What is the most important thing needed for a happy, successful and peaceful life? Is it faith or reason? The argument between faith and reason as to which one is the right way of living has been one of the oldest debates in history.
Faith and reason play a very important role in our daily living and in the decisions we make on a daily basis. The debate between faith and religion is firstly not a philosophical debate but a very practical aspect of organizing our life and the way we want to live it.
Faith is a process of believing in what has been passed down through the ages as right. It is a process of accepting a set of rules as true and final. It could be about visiting a temple, wearing certain clothes, eating certain foods and our other habits.
Reason is an involvement of a questioning mind to logically enquire and understand what is being told or given. Reason is the application of common sense in matters of faith and belief. Reason is a scientific and systematic process of knowing more about ourselves.
A young mind that is trying to make sense of the world around should very clearly understand the difference between reason and faith. If not, every single step taken will be taken in conflict. Parents pass on faith as a system given to them by their parents; children want to pursue a life style of their choice based on their reasoning, now there is a conflict.
The easiest way to resolve this conflict is by accepting both faith and reasoning as two very different aspects of life. There are matters of faith where reasoning does not help and there are matters of logic and reasoning where faith does not help.
Almost all the difficulties we face on a daily basis are about not knowing when to apply faith and when to apply reasoning. We use reasoning to question certain fundamental believes like religion, god, tradition etc without knowing that they are simply a matter of faith. And at the same time we apply blind belief and faith in matters requiring logic and reasoning.
While reasoning is a short term analysis of a situation to understand its impact, faith is a very long term perspective on the overall meaning and purpose of life. Logic is walking down the steps with care and awareness to ensure that you don’t fall; faith is believing that there is a firm ground at the end of the steps on which you can rely and walk.
A mind that is purely logical can accomplish a lot of things; it can become rich, gain popularity, live a luxurious life etc. but it can never find happiness, meaning and fulfilment. A mind that completely relies on faith finds peace of mind, certainty and happiness but it can never become rich or successful. The most ideal combination to possess is a perfectly logical mind with a perfectly faithful heart.
The moment you realize that reasoning is the quality of the mind and faith is the quality of the heart; you would have not only put them in the right place, you would have also learnt to make use of them.