Faith and Reason in Trinitarian Christianity In any research, debate, or discussion, there is usually a definition of terms. And most questions about faith and reason fail in this vital preliminary exercise.
Reason is a God-given essential to humanity, and it flows from the attributes of a Logical, Orderly God. God expects his creatures to exercise in it (Reread Proverbs where wisdom, knowledge, and understanding are exalted.) God admonished us "to come and let us reason together." (We're not referring to man-originated, rebellious philosophies. 1 Cor. 1:20-21) God is not the Author of confusion, but expects order in His creation: thinking, decision-making...and church services.
Faith must be defined in order to discuss it relation to reason. So many misconstrue it to mean "faith in faith." It is often contrasted with "facts" by modern professors and the cultural media. Many define faith as "a hope so" "by gosh-by golly" "could be" "wishful thinking" idea. And many Christians get sucked into this as well.
But, as Hebrews 11 stated, faith involves substance and evidence. God does not want disciples who merely "take a jump into the dark" or "a leap of faith" not knowing what they are getting into...nor why they should! Rather, to understand real faith, it is mandatory to realize that "Faith always has an object." So what is important is the object of one's faith, not the amount; even a mustard seed size is sufficient, according to Jesus.
So how can a person know it is wise/necessary to have faith in God? By hearing about the God who gives proofs...the God who is not adverse to being searched out...the God who is there and who is not silent...the God who manifests His evidence in creation.
The Metaphysical arguments are not the end (telos) but the precursors to faith (trust in ) in God. They are the removal of weeds so seeds can take root. Proofs are the grease on the hinges of the closed mind so that it will open easily when Christ comes knocking. Proofs remove obstacles so that the Holy Spirit can lead the soul on the path to God without stumbling into doubt!
Proofs merely remind the Atheist of the indisputable facts about our Father's world. The Bible said they already know, it's just that they don't yet want to serve Him.(Romans 1) The proofs leave them with no excuse.
God never made man to be robots to serve Him without a mind (or dedicated heart), but desires man to worship Him according to the first commandment: with all...the mind...as well as the soul, heart, etc. Thus "he that cometh to God, must believe (with his mind)...and that He such an awesome God who rewards His disciples. Factual reasons, evidence, proofs, all help the honest inquirer to believe that He is.
Christianity can be proven with facts and reason but that is a precursor to faith, not a substitute for faith. Once confronted with with the evidence (through dialogue or preaching from a pulpit) the will of man must decide. Trust in God (faith defined) must be activated. (See Romans 10:14-15)
(The posted question, as is poorly written, does not differentiate accurately between the act of proving, and the act of putting faith in God. The phrase "proving without faith" muddies the waters concerning Conversion.) Does the Trinitarian Christian believe Christianity can be proven by factual evidence, but still needs faith to become a dedicated disciple? is a better wording.
All major decisions in life are based on relevant facts before committing: what car to buy, who to marry, whether to have surgery, etc. A "hope so faith" just doesn't work in real life...neither does a hope so (just take it by faith) deision work in choosing a religion. If it did, one could put faith in any religion...but that would be disastrous.
Notice that the Apostle Paul did not hesitate to appeal to the cosmological proof in Romans 1:20. And when speaking to the Athenian scholars, Paul did not hesitate to appeal to several metaphysical arguments. And recall that Jesus Himself gave 5 proofs for belief in John 5, and Peter referred to these same five in his attempt to make disciples on Pentecost! (1) Pure teaching of Jesus backed up by a sinless life, (2) healings and miracles, (3) Fulfilled prophecy, (4) Resurrection from dead, (5) charismatic gifts. (Acts 2)
Of course, to the hard-hearted, no amount of proofs or evidence would suffice, as Jesus noted. But to the honest inquirer God is willing to sit down with him and reason with him. After all, He created the mind for thinking, and even requires worship "with the mind" in the first commandment. Remember again, that anyone coming into fellowship with God must first believe He exists (is). Any evidence that fosters this, is a blessing, a wonderful aid on the way to eternal life with a good God! An entrance to a life of trusting in a benevolent Father.
- Evidences are the cobblestones on the path to the doorstep of the house
- Evidences are the streetlights illuminating the way to belief in the
existence of God.
- Evidences are the jigsaw pieces when put together portray the face of
Jesus as Author and Finisher of the Faith.
- Evidences are the tools in the hands of the Holy Spirit to construct a
temple of faith in the existence of God.
- Evidences are delicious cookie crumbs on the dark forest path of life
leading the hungry soul to the existing God.
- Evidences are the criteria by which the stubborn atheist will be judged
on J-Day (Romans 1:18-20).
- Evidences are the facts which stare a person in the face which he must
deal with in deciding to believe in the existence of God.
- Evidence is the taxi that transports the honest inquirer to life's "fork
in the road" with the Broadway on one side and the narrow path on the