Faith is a part of life

In my last post, I wrote about what “faith” means in a Christian context. It’s a complex and multi-faceted term, but it is important to appreciate that faith is not just an aspect of Christianity. It is a part of life.

Theologian Tyron Inbody wrote the following:

“…faith is a dimension of the human existence as such. There can be no human life without the presence of faith. The opposite of faith is not doubt but nihilism – the loss of order, meaning and purpose in life… The scientist cannot operate apart from faith – faith in the dependability of nature, the orderliness and intelligibility of the universe, the unity of nature and the harmony of its laws. Social life is impossible apart from faith. We cannot exist without elemental trust in each other. If you doubt this, consider what one terrorist attack can do to undermine our confidence in the social order. And we act as if this social order is to some degree moral. We assume and affirm that there are things we ought to do and things we ought not to do. Although we may not agree on which things are which, we act with moral demands that are binding. These beliefs point to the fact that we cannot exist as humans apart from faith. They are justified not because they are demonstrable but because we cannot live without them. They constitute a primordial faith.” (The faith of the Christian church: an introduction to theology)


More specifically, science depends on faith.

Eugene Wigner received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963. Like Einstein before him, Wigner was particularly interested in how well mathematics describes the physical universe:

“The enormous usefulness of mathematics in the natural sciences is something bordering on the mysterious, and there is no rational explanation for it… it is an article of faith.” (The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics)


Similarly, from physicist Sir John Polkinghorne:

“Science does not explain the mathematical intelligibility of the physical world, for it is part of science’s founding faith that this is so.” (Reason and Reality)



Related posts:

Faith: reflecting on evidence

Believing and understanding

Chesterton on Miracles


One thought on “Faith is a part of life

  1. Pingback: Nicolas Steno: bishop and scientist « Spiritual Meanderings

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