Faith or Reason? Pick one!
Two many discussions of this fall into the waste bin of foolishness, or to be kinder, sides talking past each other.
At the heart of this is treating pitting one definition of faith against another of its definitions.
Is “faith” just a religious thing?
Or is it more than that?
And, yes, for more, enter the DOOR.
Let me clip the wings of the Oxford Online definition just a bit:
(1) Faith – (n) “strong belief in God or the doctrines of a religion, based upon spiritual apprehension rather than proof.”
(2) Faith – (n) [the 1st definition given] “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.”
Now we could piddle around trying to define parts of the definition such as “religion,” “spiritual apprehension,” and “proof.” (People who are paid to argue such things as could have a lot of fun with that, but I’ll spare you.)
A common, though rarely admitted, attitude about #1 (above) is that faith is a “fuzzy feeling thing” that’s personal and much harder to explain than “facts¹” which can be traced by reason back to science, or perhaps, to serious historical research and responsible observation.
Common discussions and debates fly the flags of “Religion (or the Bible) vs. Science²,” or “Faith vs. Reason to Understand (whatever).” Sensible and educated folks are, of course, the “reason” people.”
Actually, it’s not so simple. If you take the 1st Oxford definition (#2 above) it’s not hard to realize that the faith and reason belong together in understanding ourselves and the world around us.
Faith, first and foremost means confidence and trust in evidence. Those are other words to define (but later). In fact, here are two websites I highly recommend that have very appropriate URL’s:
reasons.org (run by an astrophysicist/Christian evangelist)
reasonablefaith.org (run by a Christian philosopher)
Both “Faith” (religion) and science begin with “faith assumptions” which cannot, or cannot easily, be proved. In short, honest science has “articles of faith which must be ‘believed'” before even doing science is possible. Some of them: All atoms of a particular kind are alike, laws about chemical behaviors are consistent and repeatable. Matter and energy will behave tomorrow as it does today etc. In other words, many reactions, behaviors and events are regular and predictable³. By faith we have the confidence to say that “Why must they be?” is nonsense.
And religion? Christianity? When we look at the wide world of evidence, we find that natural science can only go so far in explaining what truly matters to us…
¹ Yes, even an understanding of what to consider a fact requires some thought.
² Or “Creation (the Bible) vs. Evolution (Science). Realize that evolution can be defined so many ways.
³ Trouble, however, does pop up in explaining small-particle physics.