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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Faith versus Reason

Just as music must be performed, faith must be lived. Reason and faith vie for your focus and it's nearly impossible to engage them both simultaneously. Multitasking is a neurological impossibility, and so faith and reason are individual activities. They can reinforce and compliment each other, but our limited minds can't hold both of them together at the same time.

When two separate activities occur together, the pace is almost never the same. Rehearsing music improves the technical aspects, but the feeling and pathos of the piece lags behind. When the emotional power of the music is engaged, the notes and rhythm might suffer. We work on one and then the other. Musicians balance the work so that the technical skills and the emotional connection are both in sync. If either one is missing, the music is lost.

A ship is made to sail. Limiting it to a safe harbor is denying its purpose. But it's in the safe harbor where as ship is built, where it's repaired after the storm, where it goes when the journey is over. The harbor isn't the antithesis of what a ship is made for, it's the impetus. It's in the harbor where the journey is made possible, but only by leaving the harbor does the journey begin.

Reason challenges, critiques and dissects. It leaves no corner unexamined. Reason doubts the existence of God, because there is no physical evidence. Reason analyzes the bible to see if it's reliable. Reason looks at the historical failings of the church to predict the future suffering that Christianity will cause. Reason constructs doctrine out of the pieces that survive the culling process.

Faith supports, encourages and motivates. It moves forward boldly. Faith trusts God without requiring proof. Faith judges the bible on its message, not its reliability. Faith looks at the historical failings of the church, weeps, and hopes for a future where the suffering Christianity has caused will be forgiven. Faith constructs a picture of God by stitching together the disparate pieces of religion and spirituality.

Neither faith nor reason are paramount. Both support each other, even as they undermine each other.

The answer isn't to choose one over the other. It's not an either/or proposition. Both/and is an option. Dwell with reason, suss out the meaning of a text, wrestle with doctrine and dogma. Then live in faith, act on the message of a text, wrestle with the closeness and power of God.

Reason calcifies, faith liquefies, together they produce a firm, yet flexible foundation for life.

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