I seldom see quotes from Ben Franklin that I disagree with, but this is one – “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.”
Perhaps Franklin meant to advise us not to let reason get in the way of faith. Many great scientists and thinkers, including Albert Einstein, have resolved any conflict that they might have had between faith and reason.
“The more I study science, the more I believe in God.” (Einstein)
I prefer to think of it this way. Faith lies just beyond the boundaries within which reason and logic try to constrain our imagination. Hope also lives in that nether land that is, by definition, beyond our ability to comprehend using logic and reason. In fact, it is hope that brings faith into focus and allows us to see what we do not need to understand to believe.
I think that one can use reason and will logically arrive at Faith as the only answer to the great questions of life – the Why’s and How’s and What happens next questions. At some point one accepts that there are no earthly answers to those questions and realizes that all logical paths lead back to the same place – faith in something that we cannot comprehend but which must exist in order for us to exist.
At the beginning of each episode of the TV show The Twilight Zone the narrator said – “You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead – your next stop, the Twilight Zone!” Faith goes well beyond the twilight zone because takes us beyond the limits of our imaginations.
So what Franklin might have said, instead, is, “The way to see by faith is to look beyond what we can see with the eyes of logic and reason and to use hope as your lens to focus upon what is important.”
Open your eyes to faith. See your future through the lens of hope.