• January 16th 2009, LaGuardia airport in New York, Airbus A 320 of American Airways
    started its flight for North Carolina with 155 passengers. When the plane reached the height of
    only 3200 feet, pilot Chelsea Ulan Bergen noticed one thing. A flock of straying birds was flying
    in front of the plane. He did not get any instruction from the control room which ought to give
    information about the direction of birds and winds. The entities of science were still and in no
    use. Calculations went wrong. The flocks of birds hit plane and both the engines failed to
    move. Tall buildings and human dwellings are below. Inside the plane there were 155 human
    beings including babies. The pilot has forty years of long experience in this field. But he could
    only close his eyes in utter helplessness with the motionless engines between Heaven and
    Earth. Science and reason are only in script. In these moments of unanswered anxiety, in his
    innermost being, he heard a voice. Here are his own words: “What God inspired me, I did.”
    With the courage and strength he obtained in silent prayer, he instructed the passengers: “Be
    careful all of you; we are going to let the plane down urgently”. Passing through the New Jersey
    Manhattan Shores, he let the plane move to the frozen Hudson River. There was neither any
    powerful explosion nor drowning. Plane was floating on water like a boat. All the passengers
    came out safely.
    This is a very good example of God’s protection and providence. We cannot interpret
    this event with reason; because what happened in this event is beyond reason. But faith and
    reason (religion and science) are two realities of human life.

    Mutually Complementary


    When faith and reason (Religion and Science) mutually support and complement,
    there will be peace and progress in the world. In 1951, Pope Pious the XIIth said to the
    members of ‘Pontifical Academy of Science’: “as if God stands behind every door which
    science opens hopefully, the more the genuine science progresses, the more it manifests
    God.” Material science can understand more about creatures through observation and experiments
    and thus lead man to the creator through it. Linnaeus the Nature Scientist once
    said: “My soul behold God’s image in creatures and I am dumbfounded.”
    Scientists like Galileo (1564-1642), Kepler (1571-1630), Isaac Newton (1642-1727),
    Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), Louis Pasteur (1822-1845), Albert Einstein (1879-1955),
    Gaillard D’ Sheridan (1887-1955) proclaimed God’s glory and praised God through their
    inventions. They prayed continuously for the success of their scientific investigations. Once
    Albert Einstein wrote: “I cannot imagine of a real scientist who did not have profound faith.
    Science without religion is defective; religion without science is blind”. Bacon says thus: “A little
    science keeps man away from God. Complex and wide science leads man to God.”

    False Thought of Rationalists


    The great scientists have concluded that faith and reason or religion and science are
    mutually dependent and complimentary. But recently humanity faces two problems.
    1. There is nothing immaterial and supernatural. The argument is that there is only this
    material universe exists.
    2. There is another thought that faith is simply personal. Individualistic feelings, experiences
    and reason have no place in it. People who spread this idea are those who like to be
    addressed as radicals among the faithful.
    Taking into account these modern false trends, Pope John Paul II wrote: “Faith and
    reason are like the two wings for the human mind to fly towards the meditation of truth. God has
    placed in man a desire to know oneself- to know the truth. Knowing and loving God, man
    should reach the perfection of truth about himself” (Fides et Ratio).

    Ways to Know the Truth


    It is natural for man to seek the truth. It is an inborn method. It is a spiritual necessity.
    But the means to know the truth are sensory experiences, reasoning, faith and intuition.
    Materialists like the first two means. They argue that the last two means are not rational. An
    average believer considers only the last two as truthful.
    However, all the four are doctrinal means to know the truth. Philosophers of the East
    and the West are of the same opinion about this. In the midst of differences of language,
    culture and race, the question man asks to seek the truth is the same:
    1) Who am I?, 2)How is the beginning and the end of the universe?, 3)Why is there evil
    n this world?, 4) What is the meaning of life?, 5)What happens after death?
    These questions are philosophical. They seek truth beyond material world. Hence, in a mixed field
    of faith and reason alone, we can find out the answers. If we avoid one, the
    answer will be incomplete.

