Life confronts us with an endless stream of questions. Some are trivial. But some draw us into the deepest dimensions of human inquiry, a place where our decisions have profound implications for life and faith. Is there a God, and if so, how can I know anything about who or what God is? Is the quest for truth an elusive dream? How should I live and what should I value? What happens at the end of my biological existence?
These questions lead people of every creed and belief to consider important existential concepts. But many people wrestle with the relationship between faith and reason as they dig into the roots of this theological and philosophical pursuit. Does a shared interest in a common set of questions indicate that philosophy and theology are close kin and allies, or are they competitors vying for our souls, each requiring a loyalty that excludes the other?
In Faith and Reason, Steve Wilkens edits a debate between three different understandings of the relationship between faith and reason, between theology and philosophy. The first viewpoint, Faith and Philosophy in Tension, proposes faith and reason as hostile, exclusive opposites, each dangerous to the integrity of the other. The second, Faith Seeking Understanding, suggests that faithful Christians are called to make full use of their rational faculties to aid in the understanding and interpretation of what they believe by faith. In the third stance, Thomistic Synthesis, natural reason acts as a handmaiden to theology by actively pointing people toward salvation and deeper knowledge of spiritual truths.
Bringing together multiple views on the relationship between faith, philosophy and reason, this introduction to a timeless quandary will help you navigate, with rigor and joy, one of the most significant discussions of the Christian community.
The relationship between faith and reason, or between our philosophical assumptions and our theological ones, is a matter of fundamental importance. In this volume, three views on this topic are brought into dialogue with one another, giving readers an immediate sense of some of the key issues and objections that pertain to this perennial debate. It is a helpful resource and a useful way into questions of method in theology from which students are sure to benefit.
—Oliver D. Crisp, Professor of Systematic Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary
Both the richness and the complexity of the faith/reason problem is on full display in these essays—and in the responses. . . . The strengths of the individual essays and the conversational style will open up pathways of fresh insight, deepened understanding, and will stimulate continued dialogue on this important topic in classroom settings.
—Kyle A. Roberts, Word & World, Fall 2015
Steve Wilkens (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is professor of philosophy and ethics at Azusa Pacific University. His books include Hidden Worldviews, Faith and Reason: Three Views, Christianity & Western Thought (volumes 2 and 3) and Beyond Bumper Sticker Ethics. He has also taught as an adjunct faculty member at Mount San Antonio College, Glendale Community College, Fuller Theological Seminary and Azusa Pacific University’s C.P. Haggard Graduate School of Theology.