To be human requires both the investment in faith and the support of reason, as well as connection to soul and consciousness.

Faith and faithfulness are the foundation and essential building blocks for a good relationship and mutual trust is built on trustworthiness. A good relationship like marriage is based on a faithful husband and wife, a good friendship and a faithful, rather than fair weathered friend, one where love is present at all times and based on a commonly held truth, that is a belief in each other.

“The Sentiment of Rationality” (1879), James defines” faith as a belief in something concerning which doubt is still theoretically possible”. Faith in the love of our faithful partner or faithful friend supports us to venture forward in the relationship without a guarantee. For neither love nor truth can be guaranteed. Love is an individual experience as it is possible to love another without that love being returned as a condition of that love, whilst it may be perceived a more enjoyable experience to have that love reciprocated it is none the less not a requirement of love.

“The Sentiment of Rationality” (1879), James uses the example of the mountain climber that finds himself in a position from which he can only escape by making an enormous leap.” Supportive of the possibility that without faith survival may be jeopardized and faith becomes more empowering than rational evidence. We must make a choice, because not to choose faith in love and trust of another is in effect to choose against them and thus to lose the possible benefits of the belief and trust of oneself and another, this is the basis and foundation of a good relationship, a good and true friendship, “since the benefits of love promise to be infinite and the loss of love are equally an infinite gamble on faith”. (Louis P. Pojman, 1994 pg 233).

Therefore if you are to make a choice based on something that cannot be proven or disproven, like faith and love, then the option that creates the most opportunity and possibility becomes the goal of the good life as it allows for the most expansive human existence and experience based on faith and trust, even though rational reasoning appears non existent. “In believing, we entrust ourselves to the knowledge acquired by other people.” (Pope John Paul II, n 48 ).

As in the knowledge of their own faithfulness of the good relationship. Two important concepts: of believing as well as acting on that belief. (Richard Swinburne, 1983). What our actions say about the conviction of our beliefs and faith. “Beliefs have consequences for action, for it is part a matter of the way in which one seeks to achieve ones purposes, the goals or ends one seeks to achieve.” (Richard Swinburne, 1983 pg ?) . To follow ones sense of purpose pre supposes a connection with a deeper knowing and a willingness to trust and be guided by that deeper knowing. “Faith and reason are both sources of authority upon which beliefs can rest. Reason generally is understood as the principles for a methodological inquiry, whether intellectual, moral, aesthetic, or religious. Faith, on the other hand, involves a stance toward some claim that is not, at least presently, demonstrable by reason”. (Faith and Reason, EIP, 2001). For we often lack adequate or even, any evidence of a trustee’s trustworthiness in advance of our venture, yet in many such cases we suppose that our trust is entirely reasonable. But, if adequate evidence of trustworthiness is not required for reasonable trust, how is reasonable trust different from ‘blind’ trust?” (Faith, 2010).

This statement implies faith is the same as and interchangeable with trust within the context of a good relationship as a part of the expectation of a good life, yet this implication and expectation requires reason, a reasonable exchange in the giving and receiving of a mutually agreed foundation for a trustworthy and faithful relationship regardless of its application, wife, husband, friend supporting my argument that we require both to be human.

Furthermore, trust is the essential element in all human relationships, without trust we are unable to truly connect with another and begin to live a good life. A good life consists of a set of moral views, values and integrity to uphold and be true to these, that which support a life of service to self and another.
Service to self causes us to look within to establish a sense of identity internally and externally, our families, friends, communities and country all express similar boundaries from within we live. From this place internally we can begin to be of service to family, friends, community, culture and country in a mutually agreeable way that supports a shared view of the good life.

To venture into another community, culture or country we may be confronted with various views that may be outside of those we have come to treasure within the good life model of home and heart, this however offers us the opportunity to transform and evolve our inner world to become adaptable within the constraints of our moral and value aligned boundaries, thus allowing for expansion and co creation of a larger view of our worlds.

