Christianity and Autonomous Reason: Drawing an Important Distinction

5 thoughts on “Christianity and Autonomous Reason: Drawing an Important Distinction”

  1. Thank you for your article that is very relevant to my current reading of a chapter on Descartes in Charles Taylor’s Sources Of The Self. Taylor contrasts Descartes’s use of reason with Augustine’s. Descartes viewed the critical faculty as constructing order through a thought process that used sense perception to ground knowledge from evidence in an objectified world. This autonomous human process becomes the epistemic & ethical representational, internalized reality. The Augustinian view grounded reason in a metaphysic of innate “memoria” participating in a received order with thought being awakened to a reality external to ourselves. Both views recognize an ability to reason. One views reason as a means to participate in a given order, the other turns it into an idol.
    Your article helped me to clarify my reasoning on these issues.

  2. I am highly interested in this topic. What confuses me I suppose is that it seems to me that my metaphysic has to match up with my epistemology. There are certainly some views of epistemology which would seem to contradict a theistic metaphysic. Is there a distinctively Christian or at least theistic epistemology? How is a Christian epistemology different than a non-christian one? How does the sensus divinatus perhaps affect areas of epistemology? Also is it not possible to consciously think of God in a glorifying way while I do my math or logic? This would seem to be morally or existentially superior than just to do my thinking eithout thought of God. I know this article was only touching the surface of the topic, but it seems to have raised all these questions for me.

  3. Thanks for posting this. I’ve read Frame on this and I knew something was wrong with his argument that I couldn’t put my finger on. It’s doubly discomforting when someone you respect presents a view you find implausible but can’t articulate why.

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