Faith and Reason, and Belief

On December 21st, the Church recalls and gives thanks for St. Thomas, the Apostle known as “Thomas the Doubter” for his questioning of Christ’s resurrection. Now here is a man that Ayn Rand can get behind in the sense of his questioning that which did not directly relate to something that he could observe or integrate into his understanding of reality. Thomas was, however, also the first to proclaim Christ’s divinity after the resurrection. What happened?

From John 20:24-29 (ESV)
Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

What is Jesus trying to say about belief based on faith and belief based on observation and, by extension, reason? Is it somehow better to believe without reason than with reason? Or does that interpretation read too much into Jesus’ words on the subject of belief?

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