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Faith and Reason

By James P. McGlone

To the Editors:

"Revolving in Mystery,” by Felix de Rosen, purports to show that religious belief is misguided and backward. Such an idea is severely flawed, however, as belief in God is actually vindicated by reason and consistent with scientific truth.

Mr. De Rosen paints an image of religion as incompatible with reason. Nothing could be further from the truth—theists have long held the powers of human reason in high esteem. In fact, believers have gone so far as to argue that the existence of God can be proven by rational arguments alone, quite apart from revelation. The cosmological argument, for example, begins from the premise that everything in the world is a contingent being, that is, a being that need not have existed and that depends for its existence on some other being. Each object is caused to exist by something outside itself, but that cause too is contingent on something else for its existence. The result is a chain of contingent beings, a chain which is itself contingent, requiring a cause for its existence. The chain can be neither infinite nor circular; ultimately, the most rational conclusion is that there is a necessary, uncaused Something behind the chain that causes everything else but did not have to. That Something, it can be fairly said, is God.

The article’s setting of science and religion against each other is also wholly unwarranted. This juxtaposition simply cannot pass historical muster, for the history of science is littered with religious people. Nicolaus Copernicus, Gregor Mendel, and Georges Lemaître, the first proponent of the big bang theory, for example, were all priests in the Catholic Church. Furthermore, the fact that the beliefs of some religious people contradict our knowledge of the natural world does not imply that religion and science are irreconcilable. I as a Catholic believe that no truth about the natural world could contradict its Creator, and I have yet to learn of any scientific fact that shows otherwise.

Those, like Mr. De Rosen, who have come to doubt or outright reject their religious convictions should realize that there is far more to back them up than divine revelation. Before they fall away from their faith completely, or at least before they deem such belief “ludicrous,” they should engage the rich intellectual tradition of bolstering faith with reason.


James P. McGlone '15

Cambridge, Mass.

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