In our feature interview in this issue of R&L, Chuck Colson makes reference to the now-famous lecture Pope Benedict XVI gave at Regensburg last September. The heart of that lecture was the relationship of faith and reason. In the course of arguing that each needs the other, Pope Benedict raised questions about Islam that garnered worldwide attention.
But Pope Benedict's point was not principally about Islam. His point was that religious faith, when not purified by reason, can lose its way, even to the extremes of fanaticism and violence. He reminded his listeners that the temptation to neglect reason has been faced in the history of Christianity – mentioning by name the Catholic philosopher Duns Scotus and some currents of thought animating the Protestant Reformation.
One of the areas where faith meets reason is in the encounter between religion and science. The work of the Acton Institute is part of that encounter, as we bring together the insights of science and natural philosophy (both of which animate economics) with the truths of revealed religion.
This issue of R&L is a good example of that encounter. Corinne Sauer and Robert Sauer have an article on that topic directly, namely the encounter of Jewish theology with economic theory. We also include also an installment from our Centesimus Annus lecture series: Lord Brian Griffiths examines the facts about poverty and the response of the church.
We are proud at R&L of our Acton colleagues and we highlight two recent books, both of which are fine examples of careful scholarship applied to questions treated by both reason and faith.
Dr. Samuel Gregg has a new book, The Commercial Society, and we feature an excerpt in this issue about the role of creativity – defined as reason applied to new circumstances – in the economy. And Dr. Stephen J. Grabill has just published an exceptionally learned book, which we excerpt in this issue. It's an important book, and I elaborate on that in my own review of it.
Our regular features round out this issue's offerings. Lord Ralph Harris's work emphasized the importance of ideas in influencing politics, while Father Sirico reminds us that politics offers good order, but not salvation.
I think Chuck Colson would find the encounter between reason and faith that he favors manifest in this issue – and in the ongoing mission of the Acton Institute.