Faith and Reason

Lately I’ve been recording a great t.v. series hosted by Bill Moyers on PBS called “Faith and Reason”. On the show Moyers interviews various well-known authors regarding the issues of faith and reason. The guests vary on their perspectives but they all bring a very interesting perspective to the issue. Some of the guests include Martin Amis, Salmon Rushdie, and Mary Gordon.

I think my favorite guest so far was Mary Gordon. I think I most closely related to her perspective. She verbalized, very eloquently, many ideas that I resonated with. Here is one quote from her interview:

“Faith without doubt is just either nostalgia or a kind of addiction.”

If you haven’t checked it out, you can watch it online here.


8 thoughts on “Faith and Reason

  1. Does that phrase not rather belittle/patronise faith? It seems strange that a man of faith like you would be happy to say his faith is ‘JUST either nostalgia or… addiction’. I suppose the point is that calling it an addiction isn’t necessarily as negative or frivolous a label as it would seem, perhaps the negative implication of the word addiction comes from association with its more common use alongside alcohol, drugs, eating disorders and a Robert Palmer single. I don’t think there’s any unifying truth in an individual’s nostalgia, or have I missed the point?

    Might as well face it you’re addicted to God… sorry ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. i find it impossible to separate my faith and my doubt. for quite a while i felt so guilty in my doubting of God, be it theology or emotions or social issues. but that guilt began to change as i took a few months of my life to study the psalms. i read passages where the author would with raw emotion ask God “where are you?” and “where is your unfailing love?”

    it was passages like these that gave me the freedom to be honest with God about whatever it was i was feeling. my prayers changed from using the cliche phrases that i’d grown up on to becoming conversations or honesty and vulnerability. it also taught me to listen to God, because if i’m going to ask serious questions then i ought to be ready to listen for serious answers.

  3. I think you have missed the point J.I. Ms. Gordon wasn’t implying that faith in itself is an addiction or nostalgia, she said that faith, “without doubt” was. Personally, I think that faith cannot exist without doubt; it’s what separates faith from knowledge.

  4. In response to J.I. I’ll echo both Matt and Joshua’s thoughts. J.I., I think you’ve completely misread Gordon’s quote. I think you skipped the “without doubt” bit.

  5. I’ve had many a discussion on this topic. I overwhelmingly agree with the quote by Ms. Gordon. Religion ceases to exist when a person has no doubts. When a person ‘knows’ God exists they don’t really ‘know’ that, they have put together a line of evidence that lines up with what they ‘believe’. I’m all for strong beliefs, but I will never know 100% that I have chosen the correct path. That is the essence of faith in my opinion. If Christians could prove what they ‘know’, there would be no other religions. Debate and doubt is and always will be a necessary evil in a Christian’s life. I actually posted briefly on this subject back in February. I’ll leave the link below. But there is a quote from R.J. Rushdoony on Theologica that fits well with this theme.

    “Hence every effort to ‘prove’ God is a denial of Him. In all such rationalistic proofs, God is brought before the logic of man’s mind and required to ‘justify’ and ‘prove’ His existence. The god who is then derived or ‘proven’ is the god of man’s imagination, not the living God of Scripture. To prove means to establish by evidence, to show to be true, to test, and to verify. We cannot prove God. He is the Source of all proof. We are rather proven, tested, or verifed by Him. He alone can justify.”

    Ditto. Now I’ll spam you’re blog. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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