Faith and Reason: Is There a Sharp Divide? (Part 9)
Kant’s Effect on Theology. Kant’s phenomenal/noumenal distinction had a profound effect on theology. Many theologians sought to refashion their approach to scripture in line with Kant’s philosophy. If we can’t know God through the faculty of human reason, then how can we know him? Søren Kierkegaard placed an emphasis on the subjectivity of faith, i.e. our own personal feelings. He didn’t argue much for Christianity based on what happened in history: he taught that to truly believe, a leap of faith is needed.
Karl Barth and the Neo-orthodox movement followed the example set by Kierkegaard by declaring that God is not known through nature (they denied the effectiveness of what’s called general revelation). So, if God is not clearly revealed in nature, no natural theology can be constructed. That is the opposite of what Thomas Aquinas said, remember? Barth argued that God is truly revealed in the person of Christ, and for us the key place of that revelation is scripture. According to Barth, while the Bible is not the objective word of God, it is nonetheless the instrument, the vehicle that God uses to cause us to have an encounter with Christ in it’s pages.