"Theology in fact has always and still needs philosophy's contribution. As a work of critical reason in the light of faith, theology presupposes and requires in all its research a reason formed and educated to concept and argument" (97). Our beliefs and understandings about God stem from theology. Our knowledge comes from those teachings. In this manner, it can then be stated that theology is derived from reasoning. It is man's attempt to justify what it holds to be true in faith.
As humans grow and begin to experience in greater fullness the reality that exists in the world, the more that they realize how unique they are. With that there is a natural progression to the need to question the very essence of who they are and everything else that lies around them. The study of philosophy then makes its introduction here. Through the use of different forms of reasoning and understanding it seeks to meet the demand for the explanation of the truth behind our faith. This is the desire that drives us to understand who we are better.
Faith is something other than knowledge from a philosophical aspect. Faith relies on the senses and what they perceive. It relies on experience. Philosophy then establishes its function within reason. Faith is an enlightment from God. To believe is to recognize God and the message that he brings. The entire mystery that is God is such a hard concept for the human mind to fully grasp and embrace fully. It is our faith that allows us to believe something. It is what we as humans use to embrace something that we might question, but still makes up a big part of our existence.
Faith, in general, clarifies reason. It helps to liberate reason from any false ideas. It is the best answer that we can get and all of our religious doubts and questions can be answered as best as they can be in this manner. To attempt to reason anything that surrounds us is to take new journeys that are not expected. But it is faith that guides us and ultimately leads us to the right place - to the truth. That truth is God.
Faith is a gift that is given to us by God. It is not based on reason. But, given the nature of our human existence and the unconscious need to challenge and question, there is no way that faith and reason can be separated. And it is the two that unite and come from theology. Reason provokes question and it will always be that way. That's what being a human is about. We inquire all and seek an answer for it all. We even question our faith constantly.
The situations that we are faced with everyday lead us to this kind of thinking. Theology is the answer and any analysis leads back to it. The union that exists between faith and reason once an answer or explanation is provided, allows us to understand God better. Theology then seeks to correlate the two. It helps us to understand that the two go hand in hand. One justifies the other and vice versa.
"The chief purpose of theology is to provide an understanding of revelation and the content of faith" (115). Theology is concerned with knowing and comprehending the mystery of God and attempting to instill this knowledge in the human mind. We take what we know and we apply it to our lives.
Theology derives its principles from the revealed word of God. These perspectives and principles are acknowledged by the close and intertwined relationship that is found in faith and reasoning. But as humans, we use our reasoning against faith. In an in-depth analysis we might lose sight of the truth, and it is only our faith that can guide us in the right direction. In acknowledging and accepting the truth behind the beliefs that we have, we find the Word of God.
Theology has a task that it has to fulfill. In order to fulfill the task that was set out for it, theology must turn to the teachings of philosophy. It stems into reasoning and logic. It stems into justification and comprehension. It is the answer. "For by its very nature, theology is sustained in the search for truth by its ecclesial context and by the tradition of the People of God, with its harmony of many different fields of learning and culture within the unity of faith" (124). Reflecting on the topic based on the appropriate reasoning, and using the Word of God in its deeper and more profound understanding, philosophers can develop an idea that appeals to those that might have not reached a solid understanding of what theology and God is all about. In knowing this, then it is safe to
such an integral part of the constant search of the truth; the truth being all that is God. Our minds can be strengthened in reason because of the profound support that it gets from faith.
A human being, that can only be fulfilled in knowing what is ultimately true can seek refuge in the teachings of theology. Within the realm of theology can an individual aim to understand the freedom that exists in their faith and the reasoning that they have. It is only after this level that the call to know, love, and understand God as the one and only is met. One can then come to realize a deeper, more spiritual part of who they are. They see in themselves the embodiment of what they understand and hold to be true in their faith.
In knowing this, it is evident that a clear understanding of theology could not be met without some level of philosophical reasoning. Our understanding would not move past our religious experiences. Our faith would never be questioned and a deeper understanding might never be met. Reasoning allows us to explore within our faith and make sense of things that might provoke doubt in our everyday lives.
Faith alone is enough to drive us in a seek for answers. It is reason that reinforces it. It is a means to learn more about something that we might already know something about. It is ultimately clear that there is only one truth; and both our faith and reasoning behind it allow us to explore, question, and learn.
In the mind's endless quest to seek out meaning in life, it is apparent that our reasoning has a foundation in our belief in God. That is the truth. The deepest truth that we can possibly hold about God and the entire notion of human salvation is clarified in the idea of Christ and who he was and continues to be. And it is that truth that stems from the teachings of theology.
Encyclical Letter: On the Relationship between Faith and Reason. John Paul II. Pauline Books & Media. Boston. 1998.