Posts Tagged ‘apologetics’

Faith and Reason

October 9, 2008

Anselm (similarly Bernard, Origen, Augustine) said, credo ut intelligam. That is, I believe that I might understand. This means that faith precedes reason; faith is not subject to reason. This is the Christian position


But in the Middle Ages, Abelard reversed this by saying: non credendum, nisi prius intellectum (Intro, ii. 3). Which we might translate, ‘I don’t believe anything unless I have previously understood it’. This opened the door to rationalism which subjects faith to itself. Faith believes what God has said and seeks to know what is believed. Hence Augustine spoke of faith seeking understanding.


As an BASIL W. MILLER puts it:


…Abelard thought that first the truth of Christianity appealed to the reason, and then was a matter of credence. With him intellectual comprehension was necessary for belief. His dictum was “Non credendum, nisi prius intellectum,” or in plain language, “Do not believe unless you first know.” While with Anselm it was “credo ut intelligame,” or “Believe that you may know.” In his Introduction to Theology, from which the above quotation is taken (ii, 3), he tried to solve anew the doctrine of the Trinity but the Council of Soissons in 1121 ordered his work burned. Though not an infidel, still many of his doctrines were unsound. He is the medieval father of present day liberalism and new theology.