Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Canto FIve Question 5

Dante believed faith was the most important value in life. Next to faith, however, he saw reason as the highest human value. How do you define faith and reason? Which is more valid in today's world? Why? Give examples to support your position.


Blogger David L said...

To me, reason is a logical process that uses "scientific" or worldly proof to show ideas, while faith is a belief in something, be it God or a higher power or anything, that may not have physical evidence to justify that belief. I would say that in the society we live in today, reason is more valid than faith. With the freedom of religion and expression we have in this country, it is very hard for people to agree on faith in one certain thing. On the other hand, reason is a language that everyone speaks, so to speak. We are all taught from a young age to think logically, and to back up our ideas with physical, understandable proof. While I think it is important to have faith in something in life, I also think that faith is the main cause of conflict in our world. Look at the crusades, the fighting in the Middle East over the "Holy Land", or even 9/11. These conflicts are all products of differences in faith and beliefs. With reason, however, once something is proven to be true, there can no longer be any real argument about it. Reason is more valid than faith in today's world because it is universal, no matter what your faith is.

January 17, 2007 1:54 PM  
Blogger Nick W said...

I agree with david that reason is more valid in today's world. Reason is something that people show to express how they are feeling and what they feel is true. Faith is a belief in a certain belief in God or an idea, belief is the way people live by. Reason is a way of thinking. In today's world people believe in many different things, in different gods in different ideas about our country. Reason is the way we think through those ideas and elaberate on what we want to say. You may live by what you say, but your reason for believing in that idea is what keeps you living the way you do.

January 17, 2007 2:48 PM  
Blogger CaitlinO said...

Reason to me, is more like somehting you prove. Faith, is more like a belief in something like religion. I think that reason is more valid in today's world. Reason is like 2+2=4, most people could say that they can prove that, they could say that 2+2=4 is a fact. Faith is more of something that you don't know for sure, but you believe. I feel like reason is something you can back up, like logically 2+2=4. With faith, it's not as much as a definate answer.

January 17, 2007 4:51 PM  
Blogger jessg said...

I define faith as being able and willing to believe in an idea or a person, when you might not have a concrete reason to do so. Reason to me means being enlightened, informed and clear headed (or grounded) enough to think through an idea or set of ideas in a reasonable manner. To be able to honestly answer which of these ideas I value more, I have to consider several things. First off, which do we encounter first in our life? Because from a young age we learn to trust in our parents, and have faith that what they say is right, it seems as though faith is more vital to the human race. But then, you must also consider that it is through reason that our elders are able to teach us for which we instill our faith in them. Asking this question seems much like asking the question, which came first, the chicken or the egg? It really seems as though the answer depends on how you look at it and the place you currently are in your life. I suppose if you look at the two ideas on a larger scale, faith comes out as the victor. Because the definition of faith, in its purest form, is a never changing idea which people have fallen back on time and time again to lead them through troubled times, it proves to be more important. Societies definition of faith is continually changing, which means that it isn't a very stable concept making it seem less important. When people are in a crisis, they turn to faith not reason. After 9/11 people all though the US found comfort in their families and through faith that the US would "bounce" back and be ok our nation was able to move on and continue on a day to day basis. It wasn't through reason that the people of this country managed their feelings. It wasn't like people turned to a magic formula to fix their problems. People turned to their faith, which is why I think faith is most important.

January 17, 2007 7:04 PM  
Blogger Amy K said...

I believe that the human race has formed its own definition of reason. Today in class, for example, it was brought up that murder and rape is worse than telling a lie or stealing. In that aspect, I think that our "reason", or explanation/logic, is based off of a wordly view. No, you can't argue that 2+2=4, but who has determined the set of "rules" that we live by deciding what is reasonable/right and what is not? I'm a firm believer that all sin is still sin in the eyes of God and I believe that only He knows the heart and can make the judgement calls in the end..so it makes me wonder if all of OUR "reason" and answers to the questions on earth are bs (sorry!) because we, as humans, created it to be that way to make sense of everything we don't understand in the world...I don't know, just a thought..I believe in faith..I believe it is most important to possess..I don't know where I would be without it (I realize that is my opinion)and I would say that faith came before reason..God has been there the whole time, and I really think that while we, as humans, have to make sense of everything, we won't understand everything on earth..so it is left up to faith

January 17, 2007 10:44 PM  
Blogger Scott M said...

