Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Faith Vs. Reason, Emotions Vs. Automatons ...

As I get older, the less patience I have and the more patience I have. It's a funny balance, this self-control.

As a Northerner living in the South, it's been an interesting relocation. I see and have seen people in both regions of the country handle their emotions with skills, and handle them with no skills. Same with Faith. Same with Reason. I have seen it in myself, too. Live and learn. Life is a curious and beautiful thing.

Looking at Technorati -- the list of what many people are talking about on the web -- I've been curious about the arrival of several books where it seems like the authors have pitched Reason against Faith. As if they were mutually exclusive.

To be more fair, I would need to see these books in the bookstore -- but in general what little I've seen online looks like they may have decided people of faith are stupid and dangerous. (To be fair, we have given them ample bad impressions. We need to practice better faith to correct that.)

People on both sides of religion and anti-religion can be guilty of not looking upon each other with compassion. (Actually it also seems to me that Christians could in fact have MORE faith in prayer and in God's work upon the spirit, but that's a post for another day.)

But my curiosity is, if we happen to consider Faith to be not a reasonable thing ... then we are going to have to step back and say the same for emotions. After all, when handled poorly, Love can be not reasonable. Anger can be not reasonable. Passion can be not reasonable. Joy certainly can be not reasonable. So handled poorly, it is the same for Faith. And frankly, when handled poorly, it is the same for Reason. Handled poorly, then the "good judgment and good sense" of Reason also goes out the window and becomes "unreasonable".

By assuming Faith is separate and apart from Reason[able] behavior, we kinda run dangerously close to looking towards a society of no-emotion automatons as the answer. See, Faith is not only about having Faith in a God we do not directly see. We forget that Faith (Random House Websters College Dictionary c. 2000) is also having 4. a belief in anything as a code of ethics or standards of merit.

If we have no Faith -- no belief in anything -- then everyone is out for themselves. That kinda throws Reason into the toilet, doesn't it? If we have no belief in a code of ethics or standards of merit then nobody looks out for kids, or for the elderly, or for people in general. There is no mutual compassion. That's a bad place to live in.

Reason and Faith are not mutually exclusive. We really have to stop perpetuating the myth that they are. Though some people through error might separate the two, they do not have to be separated. In fact, we are Biblically advised to ask for Wisdom, if we lack it. We need Wisdom to make sound judgments. So we're back at that hairy Faith thing again.

We need that fine balance of Faith, Reason, Passion, Love, and Joy handled deftly and compassionately. Even Anger when well-handled, can be controlled to correct wrongs to make them better.

Faith and Reason can live and work together.

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