Terry Eagleton’s Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate provides a defense of Christianity from the perspective of a nonbeliever.  He illustrates the necessity to reason about the Christian faith, yet the Christian faith is irreducible to the reasons we have for believing its message.  For instance, I believe that my wife is faithful to the promises she made in the sacrament of marriage.  My reasons for believing this must be greater than the available evidence.  While our faith is rational, our faith also transcends reason and that is the mystery thought cannot penetrate.

Eagleton says, “In Robert Bolt’s play A Man for All Seasons, Thomas More advances a very Catholic defense of reason, declaring that man has been created by God to serve him ‘in wit and tangle of his mind.’  When a new version of the oath of allegiance to the king is produced, More eagerly asks his daughter what the exact wording is.  ‘What does it matter?’ she replies impatiently, taking a stand on the ‘spirit’ or principle of the document.  To which More himself replies in typically papist semantic-materialistic style:  ‘An oath is made of words.  I may be able to take it.’  Yet it is the same More who, when berated by his daughter for not seeing reason and submitting to the king, observes:  ‘Well in the end it’s not a matter of reason.  In the end it’s a matter of love.’  Reasons run out in the end.  But the end is a long time coming” (p. 129-130).

We must push ourselves to know our faith but in the end, there will always be more questions than answers.  We can always say our faith is a mystery but that fails to give God thanks for the gift of intelligence bestowed upon us. 

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