I would define faith as the belief in things that you cannot see or have concrete proof of. Where as reason I would say is comprehending or thinking to come to things logically. It makes since to me that Dante would say that you need faith to get to heaven because that is the way I think God designed it. If you have faith then that is showing trust in God, something you cannot see directly, and that shows him you are willing to follow him. If there was concrete proof that God existed then I think that everyone would believe since there could be no one that would say that he didn’t exist. I think you can come to some understanding of God just by reason because you could reason that there was an outside force that started the universe. So I think Dante is completely right about the whole faith versus reason thing and I think it still applies to today even though our world seems to be all about analyzing everything as much as possible today.

January 18, 2007 10:14 AM  
Blogger ashleym said...

Faith is the belief in a higher power or a belief in an object or person that its in tangible and that cannot be seen. Reason is the ability for a person to use their mind and logic to guide them through life and the curves that life throws them. In order for a person to believe some thing is real they need tangible evidence and proof. Reason is more valid in
today's society because more people to have the answer sitting right in front of them so they can reach out a grab it. I agree with Caitlin reason is certain, it is concrete. Faith, although some people believe what it is that they have faith in is true, is not really certain. There is no solid concrete evidence that God exists. It's not like he is just walking the streets or making speeches nation wide.

January 18, 2007 12:47 PM  
Blogger AdamSG said...

Faith is something you can choose to believe in that isnt there. While reasoning is the ability to comprehend. I believe reasoning is the highest human characteristic there is. Without reasoning there wouldn't be faith. There would be no way of being able to understand what faith is, or what we believe. Everything that we stand for and create, such as faith, is all possible because of reasoning. Through reasoning we give things meaning and importance; take money for example. Without reasoning money would not exist. Without reasoning, praying wouldn't have a real value because we wouldn't understand its purpose.
Faith is only important because we have our own personal reasoning for its importance.

January 18, 2007 3:00 PM  
Blogger TaylorW said...

I believe that faith is the absolute belief in something unknown or unexplainable. It is different from belief in that beliefs will change throughout your life. However, I think that faith is something that stays with you your entire life. If you believe in a god, and truly believe in a god, then you will truly never change that belief. Also, like amy said, I think that humanity has created its own definition of reason. We believe that science and logic are the only answers to life on earth. But what if the true reason in life is faith. That is the only reason that you are alive, is to believe and have faith in a higher being. But the reasoning that humanity has created is the only accepted reasoning. Poeple who think otherwise are discredited and sometimes exhiled. But no one will honestly know what the true reason of life is until they die. Right now, all we truly have is faith.

January 18, 2007 3:02 PM  
Blogger ashleyg said...

Faith and reason, in my opinion are two different things. Faith is what you believe and reason is kind of your back up, or your reasons or motives why you believe or have that faith. However, I also think that faith can be your beliefs and reason can be like the reality. An example would be your friends wanting you to do some thing,this would be the reason, and this thing according to your beliefs is not right so you don't want to do it (faith). This probably makes no sense to the rest of you but it does to me, I just can't figure out how to say it in a way that everyone would get.

January 18, 2007 3:27 PM  
Blogger ashleyg said...

So I went back and read some of the previous responses and pretty much how I was TRYING to word my response is pretty much explained in caitlins response.

January 18, 2007 3:29 PM  
Blogger melissa b said...

Faith is a firm belief in something for which there is no proof for that belief. Everyone can have different beliefs but reason on the other hand is different. Reason is the power of comprehending, inferring, or even thinking especially in "orederly" rational ways. And a statement in an explanantion or justification. Reason, one can explain and prove, but faith can some one prove what they believe?

January 18, 2007 5:35 PM  
Blogger StaceyK said...

I believe faith and reason are two different things, but they do go hand in hand. Reason describes faith, in some cases reason tells the truth of life. Faith is what you think is true in life. I think reason is more valid in today's world, only beacuse of all the crime that happens, and a person needs reason to do a crime and reason to get out of something. Faith describes more of a religion perspective in today's world. I think Dante believed in faith more is beacuse he wanted to trust God and be in hevean, he didn't want to have a reason not to go to hevean.

January 18, 2007 5:49 PM  
Blogger Haley C said...

Faith is a belief in something that may or not be real. It is something to try and explain the unexplainable. i disagree with caitlin to a degree. Reason is not something that we have learned such as 2+2=4. That is something that has been pounded into our brains. I think that reason is something that we have to come up with by thinking. I think that reason and faith go hand and hand. Faith gives people a reason to believe in a god. it gives them a reason to live. Melissa, not everyone has the same reasons. That would be boring. in math everyone has to get the same exact answer but when writing a paper, everyone is going to have different reasons about everything.

January 18, 2007 5:49 PM  
Blogger alexmu said...

