Magis Lecture | Pro and Con: Does Faith Ignore Reason?

Oct 19, 2022
Saint Ignatius College Prep
1076 W Roosevelt Rd
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Stephen Fields, SJGeorgetown University

Free and open to the public.

Every Sunday, Christian worshipers profess the Nicene Creed.  

The Creed formulates and supports our belief in one God, but there appears to be scant empirical evidence for many of its claims that we acknowledge to be true.  We don’t profess the Creed because we’ve been persuaded by overwhelming evidence. Is it reasonable, then, to believe that the Creed's claims are true? Or does our profession of faith shove our reason into exile?  So says Sam Harris, a recent "popular atheist,” who argues that faith is by nature unreasonable. 

But William James, the 19th-century American psychologist, tells another tale. He argues that it can be reasonable to believe some things based on less than compelling evidence. If we don't, we risk losing out on vitally important truths that could give us the whole purpose of life. And this risk is far greater than the risk of believing something on scant evidence.

Here is a vision in which faith and reason, to work well, must work together to give life its full meaning.



The Magis Series on Faith and Reason is a partnership between the Lumen Christi Institute and St. Ignatius College Prep to bring accessible yet sophisticated lectures on the Church's intellectual tradition to the broad lay public. The event is open to everyone from high school students to retirees. No affiliation with St. Ignatius is needed. Anyone who desires a lively entree into the mind of the Church is welcome and encouraged to attend. 



5:30 PM | Cocktails and Hors d'oeuvres

6:15 PM | Lecture

7:00 PM | Event concludes

Stephen Fields, S.J. is the Hackett Family Professor in Theology in Georgetown University, where he has taught since 1993. He holds the PhD from Yale in the philosophy of religion and the STL in fundamental theology from the Weston School of Theology (now the School of Theology and Ministry, Boston College). He has written Being as Symbol: On the Origins and Development of Karl Rahner’s Metaphysics (2001), and Analogies of Transcendence: An Essay on Nature, Grace and Modernity (2016), and edited a collection of essays on the thought of Benedict XVI for a special Festschrift edition of Nova et Vetera (English edition) (2017). His articles appear in a range of international journals, both philosophical and theological. His undergraduate students elected him as the twelfth recipient of the Dorothy M. Brown Award for excellence in teaching. He now directs the Lumen Christi Institute’s annual summer seminar for graduate students on John Henry Newman.