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

October 19, 2022 with Stephen Fields, S.J.

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.

Register Here


The lecture was held at St. Ignatius College Prep (1076 Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL 60608)

The event was open to everyone. No affiliation with St. Ignatius was required.

5:30pm Hors d’oeuvres

6:15pm Lecture

7pm 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). 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.

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