Faith: Feeling Vs. Thinking


Blaise Pascal, a 17th century mathematician and physicist, was a brilliant man who balanced science and faith. To my mind, there isn’t enough of that these days. For many who rely on the scientific method, faith is pushed to the realm of impossibility. But do faith and science have to be mutually exclusive? As one who studied and worked in science for over half of my life, I say that they go hand in hand. It simply takes some extra thought to connect the dots between our faith in a Sovereign Creator and the gifts of knowledge he has granted the human race. 

Sometimes people of faith rely too heavily on “feeling,” while people of science rely too heavily on “thinking.” Pascal noted in his Pensees that those who make decisions based on reason and intellect (only) have no way of feeling or intuiting the world around them. Likewise, those who base their judgments on feelings (only) have no way of reasoning or applying principles of logic to what they see.

When it comes to faith – we need both ways of evaluating life and world around us. We cannot be strictly scientific, those the scientific method is important! But we also cannot strictly rely on what we “feel” about what we see and experience; our feelings can often mislead us and send us down a purely emotional trail. As people of faith we must learn to balance our feelings/emotions with our intellect. We must wrestle with the ways in which science informs our faith and faith informs our science. Without intuition (or what we would deem spiritual discernment) our logic and reason leaves us in the state of atheism or agnosticism or secularism. Without scientific inquiry our faith leaves us in a state of religious fundamentalism. Neither move us toward the living God and neither serve the world in humility. 

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