Faith as a Basis of Knowledge in Essay

Download this Essay in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Essay:

Faith as a Basis of Knowledge in Religion and Natural Science

The relationship between faith / religion and science has through history stirred a debate that has taken on philosophical, scientific and theological aspects. Are the two compatible? Are they at totally opposite ends of the spectrum of life and the universe? This paper analyses the strengths and weaknesses of faith as a basis of knowledge in religion and natural science.

The Literature on Faith as a Basis of Knowledge in Religion and Science

The Harvard University publication The Friend (circa, 1871) posed some pertinent issues for readers regarding faith and science, issues that are just as relevant today as they were 141 years ago. For example, author William Evans, a minister with the Society of Friends (Quakers), explains that in the 1870s scientists were questioning the value of religious belief, and "…aiming to modify the theology and character" of the Christian church (Evans, 1870, p. 95). These questions "awakened…a tone of doubt and disbelief" that has produced "wide-spread unsettlement and uneasiness respecting religious belief," Evans writes. This resulted in a "…feverish spasm running through" Christian denominations, and causing church members to "break loose" from their faith (Evans, 95).

One kind of faith is based on "the reception of a truth demonstrated…by the correct reasoning of another" (i.e., science); a second faith is "…exercised in relation to spiritual and divine things… which…are beyond the sphere of the elements which the powers of reason are able to investigate" (Evans, 95). Hence the second faith must be based on the "accepted infallibility of the source producing it," which in Christianity, is the Word of God. This could be considered a weakness of faith, since knowledge is based on supernatural truths.

In the Methodist Quarterly Review (MQR) (1875) the author explained that science and faith are "…arrayed against each other…and are feeling for each other's throats." Science on the one hand "…demands that belief shall accept nothing but positive knowledge as a foundation upon which reason may build its structure." Religion, "…on the contrary, is based neither upon self-evident truth nor demonstration," the MQR states. Indeed, religion (think faith) doesn't claim "absolute knowledge as its basis" but rather it operates on a "preponderance of probability" while science claims to be fashioned "…upon absolute certainty" (28). Taking the argument a step further, Descartes believed that all a scientist -- and a faith-based person -- can know "…is the testimony of his consciousness." Consciousness "never deceives" (Descartes) and if one assumes God exists, then God would want him to "trust his consciousness" because God would not "…allow him to be thus deceived in the holy of holies of his being" (e.g., his consciousness) (MQR, 29). The concept of consciousness strengthens the argument for faith.

Joseph John Murphy has written (in 1873) a concise rationale for bringing together faith and natural science. His book, The Scientific Bases of Faith provides insights and questions that these years later still have relevance. What Murphy wanted to convey is his hope that science will "finally accept religion as not indeed the basis, but the summit and crown" (of science) (Murphy, 1873, p. 4). "Science is the basis of religion," Murphy explains (6), because "supernatural truths imply natural ones, and cannot be stated without presupposing them."

Man discovers the facts and truth about science "for himself," Murphy explains; but "those of religion are revealed" to him (6). Still, this contrast should not suggest that there would be antagonism between the two disciplines, Murphy continues. And thus since the physical sciences are to a great degree "based on the mathematical" and hence, the mutual relation of science and religion "ought to be just the same" (6). In fact, Murphy asserts, the "antagonism between science and religion…is purely imaginary" although the antagonism between those who study and teach science and those who study and teach religion "is, unfortunately, sometimes real" though that will disappear in time, he concludes. Attitudes like those of Murphy strengthen the relationship between faith in religion and natural science.

Alister McGrath argues that all truth originates in "human thought" and that humans are capable of developing "…a series of truths which are universal and necessary," and this concept is called "rationalism" (McGrath, 1999, p.…[continue]

Cite This Essay:

"Faith As A Basis Of Knowledge In" (2012, January 07) Retrieved October 28, 2016, from

"Faith As A Basis Of Knowledge In" 07 January 2012. Web.28 October. 2016. <>

"Faith As A Basis Of Knowledge In", 07 January 2012, Accessed.28 October. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Faith and Reason an Analysis

    If he had love, he had no pot in which to plant it. And so it stayed trapped in his mind, separate from any object -- for Kant insisted on the gulf between faith and reason. If one had to accept certain truths on the authority of the one revealing them -- Kant wanted no part in it. According to Kant, one should accept only that which can be

  • Knowledge We Are Often Faced With a

    Knowledge? We are often faced with a thorny predicament when asked to pit fact against faith. Such a delicate endeavor is the one posed in the question above. Reliance or submittal of evidence is most often associated with the pursuit of proof. Therefore, evidence becomes a means of achieving truth through empirical observations and objective facts. Conversely, beliefs are commonly linked to feeling and faith. While evidence is needed to

  • Faith and Learning Together Again

    In society today, we are bombarded with messages that suggest that our morality is driven by anything but the Bible. Indeed, turn on the television and images which are antithetical to Christ's word are everywhere, open the pages of a textbook and you will see pages upon pages of secular explanations of the existence of mankind; however, Matt Slick author of "What is a Christian Worldview? And Why Do

  • Personal Reflection What Makes a Good Role

    Personal Reflection What makes a good role model and how would I ensure that I acted as a role model for employees I supervise? A role model is someone who others look up to and provides inspiration. In my opinion the most important quality of a person who can be a good role model is his ability to handle stress positively. People have to deal with stress constantly and a role model

  • Preaching in A Insightful Graduate Level I

    PREACHING In a, insightful, graduate level, I a book review Preaching Fred Craddock. Craddock, F. (1985). Preaching. Abingdon Press Fred B. Craddock's book Preaching is designed to be used as a textbook for seminarians entering the ministry and a guide for preachers currently spreading the gospel. It is intentionally designed to be used simultaneously an inspirational text and a 'nuts and bolts' guide to writing and delivering sermons; it guides students who wish

  • Neo Confucianism Is a Philosophy Which Was Born TEST1

    Management and Theory Leadership and coaching go hand in many ways because to coach is to lead, and to lead is to coach others. Indeed, leaders and coaches, whatever the title is really theoretical mentoring within the context of a particular organization or activity. For centuries, scholars and philosophers alike have been trying to find a specific and complete definition for coaching and leadership, but have not had much success. True,

  • Spirituality and Religious Faith Have

    Freud makes it clear in one of his letters that he is atheist, though he denies attacking Christianity directly, but as a default to attacking Judaism, which was his faith of birth. It can be called an attack on religion only in so far as any scientific investigation of religious belief presupposes disbelief. Neither in my private life nor in my writings have I ever made a secret of my

Read Full Essay
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved