesus. Most of them portray a portion of his ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection. 

Do you remember the Pilate-Jesus scene included in most of these films? Jesus and Pilate are having a "behind-the-scenes mini trial. Jesus explains to Pilate that he has come to testify to the truth. But Pilate responds with skepticism asking, "What is Truth?" (John 18:28-38)

We don't know if Pilate was a truth seeker, honestly interested in what Jesus might say, or if he was simply revealing his view that truth is fantasy.

Today, we hear people say that truth is either unknowable, relative, or unknowable as it pertains to facts about God. Let's quickly consider these ideas.

First, to say that truth is unknowable contradicts itself. If I say, "Truth is unknowable" did I not speak what I believe to be true? Therefore, I am actually saying that some truth is knowable.

What about the idea that truth is relative? In other words, what may be true for you is not true for me. This also cannot stand under basic examination. 

You might say that chocolate ice cream is the best flavored ice cream in the world. While that is certainly true for you, it is not true for me because I might say strawberry is the best flavored ice cream in the world. So, as far as ice cream goes, there may be a taste of truth in relative thinking but let's consider this closer. 

Is ice cream a vegetable? Of course not. It is not a vegetable for you or me. Ice cream is not a vegetable. That's absolutely true. 

Finally, some will say we cannot know with certainty that God exists. So, if one chooses to believe he exists or any particulars regarding his personhood, it is not a rational choice. Instead, it is a blind leap of faith. 

A blind leap of faith? Why is it a leap of faith to believe in God? Why is the idea of God divorced from all others? Why is math, science, and history openly considered truth while belief in God is locked up in the closet? 

Isn't there enough evidence in and around our human experience to cause us to ponder, study, evaluate, and seek answers? I think so. In fact, faith (a motivation to seek) and reason (part of our intelligence) should investigate together these three things:

1. Christian Scriptures make significant claims about God. These claims are enveloped within a company of evidence, logic, events, and witnesses. Any serious seeker of truth should consider these.

2. Nature screams out clues! From the heavens above to the human experience below, there is evidence of an intelligent designer. Scripture tell us God has revealed himself in creation.

3. Philosophy and science work hand-in-hand to assert that there is "cause and effect." We know the universe exists. So, the obvious question is "How?" 

Is it really a "blind" leap of faith to rally our minds toward what we can see, experience, and consider?

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