Faith and Reason

Humans have a natural desire to understand the the reality around them and to learn the truth, even about the things that remain hidden from view.

The intellectual tradition of the Catholic Church encourages questions about these things and teaches that knowledge of God and understanding the world that we live in requires both faith and reason.

Faith and reason are not incompatible and a balance is necessary to come to a better understanding of truth.

Faith alone ignores the natural rational intellect of a mind that asks questions and seeks understanding.

Reason alone ignores the gift of faith. Faith is not believing without evidence but making a credible decision about what the evidence points to. Faith provides answers to things that are not intelligible by the mind.

While authentic faith is superior because it goes beyond the foundation that reason provides, faith can never contradict reason.

Man can learn about God by reason but faith is necessary to have a relationship with Him.

Created with eyes of faith and a mind of reason:

Understanding different kinds of truth require different tools:

But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.

Mark 16: 20

God is the source of the light of faith and the light of reason:

God is the source of all truth:

Investigating mysteries with two lenses:

What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: We believe “because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived”. So “that the submission of our faith might nevertheless be in accordance with reason, God willed that external proofs of his Revelation should be joined to the internal helps of the Holy Spirit.” Thus the miracles of Christ and the saints, prophecies, the Church’s growth and holiness, and her fruitfulness and stability “are the most certain signs of divine Revelation, adapted to the intelligence of all”; they are “motives of credibility” (motiva credibilitatis), which show that the assent of faith is “by no means a blind impulse of the mind”.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 156

Faith is superior to reason:

By faith we know so much more:

The importance of philosophical thought in the development of culture and its influence on patterns of personal and social behaviour is there for all to see. In addition, philosophy exercises a powerful, though not always obvious, influence on theology and its disciplines. For these reasons, I have judged it appropriate and necessary to emphasize the value of philosophy for the understanding of the faith, as well as the limits which philosophy faces when it neglects or rejects the truths of Revelation. The Church remains profoundly convinced that faith and reason “mutually support each other”; each influences the other, as they offer to each other a purifying critique and a stimulus to pursue the search for deeper understanding.

Pope John Paul II, Fides et Ratio, September 14, 1998

Reason belongs with faith:

The Catholic tradition welcomes questions:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Stand firm in the truth:

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