My Brain Hurts (faith vs logic)

Have faith and you can fly..

Jump off a building and see that gravity is truth..

Use logic and science to diagnose disease..

And then see someone cured of cancer for no logical reason..

Martin Luther says, “Reason is the enemy of faith.”

Nicola Abbagnano replies, “Reason itself is fallible, and this fallibility must find a place in our logic.”

How do we reconcile faith and logic?

The definition of faith is:: belief that is not based on proof.

The definition of logic is:: inexorable (unwavering/unalterable) truth.

It gets hairy.

I can have faith that a chair will hold me up..but until I sit in it..my faith means nothing. I believe that is at the core of what James was saying when he wrote, “faith without action is dead” (James 2:17).

By using logic one can determine that a four-legged structure with a flat surface made of a strong material such as wood or metal SHOULD hold my body weight if I sit on it.

Both faith and logic are needed.

But there are times when faith trumps logic.

These instances are what bog me down.

My faith does not weaken..because I do truly believe that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

But there is a tension..

Having faith is believing that my Father, the Creator of the universe, is certainly capable of defying logic..

But did logic lead me to that belief?

Is there a balance..aren’t both essential..how do they live together in my brain?

wow..

What is your take?

How does faith and logic collide for you?

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  • Evan Posey

    What a relevant and intriguing question. It is one that I have personally wrestled (pronounced wrastled if from Georgia) with and waded through for some time. It is crucial to examine the relationship between faith and reason (logic) as it has an impact on virtually every area of the believer’s worldview. I would love to shed some light on the issue if at all possible. Here’s hoping I don’t muddy the water.

    We must be careful not to create a false dilemma when speaking of faith and logic. Faith and logic are not the antithesis of each other. Disbelief is the opposite of Faith. Irrationality is the opposite of Reason or Logic. There is no reason to believe that faith and logic can not and do not exist in harmony. “Faith and reason are parallel. One does not cause the other because “faith involves will and reason doesn’t coerce the will” (Thomas Aquinas, On Truth, 14.A1.2).

    I mention this because the tendency is to pit faith against reason and vice versa. Faith never trumps logic in the sense that it defies logic. Although faith may be “beyond” reason or logic, we must not think that faith is in opposition to it.

    We are susceptible to this false dilemma for many reasons. In this post it does not help that we have vague definitions of Faith and Logic.

    Given Definition for Faith: Belief that is not based on proof.

    What is meant by proof in this definition? Is it referring to 100% certainty? If this were the case, then there is little in the world that we can have proof for. Do we take proof to be something that is empirically validated? I can think of many things that I reason to believe that I have not empirically validated. That is to say I have not seen, touched, smelled, tasted, or heard. Instead I would offer the following definition:

    Faith is the conviction of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. (Hebrews 11:1)

    The biblical view of faith is one that is based on evidence. It is not a faith that we can describe as unreasonable, illogical or blind. Even though there are things that are not empirically validated (i.e. things unseen) we can still base our faith on reason (i.e. the evidence of those things).

    Given Definition for Logic: Inexorable truth

    This definition is not a definition at all. Inexorable truth is simply truth.

    Logic is the branch of Philosophy that deals with the methods of valid thinking. It reveals how to draw proper conclusions from premises and is a prerequisite of all thought. Dr. Williams Lane Craig defines logic as “the study of the rules of reasoning”.

    Clearly defining our terms is extremely important when we use cover topics like Faith, Logic and Reason.

    “Having faith and believing that my Father, the Creator of the universe, is certainly capable of defying logic…”

    This is a dangerous view of God. Although God can do what is humanly impossible, He cannot do what is actually and logically impossible.

    Humanly impossible things: Walking through walls, raising the dead, being two places at once. God can do these and all other humanly impossible things.

    Actually Impossible things: It is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18); It is impossible for God to be tempted (James 1:13); It is impossible for God to deny his own oath (2 Tim 2:13). These things are impossible for a perfectly good God who cannot do evil.

    Logically Impossible things: It is impossible for God to make a square circle or a four sided triangle or a rock to big that he can’t move it. These are impossible ideas.

    More importantly, God can not defy logic because logic flows from God’s rational nature. To defy logic, God must defy Himself. The Scriptures teach that the second person of the trinity is considered the logic of God (John 1: In the beginning was the logos or logic).

    Faith is certainly a gift. Faith is not something that we ascend to merely by intellect.

    Why do we believe that Christ is God and can redeem mankind from sin? We believe in, have faith in, and put our trust in Christ because he was raised from the dead. That kind of faith sounds pretty logical to me. Granted, when we were saved we may not have recognized or acknowledge the logic behind our faith (or at least I didn’t), but don’t be deceived, He was there. His name is the truth (John 14:6), the logos (John 1:1), the Christ (John 6:69).

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