The Catholic position: Faith should be a “reasonable service of God,” not an irrational leap.


How do some people come to have faith? Do they just decide to believe without any reason for believing, as if they took a leap and jumped up onto a cloud? If so, then their faith would have as solid a foundation as a cloud! That method is not for a rational person. It is for such unreasonable and unreasoning ones as Kierkegaard, the Danish Existentialist, who says faith is precisely a leap;1 or Bultmann, grandfather of Form Criticism, who thinks it even sinful to want to have any basis for faith. Rather, says Bultmann, the man of faith, “has nothing in his hand on which to base his faith. He is suspended in mid-air.”2

The Catholic Church does not ask for or even permit such unreasonable thinking. Vatican Council I, quoting Romans 12:1, taught that our faith should be a “reasonable service of God,” not an irrational leap.3 The First Epistle of St. Peter says the same. “Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks of you a reason for the hope that is in you.”(1 Peter 3:15).

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