John Stackhouse has a series of posts up on his blog addressing the question, “Do you have to choose between your brains and your beliefs?” His answer, succinctly summarized: No, no, and sort of, but no.
Expanded somewhat, his basic points are these:
- “Obviously, obviously, you don’t. Many, many manifestly smart people don’t.”
- Faith is both grounded in what we know and important to our ability to know.
Everyday life, however, constantly presses us beyond what we know (or think we know) and requires us to exercise faith. We frequently find ourselves compelled to trust beyond what we’re sure of, to make commitments that go outside our sense of safety. And yet these moments of trust and commitment—these acts of faith—are intrinsically and importantly related to knowledge. . . . Faith relies on knowledge even as it moves out from knowledge into the unknown.
- Faith is ultimately necessary to be a Christian—we cannot get to Christianity by our own efforts (of reason or anything else), but ultimately only through God’s gift of faith by grace. However, we can’t get to anything else truly meaningful without faith, either.
As he sums it up,
So the question isn’t whether to have faith or not. The question is, In what or whom will I place faith, and on what grounds?