Thursday, January 15, 2009
QUOTES: Avery Dulles on Faith and Reason
A friend recently asked me what I thought of Barth. I confessed that most of what I knew of him was secondhand, but that he was against natural theology. That is, he upheld a strict division between nature and grace, and therefore a radical division between faith and reason. I ought to read Barth, as he is such an important theologian, but I must admit that doing so feels like a chore. Perhaps I suffer from a "commitment to rationality?" ; )
"A sympathetic Protestant critic of Catholicism, Langdon Gilkey, holds that the drive towards rationality has been one of the distinctive strengths of Catholic Christianity. While making certain reservations, he praises Roman Catholicism for its insistence that the revealed mysteries must be as far as possible ‘penetrated, defended, and explicated by the most acute rational reflection.’ This commitment to rationality has prevented Catholicism, generally speaking, from falling into ‘revelational positivism’ (the fault of which Dietrich Bonhoeffer accused Karl Barth) and the kind of anti-intellectual fundamentalism so prevalent in some sectors of the United States today. Catholic Christianity, valuing both faith and reason, accepts the necessary tensions involved in working out a synthesis that does justice to both."–Avery Dulles, The Catholicity of the Church (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987),53.