Blog 2: Averroes, Middle-Eastern Philosophers

5 Commentsby   |  01.31.13  |  Student Posts

In the 12th century, middle-eastern philosophers like Averroes (Ibn Rushd) dealt with the struggles of science in relation to faith. Averroes himself was a Muslim and worked to prove the compatibility of faith and reason. After his death, he was suspected of heresy and blasphemy. But all of the work he put forth in his writings has continued to impact contemporary thinking.

Last semester I was a peer leader for a freshman Cornerstone class. Each Monday, the freshman class gathered in Cullen Auditorium to hear speakers from all over campus in many different academic fields. I remember one part of the lecture series toward the end of the semester. It comprised of four different professors presenting on the topic “Why Do I Do What I Do?” One of the four professors was Dr. Rusty Towell, an engineering and physics professor at ACU. He spoke about how he looked for and discovered God each day in the research he does. I was surprised to hear what he said because I had never actually heard someone say they found God in science.

I think this was part of the work that Averroes was trying to accomplish. Faith and reason are autonomous, but never contradicting one another. They are separate entities that point toward one truth. This is still one of the big questions that is discussed today, especially among Christians. Although we have come a long way from the past there are still schools of thought that fight against the compatibility of faith and reason. I think it is important for us to look for instances in our lives where faith and science match up and point to one truth.


  1. Jonathan Anglin
    10:37 pm, 01.31.13

    Emily, I found your general theme really rang true to what I have been finding. I am a very logical thinking person when it comes to faith and religion, and the fact that science and religion are so often seen as opponents and contradictory is so sad. I personally rely on a lot of science to hold my faith, as I need tangible evidence. I think it is extremely important for people to realize that science and facts really do support faith in God, if one simply applies what one sees correctly.
    My ultimate example of this is the human brain. No explosion could create such a complex system of synapses and reflexes. Intelligence comes from intelligence. When we see intelligent design in the universe (human physiology, weather patterns, plant life cycles) there has to be something with a design to create it all.
    Thanks for your post, I highly enjoyed it.

  2. Forrest Norman IV
    10:38 pm, 02.01.13

    I liked how you included the impact of Islam on the intellectual world and show that there were martyrs on both sides of the ancient world in the pursuit of knowledge. I also liked your personal story and thought that there were too few people who included facts about themselves. I personally feel like-wise as beings that possess a mind heart and body that we should seek to strengthen our bodies and minds not just our souls.

  3. Carter Wells
    11:15 pm, 02.01.13

    In my original post, I discussed how easily our culture ignores the origins of our worldview. This is especially true for Islamic philosophers, prophets, and scholars. We spend so much times studying westernized philosophy and history, that we are blind to the fact that forward thinkers across the globe were proposing similar ideas and posing similar questions.
    Although we have core beliefs that divide and polarize our cultures, as humans, we all deal with questions such as these, and your post provided a perspective that many, myself included, often fail to consider.

  4. Mengyuan Tang
    11:43 pm, 02.01.13

    I really like the issue you have mentioned in your post about the relationship between faith and science. It is true that many people may consider that faith and science are at daggers drawn. I agree to your opinion that they are autonomous, but never contradicting one another. As Christian, the Bible or the words of God is the only truth. Faith helps us do real science and seek the truth. There should be no contradiction between real science and faith. Real science actually substantiates our faith. Averroes’s efforts to prove the compatibility of faith and reason inspire us to gain insight about the truly relationship between faith and science nowadays.

  5. Ana Rodriguez
    1:26 am, 02.02.13

    I really agree with you. I think that our American learning experience has been influenced by a narrow European and ‘American’ history point of view. Even at ACU, how many classes actually discuss different religions and customs on a regular basis? I am a Bible minor and we rarely discuss different religions, let alone history and philosophy from Middle Eastern decent.

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