Often, both Christians and skeptics assume that Christianity has little to do with reason and relies solely on faith, often termed “blind faith” or “faith without evidence.” They agree with Benjamin Franklin, who said, “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason” (Poor Richard’s Almanack, Peter Pauper Press, 1987, p. 16). Christians with a negative view of reason may see reason as useful in other aspects of life but introducing an element of doubt in Christianity.
Atheists and other irreligious individuals often portray believers as wishful thinkers and self-deluded chumps to whom reason is dispensable. However, Scripture contradicts the notion that Christianity shuns reason.
Reasoning involves evaluating facts, making judgments, justifying choices with evidence, and attempting to persuade with solid arguments. The Christian worldview provides a robust foundation for reasoning, especially considering the immaterial, immutable, and transcendent nature of the laws of logic that underpin all forms of thinking. These laws are beyond human convention; they are discovered rather than invented. In a world without God, it would be difficult to say how these laws of logic came to be. However, the Christian perspective has the answer: the laws of logic “are simply a reflection of the thoughts and logical character of God, and as such, they reveal His logical, perfect nature” (Wallace, J. W., “Is God Real? Are the Laws of Logic Simply Human Conventions?” 1/16/19, https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/is-god-real-are-the-laws-of-logic-simply-human-conventions, accessed 9/18/23; see 2 Timothy 2:13; Numbers 23:19; James 1:17; Romans 1:20).
Furthermore, Scripture teems with examples of individuals, including God, making sound judgments and reasoning with others. Abraham, facing Sodom and Gomorrah’s judgment, reasoned with the Lord to spare the towns if some righteous people lived within (Genesis 18:16–33). Moses reasoned with God in Exodus 32:9–14, while God Himself urged the Israelites to reason with Him (Isaiah 1:18). Jesus engaged in logical discourse during His time on earth, and His teachings amazed listeners (Matthew 7:28–29; Mark 1:21–22; Luke 4:31–32). Paul, arguably the first Christian apologist, spent much time reasoning with people (see Acts 17:2–4, 16–34; 19:8–10). As Christians, we are called to have a good reason for our hope (1 Peter 3:15).
Biblical faith is not opposed to reason. Indeed, Christian men such as Thomas Aquinas and Francis Schaeffer have left a legacy of writings reconciling faith and reason. The view that faith and reason are opposed comes from a faulty definition of faith. Faith, in Scripture, isn’t belief without evidence; it’s confident trust arising from conviction. People of faith are convinced by evidence. For example, the resurrected Christ “gave many convincing proofs that he was alive” (Acts 1:3), and people believed. The Greek word for “faith,” pistis, is related to the verb peitho, meaning “to be persuaded.” Faith in Christ is a conviction that He is real and His Word true. There are solid reasons behind the faith.
Even as we reconcile faith and reason, we should be careful about overemphasizing reason and logic. First Corinthians 1:18–25 says the gospel can appear foolish to those who rely solely on human reasoning, as God’s wisdom surpasses ours. Human logic is limited and forms only one aspect of our existence. Indeed, it is unreasonable to think we can understand everything, especially when it concerns God and His ways (Deuteronomy 29:29; Isaiah 55:8–9; Romans 11:33–34; Ecclesiastes 3:11). Rather than lean on our understanding, we are to trust God (Proverbs 3:5–6).
Reason is one of many tools God uses to draw people to Himself. Reason helps us navigate the world, but it makes a terrible idol.