There are 4 thoughts on “Is Faith Compatible with Reason?”.

  1. Having listened to both Dr. Peterson and Mr. Shermer’s talks I must admit that I was profoundly disappointed in Mr. Shermer as he did not in fact address the question at all but merely defined faith as the opposite of reason and dismissed the heavy lifting of actually engaging the argument Dr. Peterson made.

    I must admit that I can never listen to this particular agument without thinking of David Foster Wallace’s justly lauded commencement address “This is Water”. This passage in particular.

    “This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.

    Because here’s something else that’s weird but true: in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship–be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles–is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.

    Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.

    They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing.

    And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the centre of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving…. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.”

  2. Pingback: Is Faith Compatible with Reason? – Why the LDS Church is True

  3. Faith requires reason. Blind faith is superstition.

    “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

    Faith requires evidence.

    We brought into our home a feral cat, whom we named Odin because he only had one eye, who obviously hated humans. Over time he gained enough evidence to have faith in us, and now he trusts and loves us.

    Dan argues that faith is inescapable, “for the simple and sufficient reason that decisions regarding ultimate questions must be made, and must necessarily be made under conditions of objective uncertainty.”

    I will provide an example:

    Some years ago, when our youngest son had just begun his career as an aircraft mechanic, his foreman rushed into the lunchroom and yelled to him, “Come with me!” They raced out to the end of the runway in a pickup truck with police escort. While driving, the foreman explained that there was a wide-bodied aircraft with 300 people on board ready to land, but the pilot did not have instrument confirmation that the landing gear was down and locked. Our son was to stand at the end of the runway while the huge jet made a low pass over his head at about 150 miles per hour, and he was to determine if the landing gear was down and locked. He had about one second to make a decision that would determine the fate of 300 people. The decision had to be made.

    After the aircraft had passed over his head, he paused for a moment as he considered the meager evidence that the fleeting glance had given him, and the responsibility of his decision. He then gave his foreman in the pickup a thumbs-up. The foreman radioed the tower and the tower conveyed the decision to the captain. The aircraft circled and made the final approach for landing. As the heavy jet settled toward the runway my son held his breath hoping and praying that he had made the right decision. He breathed a sigh of relief when the landing gear held, and the aircraft made a normal landing.

    We must all make decisions “under conditions of objective uncertainty,” about our eternal lives, and of that of our families, and of untold thousands of those we influence, both the living, the future living, and the dead. That is the nature of faith, the requirement of faith, and the responsibility for faith.

  4. Pingback: Is Faith Compatible with Reason? - Daniel C. Peterson - The Mormonist

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