I agree with caitlin and ashley when they say that faith and reason have different definitions. Although they have different definitions, they go hand-in-hand. Faith is something that you truly believe in (such as religion), and reason is the explanation of why you believe in that faith. Without reasoning, it would be difficult to have faith because there would be no explanation of why you have trust in that faith. In some cases, faith is taught, such as in church, and in other instances, it comes naturally, something that you just strongly believe in without being taught it.

January 18, 2007 6:14 PM  
Blogger sonnyw said...

Reason is not absolute. In order to derive an answer with reason, one must start with a set of assumptions and then work logically toward a conclusion--kind of like writing out a mathematical proof. The thing is, not everyone starts their reasoning process with identical assumptions, because not everyone has grown up with the same genes and in the same environment. And contrary though it seems, our reasoning process is actually based fundamentally on faith. The assumptions that we use as basis for our reasoning have to be arbitrarily believed in order for logic to work.

Take for example two nearly identical people. Both believe in a single, omnipotent god. One believes the Bible is the word of God; the other believes the Quran is the word of God. Each, upon reading their respective books, could reason thusly: "Since God is omnipotent, the passages written here must be undeniably true." Based on the two simple assumptions each has made, they could reach completely opposite conclusions about what is right, what is virtuous, and what is moral. The funny thing is, each could deem the other's ideas as false--declaring that their reasoning was based off a bad assumption--and they would both be correct.

I guess I'm essentially just disagreeing with Adam. I would reword his final statement as: "Reason is only important because we have faith in its importance."

January 18, 2007 7:25 PM  
Blogger levik said...

I strongly agree with Amy K. She brought up a very good point in that no person will ever understand everything that there is to understand. Because of this, people rely on their faith more than reason. You may say that if you had enough time on earth, you could find every answer, but doesn't that mean that you have faith that everything can be figured out?
In terms of Christianity, the Bible tells us that we are not supposed to comprehend how God came about. People ask who created God? This question, pertaining to our faith vs. reason conversation, is answered by faith. We must believe and have faith in God, and the Bible tells us that. No one can figure out, or reason, this event. There have been many theories, but they are just that. I think that people rely on faith much more than reason today, and for good reason. Haha.

Sure reasoning is used a lot, but in the end faith holds us together.

January 18, 2007 7:25 PM  
Blogger KatieA said...

Faith is believing in something blindly. It is believing in something that may not be real but you believe in it with all your heart, no matter what. Reason is logic in a way. I guess reason could be a mex of faith and logic. It is a way to make sense of life and the things that happen, you need reason to understand. It is more valid in life to live with reason. I live with reason in my life so that I can make sense of why things happen. I DO NOT believe that all things happen for a reason. To live with faith most people believe things happen for a reason. That is why i do not live with faith.

January 18, 2007 9:01 PM  
Blogger Kyle G said...

Everybody seems to be narrowing faith down to just religious beliefs. It is much broader than that, everybody has faith, even those that don't believe in God or any religion. A person can have faith in a friend, or a family member, a sports team, their country, just about anything. So I agree that faith is believing, but not necessarily in something that may or may not be real. Someone can believe that a close friend is trustworthy, or that their favorite football team is going to win their next game, both things that are very real, and usually tangible.

As for reason, I agree with Sonny in that we have to have faith in order to have reason. We have to believe that what we have reasoned is true, because when you think about it 2+2=4 may be a fact, but that doesn't force us to believe that it is true. I know that that may not make sense, but you have to open your minds and think on it a little bit first. I don't really believe that reason is fact anyway, I think it is more of the conclusion that we as people come up with when faced with... anything really. I also think that our reasoning can be shaped and influenced by our faith, hence why everybody tends to come up with different reasons for different things.

That all being said, I think that faith is more important to humans and always has been. Whether or not one belongs to a religion, we all have faith in something, and we all have faith in our reasoning.

January 18, 2007 9:13 PM  
Blogger ZachM said...

I think reason has pretty much been defined so I'm not going to spend time doing that, but I think that reason is probably used more often today in society and has a more day to day impact on our lives. I think faith however is the more important of the two. Faith is the belief in something that is not true at the moment or you cannot prove is true. I guess I really don't believe that you can go through life without faith in something and have a worthwhile existence. Whether it is faith in yourself, your fellow man, or God, we all strive to better ourselves and the world around us (at least I hope we do). Katie, I don't believe all things happen for a reason but I do have faith in the fact that I can make the world a better place through my actions. To me, faith is the hope or dream of something better or grander.

January 18, 2007 9:23 PM  
Blogger LeAnneC said...

I agree with Sonny that reason is based upon an idea or an assumption, and that the mind works through it to make sense of it. I have never really thought of it that way. I think that reason is something that that isn't necessarily correct but rather something that we have come to believe makes sense.

