Since beginning seminary, I have heard on numerous occasions the importance of establishing, defending, and articulating ones faith based on reason. I understand the reasoning (no pun intended) for the emphasis – amidst all the prevailing worldviews today, the Christian faith must be articulated in a logical way. But then, yesterday in class, we got into a discussion on reason and faith which led somebody to say that Christian reason and the world’s reason are two different things. They use the same processes; however, the contents of the two will differ. Somebody brought this into question but we were unable to address it in class as time ran short. However, I was thinking a similar question. If we are trying to articulate a reasonable faith to the world, wouldn’t we utilize reason in the same way they do? Wouldn’t our contents be the same as theirs?
I think it was Pascal who said that reason had its limits – it could only lead to an abstract God. And this is the very thing that we are trying to articulate through reason. All reason is able to do is create an impersonal God. And there is no mention of Jesus whatsoever in trying to articulate faith through reason. And with good reason. Because people don’t rise from the dead. They don’t. That’s absurd. It was then. It is now. Reason tells us that dead people don’t crawl out of the grave three days later. But faith can. Thus, there seems to be an end to reason, especially in the articulation of a distinctly Christian faith. Reason can establish a divine being and a religious system built around that being. But there is nothing distinctly Christian about that. And reason will never be able to fit Jesus Christ as the Bible portrays him into its motif. Reason cannot explain why a God would become a man only to die at the hand of his creation. Conjecture may; reason cannot.
The Christian faith is unreasonable. It is absurd, scandalous, unheard of. If we are to articulate a distinctly Christian faith, we must admit the vast shortcomings of the endeavor to prove Christianity through reason. Because if Christ didn’t rise from the dead, then the Christian faith is meaningless; thus, the Christian faith hinges on an unrealistic event of a human conquering death.