Wednesday, May 07, 2008

faith and rationality

I feel like all my recent God is Nice blog posts recently have been titled with word pairs - not opposites - but things that it's hard to figure out the relationship of. Science and Christianity. Foolishness and wisdom. Now, faith and rationality.

Somewhere in my list of Top Five Things I Love About Honours, there is a bullet point reading "New Friends". For the first time, I've made real friends at uni, in my classes. I see the others, and a few people in particular, so much that it would be hard not to. Before, you might sort of get to know people a little over a semester but when the semester finished, you'd go your separate ways quite happily.

Because I'm pretty open about saying things like "Going to church" when people ask me what I'm doing this Sunday, most of the people I see lots have figured out I'm a Christian ("Gary" of "foolishness and wisdom" fame has not yet!). And because the three people I get on best with are very very open people, respectful of my right to hold different beliefs and aware that I won't trash theirs, we've already had quite a few "talks" about God, life, the universe, everything. It's great and I love it!

In doing so, though, something has come up that I haven't had to consider so much in the past. As you'd expect, in an intellectual environment what is really important for my fellow Honourees is being able to explain why I believe what I do. And I agree; there is absolutely no point being a Christian if you can't say why.

However, I realised today - logic is just not enough. I can explain why I think the Bible is historically accurate and I can explain why I think the Christian belief system is reasonable and valid. I think I should do this - intelligent people need to hear it. I can rationalise to my heart's content. But that doesn't explain why I have faith.

I have faith for emotional and experiential reasons. I have faith because I am so, so grateful that Jesus died for me, miserable little scum that I am, because he loves me. I have faith because nothing philosophers could rationalise or scientists could prove has the emotional or imaginative power of the gospel. And (shock horror) I can't prove this.

[Imagine a lightbulb going on in my head] And I don't need to prove it! The power of the gospel is not in logical argument! The people in my class admit themselves that not everything can be explained or rationalised or put in our little boxes, so why must I try and do that? There is a point where rationality loses its power, beyond which it cannot go - does that mean we give up? No! We use imagination, we use emotion, we use experience, to go beyond it.

As always, realising the limit of my capabilities is a relief. The work is done by the Holy Spirit. I only have to testify what I know. And what I know is that Jesus loves me. Hooray!

1 comment:

LEstes65 said...

Love this post. All I can ever do is say, well, this is how Jesus worked in MY life. It might look different for everyone else. But usually, the few people who take the time to hear my story are the ones that needed to hear it. And I'm sure God put you in with the people that need to hear YOUR story.

You rock.