Consider the following comments and develop a piece of writing in response to one or more of them. Your writing will be judged on the quality of your response to the theme; how well you organise and present your point of view, and how effectively you express yourself. You will not be judged on the views or attitudes you express.

“Faith indeed tells what the senses do not tell, but not the contrary of what they see. It is above them and not contrary to them.
Blaise Pascal

“He who has faith has… an inward reservoir of courage, hope, confidence, calmness, and assuring trust that all will come out well – even though to the world it may appear to come out most badly.
B. C. Forbes

“Faith: not wanting to know what is true.
Friedrich Nietzsche

“Reason is our soul’s left hand, faith her right.
John Donne

“The faith that stands on authority is not faith.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Ultimately, blind faith is the only kind.
Mason Cooley

How to tackle this question

(Warning, spoiler alert, don’t read this section if you want to tackle this on your own)

After reading through these quotes you should have correctly identified the key themes addressed by these quotes as Faith and Reason. You could approach this from a lot of different angles depending on your knowledge and experience. You could approach it from the perspective of your own faith if you have one, or as atheist or agnostic person. You could see religion as a social phenomenon and talk about it’s positive and negative impacts.

I just want to make it clear that I’m not personally opposed to faith, I side with Pascal on this one.

Points to consider

You could consider the following points while formulating your answer or come up with your own.

  • Are faith and reason diametrically opposed or can faith be reconciled with reason?
  • Is science making faith redundant?
  • Is faith harmful in that it can be used to deny science (medicine, global communication, etc)
  • Is a society based on pure reason dangerous? (China, Russia, et al.)
  • Is a society with a strong undercurrent of faith in many ways more humane? Can a humane society be achieved without faith?
  • Without faith what becomes of morality?
  • Are there questions that cannot be tackled scientifically?

Suggested plan

In a short essay you will not have time to cover everything. You might consider a plan something like the following:

  1. Science replaces faith because it is more explanatory (support with examples)
  2. … but science cannot replace the feeling that many people have that there is some kind of loving entity (support with examples)…
  3. …ultimately, science and religion tackle different questions and both are valid.

Feel free to post any of your own essays as comments and good luck!