Reason-faith dilemma

Sorgente: Reason-faith dilemma

A conjecture: the principle of the ethical crisis of humanity is the imbalance between individualism and intermediate societies (couple, family, clans, party, state), inside a distant and ruthless universe. They are all separate and opposite as sinners (the same universe considered as a silent individual). Justly, Christianity explains such separation saying that death and its sting, sin, are the insurmountable fence between the individual and the individual, given that they compel us to think we have to live and die alone.

This way, rationalistic ideologies are a useless response to death, given that its sting is a limit to reason, and, therefore, since the times of Democritus religion is considered the comfortable answer to that original limit of intelligence (we enjoy reasoning as long as we are alive).

LIMITS OF REASON: DILEMMA OF EUTHYPHRO AND ABRAHAM’S TALE

Democritus said that belief in gods arose when primitive people were frightened by thunder, lightning and other celestial phenomena, while in his fragment DK 68B30 (preserved by Clement of Alexandria), he added: ‘A few learned people, holding up their hands towards what we Greeks now call the air, said ”Zeus thinks of all things and he knows all things and gives and takes away, and he is king of all things” ’. This observation of Democritus is supported by the testimony of Sextus (Against the Mathematicians IX.24) and shows what we could call a rationalization of the fear and its religion.

It is interesting that Democritus is reported by a Christian writer such as Clement of Alexandria, who even if heavily indebted to philosophical theories of soul, especially Platonic ones, and to the idea that the Stoic supreme good is equivalent to faith in God, – at the contrary, will support the idea that Faith is the movement of reason towards the heart of Christ, the divine man, who alone solves the superb madness of reason, that reason which is an impossible antidote to the poison of death and sin.

It is fascinating such citation of Clement, reputed the father of Theology, when considering that the second book of his opus “Stromata”, largely devoted to the respective roles of faith and philosophical argument, contends that while both are important, the fear of God is foremost, because through faith one receives divine wisdom. Something like a supernatural reason, an intelligence which is the “possible“ antidote to the poison of death and sin.

COOPERATION OF REASON AND FAITH

The same comprehension of the Bible (the scriptures) is to Clement a cooperation of human reasoning, of the Logos of Christ, who inspires faith, and of the human faith as decision. The Scripture is an innately true primitive philosophy, which must be complemented by human reason through the Logos and through a voluntary Faith. Faith is the decision to believe as a crucial fundamental step in becoming closer to God and to a divine intelligence.

In front of the death and of its sting (the sin, the moral corruption, the evil), reason can cease to be opposite to faith. The latter can be non-irrational, as it can be founded on the rational, human knowledge of the truth of the Logos (present also in natural sciences). Faith could be rational and all human knowledge could proceed from faith, just because first principles (axioms or postulates or falsifiable conjectures) are unprovable outside a systematic structure, and, conclusively, could conceivably be based on some well-founded act of faith.

Virtue, science and wisdom, this way, should be imagined like coming from the source of all knowledge: a reason cooperating with human faith and the Logos, whose synthesis allows an initial access to God, understood as true perspective of eternal life, love and intelligence. In the thought of Clement of Alexandria, the Platonic contemplation of the Good and the Stoic relationship of all individuals, intermediate societies, with the universal nature of the Supreme Intelligence derives from that common source (reason, faith and Logos), well represented by Psalm 60.14: “[14] We will triumph with the help of God, who will trample down our foes.”

DILEMMA FAITH-REASON AND DILEMMA OF EUTHYPHRO

A conjecture: the Dilemma Faith-reason of our times is, philosophically, embedded in the Dilemma of Euthyphro (formulated inside the homonymic dialogue of Plato), and, theologically, solved by the biblical tale of Abraham (about Abraham’s Sacrifice of Christ-Isaac).

God is Love, while man has no rational dominion of his faculty of love (there is neither a faithful control of the heart of man over the reason) because he is unfaithful to God, because of original sin and individual sins. However, the control over this faculty of love can comes from the alliance between faith and reason, which comes from baptism, from the sacraments, from personal fidelity, from the help of the Church and from her living tradition (living in the saints).

Otherwise, the gentiles and the pagans of every time are right: faith (love for the truth that is God-Love) and reason (intellectual calculation) are divided and in disagreement, separation and conflict, which events are the cause of the dispersion of sexual, patrimonial and spiritual faculties, and of excessive ambition of the human beings.

Now, Abraham solves the Euthyphro dilemma of the pagans: Either God decides also evil as it were a good, “legibus solutus” as a Hobbesian Leviathan, or God is responsible to the Leviathan of the moral force of a Supreme Good that prescribes the same divine decrees. The first horn of the dilemma is an unlimited faith to an Idol, the second a passive tribute to ethical reason (in which it is not difficult see the same neopositivists’ idolatry of scientific reason).

This Euthyphro dilemma is an anthropomorphism of moral capacity of this “mortal” man: only the man tries, as a mortal creature, to be either “legibus solutus” or responsible to a supreme good (hypnotizing his own conscience). These divisions are not appropriate to an Immortal God.

Namely, the dilemma mortifies God, while diminishes and denies immortality of God in both the horns of the paradox: because, on one side, God is less God of Good, on the other side, God can be Evil; in both cases we can do without worshiping the minor god who arbitrarily torments Job and Jews of the Holocaust.

However, Abraham … well before Plato (or Euthyphro), the Averroists, the atheistic neopoisitivists, has solved the paradox many millennia ago.

HERE A LIST OF ARGUMENTS, CODIFIED INSIDE ABRAHAM’S TALE:

    • Isaac has always lived, like Abraham, in the bosom of the Christ and of all the saints, because God orders the sacrifice, but prevents it from being executed and replaces a ram got stuck in bush by the horns.
    • God reads the heart of Abraham and Abraham that of God and the rift between faith and reason is healed.
    • The heart of God is the Good, to which does not access any evil, and it is Love for Abraham, which could never order any evil, held back by the love for Abraham, for his life, by that of Isaac, and by his Sacred Heart.
    • God is not below his Heart nor above it, and such a heart is love for Abraham and the same love of Abraham for him, there is no reason underneath or above these two hearts, both shine out of God.
    • God will be Christ, that is, Son, and the Son, as Imagine and the Eternal Word of the Father, will offer themselves in sacrifice to save from Death not only Isaac, but Abraham and his Descendance of Saints.
    • The Aries, or the lamb, is a figure of this.
    • With inconceivable Love God offers his Sacred Heart and his Immortal Life for “this” man? For me, for Isaac.

CONCLUSION

An immortal life is not divided by any dilemma, because infinity is both eternity, eternal circle of love without limits, open, mysteriously open, gift beyond space-time limits (as whatever gift is: beyond space-time, merit or cause). Thus it is Love, as mysterious gift, gratuitous as the love is, eternal and infinitely not subject to either a norm or a capricious will.

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