Here is a good article from an Atheist Blog. The writer rejects faith in acceptance of reason, but I’d prefer if people would learn the word “Fideism” in order to more accurately specify who they’re arguing with.
I think the most valuable words in the article are:
I stated that the principles of logic are “certain.” This touches on a particularly important part of the faith vs. reason debate. Often, the advocate of faith will say, “But you can’t prove the truth of logic, so you must have “faith” in it—just as I have faith in God.” This critique of reason brings to mind the story of the child who keeps asking “why?” to every answer offered by the parent. Of course, this infinite regress of cause and effect cannot go on forever. To understand when to stop asking “why?” is to begin to understand the nature of concepts. Concepts do not exist in a vacuum. With one class of exceptions, concepts derive their meaning from some immediately ancestral set of concepts and can retain their meaning only within that context. You hit “bedrock” when you reach the so-called axiomatic concepts, which are irreducible, primary facts of reality—our “percepts.” These percepts form the foundation upon which we build our concepts. How do you know when you’ve finally hit these primary facts of reality in the long string of why’s? You know—and this is critically important—when there is no way to deny them, or even to question them, without presupposing that they are, in fact, true. To deny them or to even question whether they are true is to literally utter a contradiction.
I think Presuppositional apologists would say that Faith in God is bedrock, because without God who is omniscient and therefore a perfect authority.
A simple application of what he’s saying:
Suppose I say, “Logic is an arbitrary human invention and could be wrong.” Well, if it is wrong, then the Law of Contradiction (a thing cannot be itself and its negation at the same time and in the same respect) and the related Law of Identity (a thing is itself) are wrong; but then that means the very words that make up my original claim, such as, “Logic is arbitrary” could mean “Logic is not arbitrary” or it could mean both at the same time and in the same respect. In fact, it could mean “I like chunky peanut butter.” If all that sounds crazy and unintelligible, that’s because it is, as are all utterances when the truth of logical principles cannot be assumed.
My own way of explaining this is as follows: Reason is unquestionable because Reason makes questioning possible. Reason cannot be doubted without calling it into question. Reason is certain if it cannot be doubted.
At the end he adds to his defense of reason, a criticism of faith (Fideism),
A member of Christian sect X believes that all other sects are damned, and she says that she knows this through faith. The person she is talking to is a member of sect Y that believes only sect Y is the one true faith, and that all others are damned, including members of sect X—and, of course, she knows this through faith. Clearly they both cannot be right. The member of sect Y asks the member of sect X how she knows that she is not really just hearing the deceitful voice of Satan leading her down a false path. To that our sect X member confidently replies, “I know that through faith as well.” Not surprisingly, these are the same answers given by the member of sect Y to exactly the same questions regarding her confidence in the truth of her favorite sect. There is no independently validated method to resolve this. If reason is not the standard, then there literally is no standard, and people who abandon it have simply written themselves a blank check to believe whatever they choose. Cloaking this irrationalism with comfortable terms like “faith” does not make it any less irrational. As John A. T. Robinson once put it: “The only alternatives to thinking with reason are thinking unreasonably and not thinking.”
For the record, I do not believe that the implication of giving Reason highest authority is atheism.