During yesterday’s general audience at St. Peter’s, Pope Benedict delivered the third of three installments of his catechesis on the perennial importance of St. Thomas Aquinas. The whole message is excellent, and I would like to draw your attention to a few things he said about the rationality of belief in God and the irrationality of atheism. This is just a morsel, of course, but I thought you might find the Holy Father’s simple yet cogent point to be interesting and useful, as I did.
“To those who object that faith is nonsense, because it makes one believe something that does not fall under the experience of the senses, St. Thomas gives a very articulated answer, and recalls that this is an inconsistent doubt, because human intelligence is limited and cannot know everything.“Only in the case that we could know perfectly all visible and invisible things, would it then be genuine nonsense to accept truths purely on faith. However, it is impossible to live, St. Thomas observes, without trusting the experience of others, where personal knowledge does not reach.“Hence it is reasonable to have faith in God who reveals Himself and in the testimony of the Apostles: they were few, simple and poor, dismayed by the Crucifixion of their Teacher; and yet many wise, noble and rich persons were converted in a short time upon listening to their preaching. It is, in fact, a historically striking phenomenon, to which with difficulty one can give any other reasonable answer, other than that of the Apostles’ encounter with the Risen Lord” . . . (continue reading)