In a message dated Tue, 22 May 2001 9:56:45 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]> writes:
<< At 02:24 PM 05/22/2001 +0100, you wrote:
>I very much doubt Eliot would have agreed with this idea that he turned to
>religion 'in defiance of reason'. I think he saw it rather in defense of
> >-- and considered that he did so in
> >defiance of reason.
That one caught my attention, too. Is there something outside of AW that prompts your statement?
Ken Armstrong >>
Some thoughts further to this, beginning with a quote from a url on Locke, concerning faith and reason:
"Locke on Reason and Faith.
The issue of the relation between reason and faith was very important in the seventeenth century (a period of religious and political strife in England). Some religious positions are important with respect to Locke:
Extreme fideism: "Credo quia impossibile." Here the idea is that the very absurdity of faith is a reason for religious belief. Faith, in this view is epecialy worthy because it goes against reason: it's a mark of faith to belive against all evidence. [**I believe this may be misreading of the quote from Tertullian. TAK]
* * *
Locke distinguishes between reason and faith:
Reason is the inferring or demonstrating of certain or probable truths from the ideas gotten through experience. [COMPARE: "There it, it seems to us, at best, only a limited value in the knowledge derived from experience. The knowledge imposes a pattern, and falsifies, for the pattern is new in every
moment . . ."TAK] With respect to reason, statements can be divided into three categories:
1. statements in accordance with reason, i.e., truths arrivable at by reason.
2. statements contrary to reason, i.e., inconsistent with what we know to be true, e.g., more than one God; trinity (probably)
3. statements above reason, i.e., consistent with what we know to be true, but unarrivable by reason. ex. resurrection; divinity of Christ; virgin birth.
Faith is the acceptance of revelation. For Locke:
1. the proper realm of faith is statements above reason. Hence faith goes beyond reason but cannot contradict it.
2. One must have reasons for believing that alleged revelation is true revelation. Ex. immoral precepts disqualify, since reason tells us God is good.
Hence, importance of the rational study of the sources of revelation: textual exegesis of Scriptures
NOTE: So, Locke accepts that if P is divinely revealed we ought to accept it; however, he wants proof that P is divinely revealed.
3. Reason demands the rejection of credo quia impossibile and of enthusiasm.
NOTE: Since Lk. accepts revelation, he isn't a deist."
Depending on what one accepts as consistent with experience, Eliot's conversion to a literal form of Christianity may be seen as beyond reason, consistent with reason, or inconsistent with reason. As I understand the Tertullian quote: "I believe because it is impossible," he was arguing that the resurrection should not be deemed to have been invented to fool the credulous masses, because they would be more readily fooled by a story less at odds with their experience. Thus, reason tells us that the story was not invented for this purpose, which gives us greater reason to believe that it is true. In this sense, faith may be seen as in conflict with reason, even if it is reason that convinces one that the inherent unreasonableness of an assertion is evidence, in context, of its truth.
Now, goodbye -- my head hurts. Or is that my soul?