    Meaning of ‘Believing’


    For Christians faith is a gift. It is for a charisma that enables man to see the invisible
    God and accept Him and to surrender himself totally to God. Thirst for God is imprinted in
    human heart because man is created by God and for God. God never cease from attracting
    man to Him. Man will get the truth and bliss, which he constantly seeks, only from God. Unless
    man accepts this reality and surrender himself to the creator, he cannot lead a complete life in
    Throughout history, until today, man has given expression to his search for God
    through religious beliefs, ceremonies and practices, prayers, sacrifices, expressions of
    worship, meditation etc. Such forms of religious expression are universal. Man should try to
    approach God and maintain relationship with Him through these. But the relationship between
    God and man based on faith can be forgotten, ignored or even rejected externally. (This is an
    important reason for this trend). Important reasons for this are the evils in this world, religious
    ignorance and lack of interest, the anxieties of this world, riches, misunderstanding due to the
    scandal given by the faithful, antireligious thoughts and sometimes man’s tendency to hide
    himself from God out of fear and to run away from his vocation (GS.19-21).
    Still, God never rests from calling each man to seek Him. In this search for God, total
    effort of intellect and truthfulness of mind are necessary. This is termed as reason. This is not a
    rational argument of the atheists.

    The Relevance of Reason


    Reason is a gift of God. It is an intellectual process analyzing and discerning the
    relation between fact and reason behind it. Objectivity and precision are its hallmarks. It helps
    to read faith, which is beyond the senses in human circumstances. But rationalism is different.
    Rationalists are people who interpret that anything which cannot be preceded by
    reason is not reality and the idea or imagination about God cannot be proved by reason and
    hence it is not a reality. Their argument is that anything that is not experienced by senses is not
    reality. They think that man’s ignorance and weakness are the source of faith in God. They
    think that God is an imagination of man; i.e. man coined a reason to explain the manifestations
    of the universe for which he could not find a real reason and God is that reason for them.
    Rationalists say that the unsolved sorrows and miseries of this life and the anxieties they
    produce helps to develop and maintain this imagination.
    Rationalists hold high or highlight the material achievements of science. Man
    conquered space. They claim that through modern genetic experiments we can conquer death.
    But real scientists who have profound scientific knowledge points out that the little
    knowledge of rationalists is dangerous. Important among them are five means.

    Rational Faith


    The presence of God is reflected in all creation. The Psalmist proclaims that the
    creation is filled with divine light and glory. Man’s intellectual and mental capacities are the
    created forms of God’s power. By this very fact, these capacities can lead him to God. Ist
    Vatican Council teaches that human intelligence can understand the existence of God. “Man’s
    natural intelligence can undoubtedly know the only true God, our creator and Lord with the
    help of creatures”. Man the seeker of truth, created in the image and likeness of God and
    called to know and love Him uses his intelligence and finds out certain ways to know God.


    Five Means

    St. Thomas Aquinas points out five arguments which help us to be convinced of the
    existence of God.
    1. The universe we see is moving. There must be a Lord who moves the universe. The
    Lord that moves the universe is God.
    2. No object is the cause of its origin. There must be a cause different from it for each
    object. There must be a cause for the origin of this big world. And he is God.
    3. Experience teaches us that all things are provisional and have a beginning and end.
    There should be an eternal cause for the beginning of temporary things. God, who has
    no beginning and end, is that eternal essence.
    4. We see virtues like truth, goodness and beauty in various measures in different
    created objects. It is not reasonable to attribute the origin of these different virtues to
    the creatures. There must be an infinite goodness who gave share of His goodness in
    different measures. That total goodness is called God.
    5. We see the cosmos and all the creatures therein moving towards a goal like the
    arrow that darts towards its goal. Just as there is a shooter behind the moving arrow
    that flies towards the goal, there is one who controls the proper systematic movement
    of the universe. That person or controller is God.
    There is an arena of faith in man above the zones of philosophy and materialism.
    Even in life, we act on the basis of faith. Those who travel in vehicles believe that the drivers will
    take them to their destination safely. Modern science itself has proved that there is a ‘Godspot’
    in every man. Faith above reason is ultimately the basis of human existence. Conviction
    of the Church is that faith and reason sustains mutually. They influence each other, and offer
    purifying criticism.


    II. Let us Discuss


    1. How will you convince a co-student who says that reason alone is truth and faith is
    mere emotional feeling about the relevance of faith?
    2. Share in your group one or two experiences of divine providence in your life.


    III. Activity

    I will try to bring to a life of faith people who keeps themselves away from faith.

    IV. Let us Enlighten our Hearts

    “All things can be done for the one who believes” (Mk. 9:23).

    Find out Answers

    Let us Enlighten our Hearts