Publisher: Edizioni Cantagalli
“Dio salvi la ragione” [God Save Reason] (edizioni Cantagalli) is now available in Italy. The book follows the path that was laid out in Regensburg on September 12, 2006, when the Holy Father gave the famous Lectio magistralis at the university that raised so much controversy in the Muslim world but that stands as an unavoidable reference point for all who want to address the issues of reason and faith and the relationship between religions. Robert Spaemann, Andrè Glusksmann, Wael Farouq, Sari Nusseibeh and Joseph Weiler talk about it in the book.
Regensburg marked the beginning of a path of clarification of the identity of Christianity as truth as well as charity, of the relationship between religions that is not indifference, of the public role of religious faiths against the secularism of neutrality and of the relationship between faith and reason that, the Holy Father said, is not the same in all religious confessions. Those who present an irrational and arbitrary God cannot be put on the same plane as those who speak of God as “Primordial reason”; those who preach violence cannot be equated to those who preach truth and love. Not just and only for motives of faith but for motives of reason: “Not to act with logos is contrary to the nature of God”. This sentence in the Lectio at Regensburg, which was borrowed from Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, marks the difference between the world’s religions. That difference lies precisely in this: in accepting to be examined by reason at the very moment they claim to be true and to be an aid to reason.
Modern philosophy says that man can know nothing beyond himself. But how can it say that without going beyond itself? Spaemann raises the problem of problems, from which stems a native collaboration between reason and faith. Heinrich von Kleist, a pupil of Kant who precisely believed that is not possible for us to know beyond ourselves, killed himself. If this is not possible, then there is no God and no “true world” is possible. The truth of the world depends from the truths of God and the knowledge of God needs to start from the truths of the world. This is to say that reason and faith stand and walk together.
Some say that without a true world we are freer, but Joseph Weiler reminds us that freedom can be truly and fully experienced when there is an option to say no to God. According to him, the freedom of religion is indeed the first of all freedoms as it includes the freedom to say no. The religions are the foundations of this freedom and also nonbelievers should safeguard this legacy in order to guarantee freedom.
There are profound differences on the concept of reason. Religious faiths have a different rational “capability”. Glucksmann and Spaemann, as philosophers do, get to the heart of the problem of the arrogance of western reason. It claimed to be absolute and to produce everything by itself and therefore had to gradually self-limit its own scope of investigation in order to be able to completely master it, to the point that it reduced itself to nothing. Rationalism always turns into nihilism. There is no chance of dialogue between religious faith and this kind of reason. However, not all five Authors share this vision of reason, which, according to Wael Farouq, must always come to terms also with tradition. However, the basic concept expressed by the title is fairly clear to all of them: it will not be reason that will save itself but its openness to a “beyond”. At the same time, however, it is capable of evaluating this “beyond” from the rational point of view. Not all religions, therefore, are equally capable of saving reason. The debate is open.