The Place Of Faith In Shaping Political Views • Part 1.

Lance Ralston |Calvary Chapel Oxnard 

It was from a college philosopher professor many years ago I first heard of the divorce between faith and reason. While standing in the doorway of the class, smoking a cigarette, sipping a cup of coffee and some adult beverage, he lectured us on how The Enlightenment placed an unpassable wall between religious faith and rationality. With dogmatic certainty, he asserted faith was to believe something apart from evidence. If there was any evidence involved, it was a matter of reason, not faith.

This professor was usually fair-minded in regard to philosophical discussion, so I raised my hand to clarify—silly me. I asked if his distinction between faith and reason did not, therefore, make faith irrational and unreasonable. He fixed me with a steely glare, nodded, and said, “Precisely.” His countenance made it clear he was eager to debate his point, hoping I would object. I wanted to but knew the unspoken college “rules of the class.” Defy the professor, fail the class, and there is no appeal. So, I just stared back, shaking my head in negation. The rest of that semester, he regularly made disparaging remarks about faith with a chin-point in my direction.

Having spent the majority of my upbringing among those with a Judeo-Christian Worldview, I was curious if what that professor said was merely his own idea or the accepted position of modern philosophy. I discovered it was indeed the majority view. Moderns tend to regard faith and reason as on opposite sides of the intellectual divide. Rationality is an exercise of human reason, based on evidence and following the rules of logical deduction. Faith, on the other hand, is an exercise of pure will without regard to evidence, frequently disregarding logic. It is, as one popular phrase puts it, “a blind leap into the unknowing dark.”

This view of the divorce between faith and reason is inaccurate and historically untenable. It is an unwarranted assertion of modern philosophy; a verbal sleight-of-hand promulgated on the historically unaware. In asserting the divorce between faith and reason, modern philosophy cuts itself off at the knees because many of its presuppositions were shaped by Greek, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic philosophers who provided its vocabulary and dictionary. The rules of logic and assessing evidence were developed by people of profound religious faith. Their worldview enabled them to develop the mental and procedural models that moderns use to ridicule that worldview.

Contrary to the unsubstantiated assertion of modern philosophy that “faith has no reason and reason has no faith” the Christian understanding of faith rests on evidence. Biblical faith is a rational response to evidence.

It is crucial to establish this at the outset of our investigation into the place of faith in shaping political views. Just as modern philosophy divorces reason and faith, there are those in the secular community who allow no place for religion in politics. They make a fundamental mistake in understanding reason and faith, as well as religion and politics. What that mistake is we will consider in Part 2.

Lance Ralston Is the  Founding and Lead Pastor Calvary Chapel in Oxnard. He is the author of  “The Place Of Faith In Shaping Political Views” which will be published in installments every Saturday at 5:00pm

• 2 Timothy 1:12b


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Steven Hintz

The beauty of faith is that I don’t need to care whether the haters think I am “irrational and unreasonable.”