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 Post subject: Faith and philosophy?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2005 11:57 pm 
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For those who like philosophy and have faith in God, does philosophy strengthen your faith? how so, why?

The reason why I ask is because certain truths of God known by one man by faith, can not be known by him through reasoning; and truths of God known by that man by reasoning can not be known by him by faith, but these truths known of God by this man through reasoning, can only be known as long as the man had faith in God. They can not overlap, and this is very basic. Since they do not overlap, why is it that reason can aid someones faith, since these truths known of God through reasoning, and truths known of God by faith are seperate? Just a question that I havent given much thought to, I just accepted it, because it seemed obvious to me, never questioned why this is though...

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 3:10 am 
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Your first category is correct -- there are things we can know about God only by faith. Your second category is not -- although there are things we can know about God via natural reason, we can also know them by faith. Faith is actually a stronger kind of knowing, since our own unaided reason doesn't always function properly, whereas what we know by faith, we know on the authority of God, who doesn't make mistakes and doesn't mislead.

St. Thomas on the subject.

(Also note that philosophy helps us to understand things we know only by faith; we can apply philosophy to, for example, the revealed doctrine of the Trinity so that we can gain a better understanding of what it means, and a better appreciation of the mystery of those parts we can never fully comprehend.)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 10:51 am 
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Quote:
Also note that philosophy helps us to understand things we know only by faith; we can apply philosophy to, for example, the revealed doctrine of the Trinity so that we can gain a better understanding of what it means, and a better appreciation of the mystery of those parts we can never fully comprehend


Right, thats what I meant when I said,


"...and truths of God known by that man by reasoning (through philosophy in other words) can not be known by him by faith, but these truths known of God by this man through reasoning (philosophy), can only be known as long as the man had faith in God. "

-- (Faith as a foundation in other words), unless there can be no other way to understand the Trinity better and other mysteries. There must be a foundation of faith first, then we can use reasoning. Faith and reason still remain seperate in these examples

Of course, one has to have faith first in order to be aided by reason, but How does philosophy and reason aid faith when they are seperate powers to understanding truths of God? It's amazing to me.

For example: I have faith in God. When I start reading philosophy by St Thomas or others, Plato, etc., and come to understand what they are "finally" saying (:)) about certain truths of God, my faith increases (thanks be to God) and I understood these truths by using the instrument of reasoning, not faith. But, there is no way I could fully grip what they were saying--well especially the doctors of the Church-St. Thomas-UNLESS, I had faith in God first-a foundation

Of course, only by the grace of God...faith--a gift from God, plus reasoning--a gift from God, and I thank Him.

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Some of these ecumenists are so preoccupied with Christian unity that they are willing to destroy Catholic unity in the name of Christian unity. - Fr. John Hardon


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 11:21 am 
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Reason precedes faith, logically and temporally, not vice versa. Faith is the perfection of human reason. Just like the supernatural must presuppose the natural.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 11:58 am 
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Can you expand on that, please? I might or might not agree with it, and I hate to pick a fight when there isn't one.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 12:35 pm 
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I suspect that what Matthew is saying is that reason is a priori. We are born with the inate ability to draw inferences, make deductions, etc. Whereas faith is the fruition of proper reasoning. It is the end result of reason. As I heard Fr. Corapi mention, to be insane (an inability to reason) is to be out of touch with God (faith, for our purposes here).

I apologize in advance Matthew if I have completely mangled your argument. Please eloborate if this is the case.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:21 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Can you expand on that, please? I might or might not agree with it, and I hate to pick a fight when there isn't one.


Faith is an act of the intellect under the sway of the will. The act or virtue of faith cannot be prior to that which it must presuppose, namely the intellectual soul.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:25 pm 
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David Hopkins IV wrote:
I suspect that what Matthew is saying is that reason is a priori. We are born with the inate ability to draw inferences, make deductions, etc. Whereas faith is the fruition of proper reasoning. It is the end result of reason. As I heard Fr. Corapi mention, to be insane (an inability to reason) is to be out of touch with God (faith, for our purposes here).

I apologize in advance Matthew if I have completely mangled your argument. Please eloborate if this is the case.


