Book of Nature, Episode 4: Faith and Reason

In episode 4, it is a period of civil war.  Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base… wait, wrong franchise!

Ahem, in episode 4, Dan Dawson hosts a discussion with Todd Pedlar and Charles Hackney on the relationship between faith and reason.  The trio holds forth on the nuanced (and, yes, reasonable) definitions and practices of faith among Christian believers over and against the simplistic caricatures that abound in popular secular critiques.  Despite conversing for almost 90 minutes, they barely scratch the surface of this complex yet incredibly important topic in today’s world.

  • Opening banter about the weather (what else?).  And Dan still doesn’t know where Charles lives.
  • Listener feedback:  Where have we been? The Christian Humanist Network gremlin. Requests from Chen Bu Lei for future episode topics.  Radioactive robot zombies.
  • Dan throws out dictionary definitions of faith.  Todd describes faith as expounded in scripture and compares with these definitions.  Proper interpretation of the greek noun “p’istis”. What does Hebrews 11:1 mean?
  • Charles discusses treatment of faith in the psychological literature, including one psychologist’s change of heart from “faith is ridiculous and will eventually disappear” to a more nuanced and respectful position towards faith and people of faith.
  • Dan throws out dictionary definitions of reason, and the trio critiques them and their relationship to faith as discussed previously.  Consensus on a proper Christian understanding of faith as a belief grounded in–yet not reducible to–evidence and reason.
  • Dan quotes popular “New Atheist” definitions of faith.  Is faith belief in the absence of, or even in spite of the evidence?  Todd criticizes this stance. Dan mentions 1 Peter 3:15 as apropos.
  • Todd and Charles repudiate atheist philosopher Peter Boghossian’s claim that the vast majority of believers indeed operate under the “without evidence” definition of faith.  Dan and Charles discuss a recent debate on Premiere Christian Radio’s podcast “Unbelievable” between Boghossian and Christian philosopher Tim McGrew.
  • Wrap up.  Advice to young Christian intellectuals struggling with the apparent dichotomy between faith and reason.  How even a “childlike” faith is based on reason and experience.

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