This is how I perceived faith as an opportunity to go beyond that, which is known to us, that which has been shaped and forged through family, friends, community culture and country to evolve our experience and embrace a previously aspect of a life expanding the earlier version of the good life to include. Faith takes us beyond the known into the unknown so that we have opportunity to make it known and familiar.

My experience of life appears to suggest a series of patterns that I can rationally observe and make meaning of, from this meaning I am able to influence and shape my experiences to duplicate preferred experiences which also appear to include painful patterns in thinking, emotion and behaviours, this also highlights that my rationale has failed to change those patterns due to moments of unconscious choice, even though I know I have chosen I am also aware of it being almost automatic and it is not until the effect surfaces and I able to rationally observe once again.

Modern day teachings on consciousness suggest that trust that everything happens for a reason requests that we once again return to a state of faith in an unknown source whether through prayer or meditation to help to resolve the consequences of the lapse in rationale that allowed the repeat of a pattern that clearly causes pain. Consciously entering into a series of choices with a known outcome of pain clearly makes no rational sense.

So is this how we are to learn, through errors in thinking, triggering painful feelings and causing irrational behaviour. It therefore appears believable to me as a rational consideration that the mind where rational thought is formed after passing through the reptilian brain, the limbic system and finally ending in the cerebellum we are able to have a wholistic view from which to navigate our lives and orientate toward the good life, faith in a pathway that is unconscious when we choose something other than the good life is required to return us to a sense of hopefulness rather than hopelessness. Faith in a higher power whether a person refers to that as God or another name, becomes necessary when the human experience defies logic and the considered natural order of things. A couple come together create a child with a realistic expectation that they will grow the child and precede them into death, when a child dies before the parent logic does nothing to soothe the heartbreak of the parent, grief allows for a deeper knowing of oneself as we journey within as a protection mechanism from the pain that life is representing. Faith in a belief that this pain will one day end allows for logic and rationale to return in snippets to the mind of the bereaved.

Faith in the unknown to become something greater from which we can learn, evolve and change creates a perceivable even at times temporary acceptance of the cause of the pain and disruption to the good life as we may have perceived it to be. We may in our best efforts to honour this faith rationally follow a series of steps hoping to progress. This faith and rationale becomes an essential ingredient in living a life, good, painful or somewhere in between.

It is within human relationship with self and another that we trust that things will turn out for the greater good of self and those we love in our deepest human connections is at best an act of blind faith that is required to go beyond that which our rational minds can perceive.

To live a good life, which is considered to include four main themes Rational, Relational, Virtues and Pleasure and to have them in a way that balances everything out. To give and receive that which serves the common and highest good of self and another, we are able think and rationally and observe standards, values and morals yet we may often behave in a manner that defies rational thought and is largely an investment in a faith of something beyond that which our minds can conceive.

In conclusion to be human requires a solid investment in faith and reason as close companions through our journey of this life.
Author: Vanessa Auditore

Reference List

Faith and Reason, Internet Encyclopedia of philosophy, Introduction, http://www.iep.utm.edu/faith-re/

Faith, Internet Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2010, Faith as trust, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/faith/#FaiTru

Louis P. Pojman, 1994, The Sentiment of Rationality , Introduction to Philosophy: classical and contemporary readings (New York: Oxford University Press) part 3C, pg 227

Louis P. Pojman, 1994, Introduction to Philosophy: classical and contemporary readings (New York: Oxford University Press) part 3C, pg 233 Faith is a Rational Wager

Pope John Paul II’s Encyclical fides et ratio (faith and reason), Chapter 111: Intellego UT Credum, 27. http://www.ewtn.com/library/encyc/jp2fides.htm

Richard Swinburne, 1984, Faith and Reason, nature of belief volume 13, chp 1, Oxford University press

Richard Swinburne, 1984, Faith and Reason, belief and action, volume 13, chp 1, Oxford university press

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