To the editor:
At Regensberg, the Pope admonished the West for its loss of respect for reason. He urged us to return to reason by a return to our roots in the confluence of Greek philosophy and the wisdom of the Judeo-Christian revelation of God. He noted the influence of Greek rational thought on the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, on the Wisdom books and on the identification of Jesus by St. John as the Logos. He traced the loss of confidence in reason — dehelenization — from its origin in the subordination of reason to the will of God in the work of Duns Scotus in the latter Middle Ages; by the discarding of the rational development of theology by the Reformers in their return to what they saw as the simplicity of Jesus’ message in the Bible alone; by Kant in placing Faith totally within the will as a moral imperative; by Harnack in turning Christianity into humanitarianism; and by the Enlightenment in its restricting the competence of reason to applied mathematics.
We can see this lack of respect for reason in three ordinary events. 1) The West does not offer a rationally based solution to willful disputes between peoples. The West ironically offers democracy, the will of the people. 2) President Bush does not analyze the policies of Russia to determine their compatibility with his own. He looks into the eyes of President Putin. 3) Deacon Dardess (Catholic Courier, Oct ’06) does not review either the tenets or the record of Islam. He assures the readers of the Courier that Islam is peaceful because his Muslim acquaintances are peaceful.
For those, not satisfied with anchoring their lives in an amorphous goodwill, the Pope’s speech at the University is a refreshing exposition of Faith and Reason available on the Internet.
Robert E. Drury