Pope John Paul II’s rhetoric on fideism

Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Fides et Ratio also affirms that God’s existence is in fact demonstrable by reason, and that attempts to reason otherwise are the results of sin. In the encyclical, John Paul II warned against “a resurgence of fideism, which fails to recognize the importance of rational knowledge and philosophical discourse for the understanding of faith, indeed for the very possibility of belief in God.”

My two cents

English: VATICAN CITY. A meeting with Pope Joh...
VATICAN CITY. A meeting with Pope John Paul II. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ah, fideism—so that’s what it’s called. I’ve had a grasp of this concept for some time, but I didn’t know what the word was for it.

Anyway, onto the quote, I’m a little worried about it on first blush. On my reading, it implies that using faith to believe in God and Jesus is an attempt to reason otherwise, and that this faith is the result of sin. (?)

I suppose I have trouble lining up this line of reasoning against biblical quotes such as:

  • I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. (Mark 10:15)
  • He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:16)
  • for whatsoever [is] not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23b)
  • But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6).

Maybe I need to read more on this whole issue.

Quote source

Wikimedia Foundation. (2011). Fideism. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fideism. Last accessed 19th May 2011.


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