Faith and Reason

Along with the truth claim of the Christian religion, faith is a priori put into a relationship with philosophical reason. Both Christian faith as well as philosophical reason are concerned with how to understand reality and with the meaning of human existence. However, faith and reason refer to one and the same reality in different ways, insofar as Christian faith not only transcends what can be perceived naturally in the light of divine revelation that is considered true and real, but demands to be interpreted in a manner that cannot be surpassed: nature is not what is present at all times, but the continuous act of God’s creation; man is not a product of chance, but he is desired in God’s own likeness; time is not an endless duration or return of the same, but God’s salvation history together with man.


If it is the same reality to which faith and reason refer, the reality believed in must not only conform to the truth that can be perceived naturally, but choose its point of contact in human perception itself. This motivates one to pose the following questions to reason: firstly, about God’s existence and nature, a question which is always implied in the faith in his revelation; secondly, about the possibility of revelation and the way the natural world exists; thirdly, about man’s capability to recognize God’s acting in history and to answer it with his entire existence.


Philosophy as a subject at the Faculty of Theology in Paderborn concretely reflects upon the relationship between faith and reason in the light of the basic questions of human reason, namely in an overview of history and in its systematic context. Among the special focuses in research and teaching are: the history of philosophy, a philosophical doctrine of God and metaphysics, philosophy of religion, Christian anthropology and ethics.

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About Pieper:

Josef Pieper (1904-1997) was professor of philosophical anthropology at the University of Münster/Germany; he was a member of several academies and received numerous awards and distinctions, among them the International Balzan Prize for outstanding achievements in the field of humanities. [more...]


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Philosophical studies are among the main institutional focuses of the Faculty of Theology in Paderborn in cooperation with the University of Paderborn. [more...]