INTRODUCTION; Faith and reason lead tosame conclusion. He held the view that one must believe inorder to understand.
Faithand reason are both sources of authority upon which beliefs can rest. Reasonfundamentally is understood as the ethics used for inquiring subjects from amethodological point of view, whether it be good, intellectual, or religious.Once demonstrated, a proposition or argue is normally understood to bejustified or authoritative. He says, “I do notunderstand so that i may believe, but he said i believe in order that i mayunderstand.
” Faith and ReasonTraditionally, faithand reason have each been considered to be sources of justification forreligious belief. Because both can purportedly serve this same epistemicfunction, it has been a matter of much interest to philosophers and theologianshow the two are related and thus how the rational agent should treat claimsderived from either source. Some have held that there can be no conflictbetween the two—that reason properly employed and faith properly understoodwill never produce contradictory or competing claims—whereas others havemaintained that faith and reason can (or even must) be in genuine contentionover certain propositions or methodologies.
Those who have taken the latterview disagree as to whether faith or reason ought to prevail when the two arein conflict. Kierkegaard, for instance, prioritizes faith even to the pointthat it becomes positively irrational, while Locke emphasizes thereasonableness of faith to such an extent that a religious doctrine’sirrationality—conflict with itself or with known facts—is a sign that it isunsound. Other thinkers have theorized that faith and reason each govern theirown separate domains, such that cases of apparent conflict are resolved on theside of faith when the claim in question is, say, a religious or theologicalclaim, but resolved on the side of reason when the disputed claim is, forexample, empirical or logical.
Some relatively recent philosophers, most notablythe logical positivists, have denied that there is a domain of thought or humanexistence rightly governed by faith, asserting instead that all meaningfulstatements and ideas are accessible to thorough rational examination. This haspresented a challenge to religious thinkers to explain how an admittedly non rationalor transrational structure of language can hold meaningful cognitive content.St.
AnselmLike Augustine, Anselmheld that one must love God in order to have knowledge of Him. In the Proslogion,he argues that “the smoke of our wrongdoing” will prohibit us fromthis knowledge. Anselm is most noted, however, for his ontological argument,presented in his Proslogion.
He claimed that it is possible for reason toaffirm that God exists from inferences made from what the understanding canconceive within its own confines. As such he was a gifted natural theologian.Like Augustine, Anselm held that the natural theologian seeks not to understandin order to believe, but to believe in order to understand.
This is the basisfor his principle intellectus fidei. Under this conception, reason is not askedto pass judgment on the content of faith, but to find its meaning and todiscover explanations that enable others to understand its content. But whenreason confronts what is incomprehensible, it remains unshaken since it isguided by faith’s affirmation of the truth of its own incomprehensible claims.Anselm, in theMonologion and Proslogion, presents two quite different methods of relatingfaith and reason. One takes as its point of departure the teachings of thefaith, and meditates on their meaning and how they are corroborated by ourexperience.
The other takes as its point of departure the desire for faith, afaith that is in some way presupposed by the desire, but is radicallydeficient. One might say that faith in Anselm’s works plays two distinct roles,one negative, and one positive. In the more analytic work, such as theMonologion, 47 faiths plays a role similar to that of Socrates’ daemon asmentioned in Plato’s Apology. 48 Socrates says there that his daemon nevertells him what to do, only what not to do. It tells him when he is going wrong.The role of faith in works like the Monologion and Augustine’s On the Trinityis similar to this.
Along with supplying the revealed teachings for reflection,faith tells us that these teachings, although they surpass human reason, arenot absurd. We find it puzzling to think of God as one and three, and Christ asGod and man, but these teachings are not contradictions, but matter forever-deeper reflection and analysis. Thus, we are not to reject as absurd thosemysteries of faith which we cannot comprehend.
The other role, the positiveone, is found in the Proslogion and in Augustine’s Confessions. Here faith asgrace, rather than propositions, is a positive guide, not through providingconclusions about what is true, good, and beautiful, but by moving us to searchfor truth, goodness, and beauty—ultimately, for God. As Anselm says near theend of the Monlogion, 49 we should focus ourselves on loving God. As God isinfinitely true, good, and beautiful, we must strive with all our might to knowHim. And it is easy to forget to do so.
We are constantly distracted by lessimportant things and by our appetites. To support love’s quest for truth,goodness, and beauty, we need to hope that we may succeed. And to hope and loveas we should, we must have faith in God. This is not just a commitment to thetruth of propositions; rather, this is a commitment to a person. And it is madepossible by God’s love for us, by the covenant by which He binds himself to us.
At the end of theProslogion, Anselm writes: “Lord, by Your Son You command, or rather, counselus to ask and you promise that we shall receive so that ‘our joy may becomplete’ John 16:24.”50 Anselm believes that the deep desire we have for Godwill bring us to Him, that we shall grow in wisdom, virtue, and love—in short,that we shall learn to live the life of God through God’s grace. If we woulddiscover who and what God is, God Himself must be our teacher, whether throughhis creation or his grace.Conclusion In conclusion, Anselm passionately endeavouredto find a way by which his faith could arrive at a satisfying understanding andawareness of God. This quest was found on trust which became a point of originby which he finally sought to know his trust and to see God. Although he usedreason and his rational capacity as a means by which he wanted to arrive at hisgoal, he found that the limits of reason prevented him from reaching his end byhimself.
Anselm struggle to make logic of how he was to know God if his understandingwas imperfect and the image of God within him corrupted. Although he couldprove God’s existence through the use of reason, it was still not enough tosatisfy his passionate want to see God. In his strivings to see God, he hope toarrive at an understanding of his faith that would make God real to him andactualize his faith into a seeing faith.
However, only God could illuminate hisvision to see; thus, Anselm was dependent on God’s grace to bring understandingto his faith. He realized that grace was the essential element by whichunderstanding was possible. Faith could not successfully seek and findunderstanding without grace.
With grace, however, he realized that hisunderstanding would be illuminate so that his faith could notice. Not toodifferently than Anselm, we are all faced with the ineffable mystery of knowingGod although our intellectual capacities are far from able to do so. We mustallow our faith to seek understanding and hunger for the sight of God as Anselmdid. However, since our capacities in the end are not able to bring God intofocus successfully, it is ultimately God’s grace which illuminates our understandingand allows us to see what we could not see before. When our faith truly seeksunderstanding and we begin to reflect on and analyze our faith, just as withAugustine and Anselm, we realize that it is only by God’s grace that our faithcan be actualized. Faith seeking understanding is a process that involves one’sentire being – loving God with one’s entire soul, mind, and strength.
Althoughour best efforts still do not give us clear vision of God, our limitations do notremove our obligation to seek God fully. Ultimately, as beings who are seekingto give understanding to faith, the importance of God’s grace becomesparamount, since it is only by his grace that we can come to see and understand.Thus, our faith must seek understanding, not that it might believe, but that,in believe, we might come to understand and to see the God of our belief.BIBLIOGRAPHYJ. Hopkins, A Companionto the Study of St.
Anselm. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1972.Brian Davies and BrianLeftow, editors, “Anselm on Faith and Reason,” Cambridge, England: CambridgeUniversity Press, 2004.