Believing in Order to See: On the Rationality of Revelation and the Irrationality of Some Believers

Believing in Order to See: On the Rationality of Revelation and the Irrationality of Some Believers

Believing in Order to See: On the Rationality of Revelation and the Irrationality of Some Believers

Believing in Order to See: On the Rationality of Revelation and the Irrationality of Some Believers

Synopsis

Faith and reason, especially in Roman Catholic thought, are less contradictory today than ever. But does the supposed opposition even make sense to begin with? One can lose faith, but surely not because one gains in reason. Some, in fact, lose faith when reason is not able to make sense of the experience of our lives. Yet, we actually lose reason by losing faith. Examining such topics as the role of the intellectual in the church, the rationality of faith, the infinite worth and incomprehensibility of the human, the phenomenality of the sacraments, and the phenomenological nature of miracles and of revelation more broadly, this book spans the range of Marion’s thought on Christianity. Throughout he stresses that faith has its own rationality, structured according to the logic of the gift that calls forth a response of love and devotion through kenotic abandon.

Excerpt

Believe then! It doesn’t hurt.”

Ludwig von Wittgenstein

I offer here twelve texts, occasional writings spread over the years 19792009. There would be no reason to gather them together but for the fact that they share the same concern and the same quarrel, returned to each time according to the circumstances and the solicitations with a consistency that was perhaps pointless, and in any case little rewarded.

What concern, and what quarrel? To show that faith and reason, in the case of Christian and more particularly Catholic thought, not only contradict each other today less than ever, but that the very question of their supposed conflict has no meaning and should not even be raised. Maybe one can lose faith (as the strange received expression has it), but certainly not because one increases in reason. It could be that one loses faith because one imagines reason to be incapable of understanding a part—and a decisive or even the most decisive part—of what our life makes us experience. Very quickly, one cuts one’s losses: Reason does not understand everything, and therefore we must accept that there are immense spaces that remain incomprehensible or irrational. We must abandon them to belief and to opinion, and very soon we give up definitively on thinking about what we have already evicted from the field of the thinkable. Various nightmares spring from this slumber of reason—ideological nightmares. Thus the separation between faith and reason, too quickly held to be self-evident and entirely natural, is born first from a lapse in rationality, from reason’s capitulation without struggle before what is assumed to be unthinkable. But if, then, one does not lose faith from an excessive practice of rationality, it . . .

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