Understanding Rationalism

Activity Objective

The young people will recognize the relationship between reason and faith.

Lesson Outcome

The young people will be able to define the word rationalism.


  • Math problem written on the board:

The Melendez family was going to buy a used car for $5,800. The car dealer offered the Melendez family two options for buying the car. They could pay the full amount in cash, or they could pay $1,000 down and $230 a month for 24 months on the installment plan. How much more would they pay on the installment plan?


  • Have the students work in pairs to solve the math problem written on the board.
  • Allow a few minutes for the pairs to solve the problem.
  • Invite volunteers to go to the board and show how they arrived at their answers.
    The correct answer is $1,000 + $230 x 24 = $6,520;
    $6,520 - $5,800 = $720 more for the installment plan.
  • Say: When we use our brains to solve a problem, we call it a rational process. We can use a rational process, or reason, to solve math problems. Our world has many problems, and we need to use reason to solve many of them. Many of our problems, however, cannot be solved by reason alone.
  • Explain that, during the time of the Enlightenment, some people thought they could rely exclusively on reason for solving all of humanity's problems.
  • Point out that Church has learned that faith and science both come from God and that we don't have to choose one over the other.

Learning Styles

Logic/Math Smart, People Smart

Approximate Time

10 minutes


Be sure to emphasize that we do not have to choose between faith and reason but that both come from God.