Faith and Reason are Like Two Wings


“Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth – in a word, to know himself – so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.” – Pope John Paul II

It’s frustrating that we have so many Christians today that believe they must deny their reason for the sake of their faith.  And it’s unfortunate that we have so many others who believe they must deny their faith for the sake of their reason.

And in all the confusion the rest of us often get the perception that somehow faith and reason are not reconcilable.  Or that we must take one without the other.

This is a false dichotomy.

The Catholic Church has never been one or the other. Both faith and reason are tools that God has given us to find Truth – to find Him.

“Reason and faith cannot be separated without diminishing the capacity of men and women to know themselves, the world and God in an appropriate way.” – Pope John Paul II

Both of these quotes are taken from Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Fides et Ratio. If you haven’t read it – here ya go!  It’s brilliant and enlightening.

14 comments Add comment

rosanna October 19, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Pope John Paul II offered so much insight to the modern day Catholic… to the world at large, believers and non-believers.

The “wings” quote is mentioned by Scott Hahn in his book, Reasons to Believe.

Thanks for a great post.

Lindsay January 7, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Wow…an old post that I just stumbled across. I just had a conversation with some friends last night about this and then lamented to my husband this morning about how the “abandonment of reason” over faith is a social construct developed by Christians as a response to the Age of Reason. God gave us minds to understand and question and explore Him, and it is so unfortunate when Christians judge those who need to reason through their faith as weak and childish. I often say that Thomas gets an unfair assessment by the Christian world. I think he was a thinker, a reasoner, and he was a man who went on to ardently proclaim the truth of Christ, but in our circles of “anti-reason,” he is painted as faithless and fickle. It is so sad, and it forces many people to avoid Christianity simply because they are encouraged against thinking.

Andrea January 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Such a great post. And a great reminder to all Catholics. Being a believer means to never stop learning.


Robert A. Rowland October 1, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Without faith and reason, truth is not discernible.

Stephanie Loomis November 25, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Beautifully phrased. C.S. Lewis said this:
“It is not reason that is taking away my faith: on the contrary, my faith is based on reason. It is my imagination and emotions. The battle is between faith and reason on one side and emotion and imagination on the other.”

*Mere Christianity* Book 3, Chapter 11 “Faith”

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