Reason is prior in the order of being, but it does not follow that reason is the "fruition of proper reasoning". If that were true there would be no merit in believing. In addition, since faith is a gratuitous grace of God, the act of theological faith cannot come from the effort of man, but only of God. Further, faith is not discursive, but one, simple and infallible, considered in its essential character as an intellectual virtue.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:40 pm 
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Matthew wrote:
David Hopkins IV wrote:
I suspect that what Matthew is saying is that reason is a priori. We are born with the inate ability to draw inferences, make deductions, etc. Whereas faith is the fruition of proper reasoning. It is the end result of reason. As I heard Fr. Corapi mention, to be insane (an inability to reason) is to be out of touch with God (faith, for our purposes here).

I apologize in advance Matthew if I have completely mangled your argument. Please eloborate if this is the case.


Reason is prior in the order of being, but it does not follow that reason is the "fruition of proper reasoning". If that were true there would be no merit in believing. In addition, since faith is a gratuitous grace of God, the act of theological faith cannot come from the effort of man, but only of God. Further, faith is not discursive, but one, simple and infallible, considered in its essential character as an intellectual virtue.


I used 'fruition' and 'perfection' synonymously which is clearly not the case.

Based on your answer, however, a question arises:

How can lack of faith itself be a sin if it a grace of God?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:49 pm 
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There is no sin if it is merely negative infidelity, whereas positive infidelity is a most serious mortal sin since it involves a rejection of the authority of God and truth itself.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 3:07 pm 
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What of the proverbial little old lady who knows only her Rosary and a few prayers, has never been to school, and may, in fact, be not all that bright? Does she not have faith?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 4:17 pm 
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Quote:
Reason precedes faith, logically and temporally, not vice versa. Faith is the perfection of human reason. Just like the supernatural must presuppose the natural.


St. Augustine would disagree...he says "faith precedes understanding" (which you can only understand things by reason), which i agree with...He was talking about truths of God-divine truths...

Quote:
Faith is the perfection of human reason.
this i agree with...

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Some of these ecumenists are so preoccupied with Christian unity that they are willing to destroy Catholic unity in the name of Christian unity. - Fr. John Hardon


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 6:33 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
What of the proverbial little old lady who knows only her Rosary and a few prayers, has never been to school, and may, in fact, be not all that bright? Does she not have faith?


Of course she does. In fact, she probably has greater faith than most theologians and philosophers. :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 6:37 pm 
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Quote:
St. Augustine would disagree...he says "faith precedes understanding" (which you can only understand things by reason), which i agree with...He was talking about truths of God-divine truths...


You are not interpreting St. Augustine correctly. The gift of faith precedes the gift of understanding, which the latter is an infused intellectual virtue to help a soul pierce deeply into the divine mysteries. As I said before, the act and virtue of faith necessarily supposes the potency of the intellect.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 7:07 pm 
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Quote:
You are not interpreting St. Augustine correctly. The gift of faith precedes the gift of understanding, which the latter is an infused intellectual virtue to help a soul pierce deeply into the divine mysteries. As I said before, the act and virtue of faith necessarily supposes the potency of the intellect.


Right. I agree..thats why I said faith precedes reason or understanding, truths of God, both gifts from God......I like what you say here, above...But you said before:

Quote:
Reason precedes faith, logically and temporally, not vice versa.


So what do you mean by these two quotes?

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"The only successful method will be that which bases harmony and agreement among Christ's faithful ones upon all the truths, and the whole of the truths, which God has revealed." -Pope Pius XII

Some of these ecumenists are so preoccupied with Christian unity that they are willing to destroy Catholic unity in the name of Christian unity. - Fr. John Hardon


Last edited by Dionysius on Thu Apr 07, 2005 7:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 7:17 pm 
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nevermind, just deleting

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"The only successful method will be that which bases harmony and agreement among Christ's faithful ones upon all the truths, and the whole of the truths, which God has revealed." -Pope Pius XII

Some of these ecumenists are so preoccupied with Christian unity that they are willing to destroy Catholic unity in the name of Christian unity. - Fr. John Hardon


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:10 pm 
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I was a Philo major in college. Everybody back home (rural Bible-belt country) thought I was insane and going to wind up an atheist.

What many don't understand is that the best way to combat atheism and modernism is with hardcore philosophical arguments. You can't appeal to Scripture or Tradition because these are rejected immediately. The only way is to use philosophy to get your foot in the door. Then hit them with the other two.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:38 pm 
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That is very true to a large extent.

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