I believe that faith is something that brings us hope. I don't think that this necessarily has to be a god or a person. I think it is something or anything that drives us towards a greater goal and ultimately is inspiration.

In society today I think that reason is valued more. It seems like people are more thoughtful in their decisions and rarely jump into things and leave it to the heart. Maybe it's just me, but it seems that I think about consequences more than just following my heart. I think that in order to achieve harmony, one must find a balance. An example of where reason is used more is a selection in job and college major. More people think about money and how to have the ultimate life of riches and fame, than to do what they love. I mean how many times do you hear people complain that they hate what they do and wish they could have gone back and changed it?

January 18, 2007 9:30 PM  
Blogger alex ma said...

I agree with Ashley and Katie about reason being more valid in todays society. But if you look at Dante's time, it's pretty clear why faith was the most important.

Look at what they said about the things they didn't know (faith). They believed that the earth was a giant pancake with a whole bunch of other stuff surrounding it. The center of the universe. That's what they told their children and thats what they believed. Generally, the populous didn't have reason. They didn't question their parents or whoever told them. They just believed in it- they had blind faith.

That's why I think that reason is more important than faith in today's society. How did we get to where we are today? How did we become as advanced as we are scientifically? By somebody questioning what somebody else said. And then proving it.

Sure religion is a big part in just about everybody's life, even mine, but I have trouble having complete faith that my "way", my "beliefs", and my "faith" is the right way and the only way. If I'm Christian and I believe that every other faith is wrong, that's a whole lot of people in the world who are "wrong". We can't just say somebody's wrong without reason or explanation or proof. Who knows, maybe in another 700 years those people will look back at us and say how wrong we were about religion (not to mention the other things we blindly believe in), because we focused more on faith than reason.

January 18, 2007 9:32 PM  
Blogger DaveV said...

To me the fact that Dante believes faith is the most important value and second is reason...is a little bit odd to me. Like zach said, faith is something that you may believe but can't necessarily prove. And thanks to lyons' nice definition of reason it's clear that it is something that logical or has worldly proof. The two contradict each other too much, which confuses me to why Dante such a minor difference on the two, in terms of importance. But, I'm not gonna lie, sonny makes a very valid point that all reason i just based off of things we have been told...what makes them the basis of reason really? I guess in that case reason and faith are very similar in the sense that you must have faith in the belief that what youve learned is truth. Hmm..

January 19, 2007 12:29 AM  
Blogger Mark C said...

I find it hard to answer the question, only because of the phrase, "today's world." I am not sure time has changed the importance of reason or faith, even though society's view on each had changed. Therefore, I think faith has been and still is more important and valid. Faith is not human nature; it is trusting in something or someone else as opposed to relying on yourself. Everyone would rather reason through how the world was created as opposed to believing something they were told. Faith is harder, but more important. I agree with Dante that faith will get you to heaven while reason will not. Not only that, but also faith each day, trusting in God, is putting your stress and fear into His hands and this will make you successful. No one can live life perfectly alone and everyone needs a true basse in their life that they can trust. The most reliable base that can be in your life is God.

Basically, faith is more important and valid because not only can you recieve salvation, but also your life is much easier while you trust God. Even though society overall may view reason as being more valid, faith provides things reason never will.

January 19, 2007 6:05 AM  
Blogger asaetveit said...

Faith i see a devotion to something you believe, and reason I define as logic for why something is done or what should be done. reason is more valid in todays world but faith helps people find the answers that can not be answered or faith can let you leave the answers be. A baby can be born with a birth defect and a doctor may or may not be able to give a reason. But faith can say that you should love this baby no matter what give to he or she anything and give it even more love and happiness because the baby needs that.

January 19, 2007 7:32 AM  
Blogger chrisg said...

I would define faith as being able to believe in something no matter what happens. It would not matter how horrible things got, you would still believe. Also, faith can be believing in something that you do not fully understand without having to know the correct answer. Reason is different than faith because reason is trying to find the answer for everything. I see reason as being more of a scientific characteristic that many religions do not neccessarily need. I think that reason is more seen in today's world, so I think that faith is needed more. Today no one can just believe without knowing the answer, but there are many things that cannot be answered. Like in the movie The Santa Clause, with Tim Allen, the major line in that movie was "seeing is not believing, believing is seeing." I still feel reason is important today, but faith seems to be less aparent today. Reason is definately a more valid idea in our world.

January 19, 2007 8:05 AM  
Blogger zverges said...

