Faith and Reason: How to Cope with the Misfortunes of Life

Published: Monday, Sept. 3 2012 11:08 a.m. MDT

Sometimes reason, in addition to faith, can help us find hope in times of misfortune.

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Our take: Life, while wonderful, is also sometimes riddled with misfortune. Such tragedies can rock our faith and world view. In this piece for Forbes, Panos Mourdoukoutas discusses the power of reason combined with faith in helping one to overcome trials.

Four years ago, my family faced a tragic event. My sister passed away after a long illness. We were all devastated, especially my mother. For years, she would appeal to faith to find comfort for the misfortunes of life. But this time around, she wouldn't. She even stop going to the church. God betrayed me, she repeated with great sadness. "I did pray to save her, but it didnt happen." But could God have saved her? Is faith sufficient to cope with misfortunes life brings our way?

Trying to answer these questions, I revisited my high school philosophy books, the works of Plato, Aristotle, and Epictetus, in particular, who helped me develop a certain attitude towards life's misfortunes. Epictetus tell us to worry only about the things that are in our control, the things that can be influenced and changed by our actions, not about the things that are beyond our capacity to direct or alter.

Read more about the benefits of reason on Forbes.

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