The Predominant Christian Interpretation of Religious Faith in the Middle Ages: Augustine of Hippo and Thomas AquinasMuhammet Saygı
The purpose of this paper is to reveal the prevailing Christian interpretation of religious faith during the medieval period, using Augustine’s and Aquinas’ corpora as primary sources. This study is distinct in that it explores the reasoning behind why an act of faith by a Christian is regarded as morally praiseworthy. To this end, the paper begins with a preliminary investigation into the nature of faith as understood by these two thinkers. Following that, the question of whether reason should precede or follow faith will be scrutinised in a theoretical sense. The study will also explore the impact on human free will of God’s intervention in the act of faith, and whether faith can be considered an act of man or of God. The study will also consider whether it is possible to reconcile these perspectives or avoid conflicts between them. The findings of this study show that, according to the Christian interpretation, conclusive reasons cannot be used to justify religious faith, as they undermine or eliminate human free will. If evidence were to exist, it would no longer be a matter of free choice for an individual to believe but rather a matter of necessity. For faith to be considered morally praiseworthy, it must be caused by one’s own free will, not by conclusive evidence.