I believe that faith and reason are both equally important in their own ways. While faith can give you the drive for doing good and being a virtuous person, reason gives you the means and the mental capability to do so. I agree with the idea that Kyle has about faith, it is not just a religious belief, but everyone has faith and everyone uses faith to some extent. Most of our faith comes from experiences that we have had, whether they be religious or not, experience is experience. A much broader spectrum of ideas and understanding gives us faith in something. However, we can use the logic and reason that we have to help create a stronger faith in what we believe in. For example, someone can watch the NFL draft and see that the Raiders are going to get the highest picks. Using their reason, they can then determine that the Raiders will be a better team next year. Now that reason has kicked in saying that the Raiders will be a better team next year, that person may decide to devote some level of faith in them as a team because of their growth. (Not that anyone would actually choose to like the Raiders) On the other hand, someone could have faith in the Broncos because they are our home team, and then reason could override their faith because of all of the disappointment created during the season. Ultimately, I agree with Dante that faith and reason are both vitally important in the lives that we live each day. Also, without either of these aspects, our lives would be quite dull and meaningless.

January 19, 2007 8:06 AM  
Blogger AmyB said...

I definitely believe that faith is so much more important than reason, mostly because faith is something inside of you that drives you toward your wants and needs. Even though reason is important in decision making and other aspects of life, i think that faith comes from within and is so much more powerful than reason. Faith is something that no one can fight you on, no one can tell you that your faith is wrong. I think that without faith i would be lost. Faith has kept me from making so many mistakes in my life and its always there for me. Its something that even though you cant see it, you know its there. Faith is the driving force within you, its what keeps you from drowning.

January 19, 2007 9:48 AM  
Blogger NathanK said...

It seems like almost everyone is automatically relating faith and religion. They do go hand in hand but that is not the only faith a person needs to have. We need to have faith in other people to do what is right and trust them with many parts of our daily lives. Such as people in power, we know that there are things powerful people can get away with but we trust them not to because we have faith that they will do what is right.

Of the two I believe that faith is more important. Reason can only show us so much before we just can’t understand any more and the full time we are reasoning we are putting more and more faith into how true it is. I like how Sonny put it, “Reason is only important because we have faith in its importance." If we never believed in what we found out then we would never consider anything “true.”

January 19, 2007 9:57 AM  
Blogger jeffg said...

My definition of faith is hoping, believing, and knowing of things which are not seen which are true! And to me, faith is the most important thing of all. Faith is much more important than reason. Reason is man's twist on things, whereas faith is God's eternal principle of truth.

There are many things which prove that reason cannot always coincide with God's teachings. In history class last year, we learned that one civilization had a very powerful ruler that had complete control over his empire. While in his rule, he convinced his civilization that 1+1=3. How could they really believe that? Well, this ruler obviously instilled some twisted reason into his people, convincing them that this is true. And why can't it be true? Maybe we are all wrong. Maybe our reason is twisted and our beliefs and understandings are skewed. Now, I am not saying that we should start believing 1+1=3. But the point is that reason is only what men can comprehend. And since we teach ourselves, we can only comprehend our own beliefs.

Men can so easily be swayed to believe many different things. Some that are logical among all and some that are not.

Even when many of us sit in math class, we ask questions trying to figure out how to work a problem. And the only way we ever understand it is by listening and believing what our teacher says. Pretty much no one can contradict a teacher's "factual" teachings. Why? Simply because we must believe. Our grades and our future understanding of math will be jeopardized if we do not rely on what our teacher tells us. Even this small example can be related to many of our everyday basic beliefs. Men are so easily swayed because they must believe in other's reasoning to succeed. However, there were those that went out on a limb and disagreed with others and tried to find their own reason. Galileo, Aristotle, Socrates, and many more were very brave and realized they wanted to find their own reasoning for things.

This is why I believe faith is much more important. Faith is an eternal, never changing principle, whereas reason can so easily be changed. We don't have God to make reason for us. We will never be able to comprehend how the world was created, it's time line of creation, and men's existence on Earth, but we don't have to. What we need to do is have faith in God's eternal plan, and be able to comprehend and understand for ourselves through faith that God is watching over us, and that those little things don't matter. Men were not created to figure out all of the unimportant little details. Instead, we were created to prove to God that we are worthy to return to live with him. Though it is important to progress while on Earth, it is not important for men to figure out and comprehend the little things.

On the other hand, it is important for us to know that reasoning is important. Men are expected to progress while on the earth, and it takes reason to progress. However, faith is the underlying most important principle in all of this.

Faith, it is all about the faith!!! As Levi said, "I think that people rely on faith much more than reason today, and for good reason!"

January 19, 2007 10:14 AM  

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