Foundations of Faith: Part 1

185- Faith certainly tells us what the senses do not, but not the contrary of what they see; it is above, not against them.

-Pascal, Pensees

God cannot contradict reason; He can dwell above reason, but not contrary to it. Faith brings surety despite the facts being absent. This leads to the thought that every item of knowing requires some faith to believe in. The usual solid depiction of truth is mathematics: two plus two equates to four, and this is universally accepted by all logical human beings. But to analyze the truth of mathematics we must delve into the origins of the subject.

Math stems from the environment around us, and the environment around is only known by our abilities to perceive through our senses. So it can be concluded that mathematics, and all observant truth, stems from our senses. The appropriate question is: can we trust our senses? Can we rely on sensical observation to give us an accurate depiction of reality? It is assuredly possible that our senses deceive us, for mine often do, but what of the possibility of permanent and created deception, that we are in a simulation of life, being manipulated and deceived with every perception, is this possible? It certainly cannot be disproved. The alternative, the more accepted depiction of our current reality, is indeed more probable, but only on the basis that the the former appears ludicrous and depressing.

We accept our reality as it is presented, but without surety. Our basis of knowledge in this world is completely based on an item of faith. Whether one believes in evolution or God as creator, it takes faith to conclude. For this is what faith does: concludes a matter that our reason has left inconclusive. Reason appears to be our action to arrive at faith, in that we must reason our way up to the bottom of our foundations to see that our reason is based on faith. We can only reason items of reason, but when attempting to work out reason itself, faith intercedes as mediator to fill in the gaps. To try and simplify this thought: Reason can only be accepted by faith.

Maybe this was what Paul meant by commanding the Christian to “walk by faith and not by sight” in 2 Corinthians 5:7. 

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

– Hebrews 11:6

It almost seems that the writer of Hebrews equates the belief of God’s existence and provision as only being concluded by faith, but this does not make Christianity to be any more ridiculous than evolution. As I have said, both take faith, but the difference is that one promises a life of hope and the other instills despair. I also hold the belief that it takes a greater leap and degree of faith to conclude the process of evolution rather than the Genesis account, but that is an argument for another time. 

We must have faith that our senses were formed by a perfect and benevolent creator in order to trust that our Reason can provide any truth. To attribute our senses to a series of mutations, leaves a greater possibility of sensical error. If we can accept that our senses provide accurate depictions of reality, a process only arrived at through faith, then our Reason can be acceptable.

The most reasonable of men realize that their reason is limited.

188 – Reason’s last step is the recognition that there are an infinite number of things which are beyond it. It is merely feeble if it does not go as far as to recognize that.

– Pascal, Pensees


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