Fideism vs. Rationalism Research Paper

Pages: 3 (946 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion


In his Summa Theologica, he wrote:

We have a more perfect knowledge of God by grace than by natural reason. Which is proved thus. The knowledge which we have by natural reason contains two things: images derived from the sensible objects; and the natural intelligible light, enabling us to abstract from them intelligible conceptions. Now in both of these, human knowledge is assisted by the revelation of grace. For the intellect's natural light is strengthened by the infusion of gratuitous light (12).

Many great religious thinkers, such as Aquinas, help us to appreciate the underlying rationality of fideism. All human knowledge and reason is seen as dependent on faith. This is because we have faith in our senses, reasoning, experiences, memories, and information gained from interacting and speaking with others. Thus, faith is an integral part of rationality.

To fully answer the question of whether fideism or rationality is better equipped to help mankind understand religious systems, perhaps the best view is akin to that of Aquinas where both fideism and rationality are essential -- co-actors that help us understand religion. They complement each other and advance our religious understanding. Blind faith could be classified as mere superstition. Similarly, reason absent of faith could lead to anarchism or relativism in which all beliefs are uncertain no belief is justified.

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The fact that different religions exist is a symptom of people holding conflicting beliefs, and yet all of them, it can be argued, hold some basis in what is truth. This is because each religion sees a different aspect of the same reality. Noted religious writer Hallanger offers an interesting analysis of this concept. Two people can climb the same mountain from the north and from the south. The north side of the mountain may be covered with evergreens; the south side may be barren and rocky. Each will judge the entire mountain based on the rational - what they see. Each will hold a true belief that is also a mistaken belief (129).

TOPIC: Research Paper on Fideism vs. Rationalism Is Rationalism Assignment

Similarly, we can think of religion this way. Different religions are viewed by many as separate paths to the peak of the same mountain whose summit is God, salvation or religious truth. Each path can be described differently- and accurately- but there is more to the mountain than actually realized. The paths of rationalism and fideism as stand alones operate the same way. They are one-sided and each has its own blind spots. Points-of-view regarding faith and religion that deny the merits of other points-of-view miss the bigger picture. Both ideologies hold value for understanding religious systems.


Aquinas, St. Thomas. "Summa Theologica." Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Calvin College Computer Science, n.d. Web. 8 Oct. 2013.

Hallanger, N. (2008). Reason for Hope -- By Stanley Grenz. Reviews in Religion & Theology,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Fideism vs. Rationalism.  (2013, October 8).  Retrieved July 28, 2021, from

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"Fideism vs. Rationalism."  8 October 2013.  Web.  28 July 2021. <>.

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"Fideism vs. Rationalism."  October 8, 2013.  Accessed July 28, 2021.