Faith and Reason
Faith and reason can be viewed as opposites. Faith is an element of belief, something an individual does not necessarily require a reason for accepting without reason. For example, an individual’s reason for believing in God may not seem too rational when they are trying to explain them. They may not even stand up to criticism. On the other hand, reason is constructed as a formula. Faith is basically something we believe in, like something we learn in church. Reason is something we learn in school, such as a math formula.
A long time ago, prior to the scientific revolution, it was considered anti-Semitic that reason supported religion. The Counterbalance Foundation website observes that before this time, science that contradicted religion was wrong. “When we look at the history of science, we see that in fact it owes an immense debt to the religious world. In the early Middle Ages – a time when Christian Europe turned away from scientific thinking -- the science, mathematics, and astronomy of the ancient Greeks was kept alive in the Islamic world, where it was further developed and enriched by Moslem scholars. In the thirteenth century when this scientific heritage began to filter back into Western Europe, it was originally taken up by Christian monks and theologians” (Counterbalance, faith and reason). To sum up this idea, scholars found a way to "change” science to support religion.
Scientists today view science as something derived from experimentation. In earlier times, medieval scholars saw science as something derived from tradition. Such scholars had probably established these “traditions” of science as Plato, Pythagoras and Ptolemy. However, these men were probably not scientists, in fact, they were most likely philosophers. These philosophers sought to explain natural phenomena in a way that made sense to them. Many people, including those of Christian belief then read the works of these classical writers.
Of the many classical writers whose works were available to the medieval scholars, the most influential one had to be Plato. In Norman Cantor’s book, he observes that, “Christianity was built as much on Plato as on the Judaic tradition” (Cantor, 18). Because Plato’s work so influential, it would be illuminating to look at exactly what Plato’s ideas were, as well as how they were reinterpreted by medieval scholars. According to Cantor, “To Plato ideas, or conceptual forms, were not idle fantasies, but essential realities. When we refer to ‘justice’ or ‘the state’ or ‘love’, we are actually referring to something that has an independent existence outside our minds” (Cantor, 16). On the other hand, material objects such as a table, which are commonly assumed to have more “reality” than mere ideas, actually have less reality to a Platonist, because “A table would not have come into existence without the idea of a table; it is the idea that gives it shape and reality. Pure, ultimate reality is pure Idea, and the...