This morning I was having quite the discussion based on this quote by one of my favorite theologians, Martin Luther:
"Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding. "
Now, some (I don't think all the guys I was discussing this with would take it this way) take this quote and use it for some help in an understanding that our faith isn't reasonable or logical. But, this is not what Luther was trying to get across. We must take Luther in his context and whom his fight was against. His fight was against Rome who was taking their theological constructs from Aristotle and Aquinas. Both of these men put revelation (Scripture) and reason on an even playing field. In actuality, they usually would put reason completely above Scripture in any competing argument.
So, when Luther is speaking of things such as reason and logic, he is not speaking about throwing them out all together, but making sure that they keep within the context of the revealed faith in our Scriptures. A clearer quote from Luther came from a debate Luther had where he said that,
Reason is a whore
This is clearer because reason is not sinful or wrong in it's context it should be used in. If used inappropriately beyond the confines that God has placed it in, one can then abuse what God has made to be good. Think of sex within the context of this quote. Sex is not wrong in the correct, godly context, but taken outside of the bounds which God has placed it, one becomes a whore.
So, should we have a reasonable faith? Yes. God calls us to. There is never a story of faith in the Bible that was a blind faith, or one without reason. We are even told that Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac because of his understanding that God would raise him from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19). He wasn't blindly walking up the mountain to sacrifice his son to an unreasonable and irrational god.
What one finds as they search the Scriptures and then tests them to the things of this world is a rational, reasonable God. This God is who gives us our reasonable faith so that we can trust in him. One does not take a blind leap of trust or faith. Faith without reason is foolish, reason without faith is pointless and damning. The reason I say that it is foolish is that no one should trust in something or someone without a reason. Why should we trust in Christ and his cross? Because God has given us reasons to do so. Do we always understand these reasons? No. But we do have reason and rationality to believe and trust in the Scriptures and the God who speaks through them. This also goes with someone who has intellect and reason but no faith. They are damned and without hope, because their reason and rationality aren't directed to the one who underlines their whole life of worship.
These two aren't warring but must work together. We even have the definition of faith in Hebrews that points to reason and logic within the person that has faith:
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Assurance and conviction do not come about through the air, but through a reasonable understanding of whom or what you are putting your faith and trust in. This is why when reason tells us something that seems to contradict the Bible we must put our attention on the reasonable God who is infinite. Our faith is reasonable and logical, but when life doesn't make sense in our finite minds, we must have faith in our infinite God.
Know that I am not saying one can merely come to God through reason, but one cannot come to God without a rational reason for doing so. One doesn't just one day wake up from being an Atheist to a blood bought Christian.
If you want to think about it this way. Today I am putting faith in the building that I am in. I have faith that it won't collapse on my head because of my minute knowledge in engineering and architecture and my experience of being in this building everyday. This is a reasonable faith not a blind one.
One will also notice how God tells us to report on this faith:
but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;
1 Peter 3:15
Peter uses the term "apologia" which of course is where we get the use of apologetics, which means to make a defense. Actually in the Strongs it says, "to make a reasoned statement." The term was used for courtrooms where something was defended with evidence and reason. One wouldn't walk into a courtroom and tell the jury, "just believe me."
Neither would God. He is always giving us more and more reasons to believe in Him. He has given us reasons and logic and rationality to have faith in him and he has never asked to follow blindly.
This doesn't mean we'll always understand or have a depth of knowledge in any given situation, but we can have faith in those times because our God has always been faithful and just and he alone is the evidence and reason to believe in those times.
If he didn't give us evidence and assurance then we would never believe the following:
...for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”
so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”
When someone asks why you believe, never tell someone to "I just believe" or to "I had to take a leap of faith" because God has never asked you to do so.
Check out this short video on this topic as it gives a great summation in under 4 minutes: Faith vs Reason
HT: Mark at Here I Blog