… and vice versa.
Some people think that faith and reason lie two opposite ends of a spectrum when it comes to understanding the truth.
But in reality, faith and reason complement each other.
In his book, Reasons to Believe, Scott Hahn writes that scientists put their trust or their faith in data, in laws, and in studies:
A scientist must put faith in the experimental data reported by other scientists, and in the institutions that sponsored those scientists, and in the standards by which those scientists received their credentials. A scientist must put faith in the authority of the journals that publish the results of various studies. Finally, but perhaps most fundamentally, a scientist must trust that empirical reality is indeed perceptible and measurable, and that the laws of cause and effect will apply universally. No scientific endeavor can proceed if the experimenter subjects every phenomenon to radical doubt, disqualifying his own observations as well as those of his peers.
A foundation of trust or faith in past data, in studies, in established laws, and sometimes in theories is required in order for our reasoning to progress.
At the same time, reason also complements and strengthens our faith.
Some people consider faith as a stumbling block to knowledge, to reason, to wisdom. Some people consider it as a tool to make others conform or follow blindly.
Some consider faithful or religious people as backward or irrational.
We cannot blame them especially when we, ourselves, are not prepared to answer to their questions, when we ourselves do not understand our faith, or when we do not respond with openness, with kindness, with patience, and with love, and instead just dismiss them and their questions. (That is why it is important to know God more and to understand our faith more.)
We have to know more about our faith. We have to use our reason to strengthen our faith.
Because the more that we learn about our faith, the more that we understand how everything about it revolves around God’s love for us.
The more that we understand our faith, the more that we understand that God loves us.
The more that we understand our faith, the more that we can share to others, with reason, how much God loves them too.
Ultimately, the goal of faith and reason is to know the truth.
I like the analogy of Scott Hahn (again, in his book):
Faith and reason are indeed complementary faculties that we use to think about the truth. When any winged creature (or mechanism) tries to fly on just one wing, it falls to the ground. In a similar way, when we human beings try to wing it with just one faculty, we crash.
With our faith and reason, we can arrive to the truth that God loves us.
Finally, there will always be some things that cannot be explained. There will always be some things that can never be explained like why there is suffering in this world.
All we can do is to trust God, whom our reason tells us is a loving Father who only wants what’s best for us. An Almighty Father who can turn even our most difficult sufferings into blessings.
Let no one deceive himself. If any one among you considers himself wise in this age, let him become a fool so as to become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God. — 1 Corinthians 3:18-19