Faith and Reason - An Apologetic Approach

Clergy Corner by Fr. Robert Falabella

The subject of “God” and “Reason” continues to be a cerebral challenge -- with factions that “have a belief in God” (Theists) as an object of faith and reason; and those who vehemently deny such exists (Atheists).

Belief in God, as a form of knowledge, may be found in either a supernatural or natural form -- depending on the source of such knowledge -- the Creator (supernatural or transcendent source) or “things in Creation” (natural source).

As Catholics, our belief in God by a knowledge “graced” by God’s action on our souls (a gift called supernatural Faith -- begun at our Baptism) -- is thus assisted both from “Revelation” which deals with a supernatural dimension, in that, according to “the believer,” it is God Who historically reveals Himself in both the Old and New Testaments; as well as “natural reason” through the examination of the very concept of God, as a perfect being (an Ontological Argument), or a consideration of the existence of the universe (the Cosmological Argument), or consideration of the apparent order of the Universe (the Teleological Argument).

For Atheists, however, logic is also claimed as fundamental in their conclusion against the existence of God; and so for them the phrase “God is dead” is a catchy way to call attention to their God-denying agenda; while for the believers the slogan “God is not dead” is an intuitively justifiable response.

Believers in “God” consider God to be almighty, transcendent -- from Himself (ASEITY) and thus at one and the same time, Creator of the universe, but separate and independent of the universe; while in the ‘universe’ we have an entity that does not explain itself by itself -- its source being from another (ABALEITY). We can instantly see, from the very words themselves, the reasonableness of both the truth of the phrase “God is not dead,” since ASEITY IS NOT ABALEITY, i.e. “FROM SELF IS NOT FROM ANOTHER;” and the falsity of the phrase “GOD IS DEAD” -- the contradiction immediately apparent in the contrasting terms: ASEITY IS ABALEITY, i.e. FROM SELF IS FROM ANOTHER -- clearly opposites!!

Let us now recall the gift of the theological virtue of Faith -- a supernatural power -- enabling us to believe that God revealed Himself (in Genesis) as the Creator of the Universe. “Reason” tells us there would have to be some kind of independent force that brought the Universe into “being”; since it did not have existence of itself until that outside act of Force intervened. The Universe, then, did not come “from self” -- “ASEITY” but “from       another” -- ABALEITY.

Faith and Reason then are not contradictory terms but complementary terms -- each clearly completing the other, since faith without reason can lead to phantasy; while reason without faith leads to hubristic defiance of the reality of Mystery, which is the experience of our finite nature encountering an inkling of the Infinite -- THE ANSWER TO WHICH   REQUIRES MORE THAN OURSELVES.

Tags: Fr. Robert, Clergy Corner

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