Mormon Channel Blog

How Reason and Faith Give You a Balanced Approach to Your Education

September 3, 2015

When you are a student, numerous facts and opinions fill your head as you attend lectures, read textbooks and literature, have discussions with classmates, and take the time to study what you’ve learned on your own. Being able to discern truths from your learning is an important part of your education, in any stage of the learning process.

Although it might be appealing to throw yourself into the study of a single subject, finding balance in your education is key.

Being a member of the LDS Church, it seems problematic to separate your secular learning from your spiritual study. As with all things in life, it is a challenge to find the middle ground—being a knowledgeable and religious person may seem difficult, but in fact there are many benefits.

If you have chosen to pursue an education at a religious school, your path has been laid. Your teachers and mentors are already expected to integrate religious beliefs and standards into your classrooms.

As Elder Bruce C. Hafen said in a BYU university conference, this type of learning, especially in higher education, is contingent upon good teachers guiding wise students.

“We move them from dogmatism through healthy skepticism toward a balanced maturity that can tolerate ambiguity without losing the capacity for deep commitment,” Hafen said. “By example as well as precept, we teach how to ask good—even searching—questions, how to trust, how to know of ourselves.”

For those outside of those settings, it falls on you to balance your studies of math, science, history, and the arts with what you know from the scriptures. How does what you are learning apply to or align with your beliefs? How can you look for the good? A commonly used phrase among religious scholars is “all truth is God’s truth.”

In his study of the history of theology and philosophy’s relationship, Chris Firestone wrote: “The integrity of Christian philosophy very much depends on the torque and balance afforded by the quest in faith to understand God, the world, and ourselves. Thus, being a Christian philosopher means employing a tenacious faith in the context of an equally tenacious quest to understand.”

The scriptures tell us, “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection” (D&C 130:18).

Having that balanced education and outlook on wisdom and faith will undoubtedly give us the greatest advantage in the eternities.