Faith and Reason

I posted this same question in another forum, but I wanted to ask it here too:

The short version: Are there any modern philosophical apologetic works (I’ve already read many of the classics of centuries past) that defend the coexistence of faith and reason? And if so which ones do you recommend?

The longer and more contextual version: I recently got into a heated argument with a good atheist friend of mine on the issue of theism. It started with his claim that faith is simply irrational. By irrational, he meant incompatible with reason and logic. I argued, like Pascal did in the early stages of his wager (I don’t go as far as he did), that reason can only take us so far. It does not dictate or necessitate the proposition that God exists or that he does not exist. Therefore, reason in its most basic form has nothing to say on the matter of faith.

My fundamental argument boiled down to this: while one can test whether if God leaves you a FedEx package on your doorstep each morning at 8 am, one cannot test if God exists in a proper lab sense. The latter proposition is not-falsifiable, therefore neither reason or science can say much of anything on this specific question of existence.

Needless to say, the conversation did not end well. I lost my temper. There is only so much one can do before the argument, “Believing a zombie came back to life 2,000 years ago is irrational because it is stupid,” becomes highly annoying, especially when my friend kept arguing it. It’s a terrible argument for obvious reasons. And I tried to point them out. I offered the Gospels as historical evidence, but he rejected them as not historical. I then pushed the issue of what necessarily qualifies as historical, which he could not answer coherently. Basically his notion of what is properly historical is grounded in the fundamental notion that only things that are physical exist. This belief of course is completely arbitrary. It’s an infinite claim with only finite evidence. By that very fact, one cannot claim that logic dictates physicalism.

In the end, I feel like I could have made the argument better. I was wondering if there are any apologetic works out there that can help along these lines. I’ve looked at some of William Lane Craig’s books, but I am not sure which one to pick if any. Does anyone have philosophical apologetic books that they can recommend to me?


Excellent recommendations.


Many thanks, I’ll definitely check those out. I’ve also decided to take a gander at these books as well:

Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton

The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss by David Bentley Hart

Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies by David Bentley Hart

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