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Heri Salmas wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Why does religion requires faith?

I have had a lot of questions, but at the end, I don't really understand why is it needed.

  • Wouldn't it be easier to show that religion was correct if there was a proof?
  • Why does religion depend on faith and not in scientific facts?

I don't want to make a polemic or anything. It's a question that has been in my mind all the time and is the biggest obstacle I face to be a complete believer.

Heri

  { Why does religion require and depend on faith and not in scientific facts? }

Paul replied:

Dear Heri,

There are many ways to answer your question. I'll offer one angle.

There are three basic ways to certitude for the human being:

  1. faith
  2. reason, and
  3. science.

Boiled down it is information processed through:

  1. the soul
  2. the mind, and
  3. the senses respectively.

Scientific knowledge, which comes through observation, corresponds to the lowest part of our nature, that which we share with the other animals, the senses. We believe because we see. Doubting Thomas in the Gospel of John got his reputation from trusting only in this kind of knowledge.

Rational knowledge is actually a higher kind of knowledge because it relates directly to the mind. The intellect can understand things even without ever seeing them or observing them with any of the senses. Hence, Aristotle called us rational animals. We can think and reason. The most basic example is the syllogism. For example: Socrates is a man, all men have heads, therefore Socrates has a head. I don't have to see Socrates to figure that out.

The highest form of knowledge comes through faith. Interestingly, even though it gets a bad rap in our day, we still derive most of what we know about anything through faith:

  • faith in:
    • our parents
    • our teachers
    • maps
    • text books
    • tradition
    • society, etc.

In a fallen world we cannot always trust what we are told, so reason and science are necessary to purify. In fact faith, reason, and science have that role, to purify each other, because they are all avenues to the same truth.

The reason why faith seems the most murky way to certitude, perhaps especially religious faith that can never be verified scientifically in this life, is because original sin left us in a condition where we can not see clearly with our soul anymore. Our relationship with God, although it was intimate and clear before sin to the point that Scripture has God walking with Adam in the garden, has become obscured and self absorbed through sin. Man very quickly lost sight of God after that primordial rejection in the garden and the certitude that came through man's spiritual dimension was no longer clear, leading him to worship false gods and live selfish lives. Hence, although objectively irrational, it would make sense that man would begin to trust His own limited senses rather than, or at least more than, God. He is supernatural and cannot be directly experienced through our finite and limited five senses.

Long story short: God intervened in the world with the people of Israel to prepare for Christ, who was to offer man grace (supernatural life) to restore to him the life of faith in order that he may be justified in a state of grace, to know and love God in this life, and be eternally happy with Him in the next.

This is the most important thing on earth, for it is why we were created and our only fulfillment.

Peace,

Paul

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