I have been reading an apologetics text book, Introducing Apologetics, Cultivating Christian Commitment, by James E. Taylor.
Dr. Taylor, who had been "a committed Christian" most of his life, writes about how in college he began experiencing intense doubts about his faith. Unlike many stories that start like this, he did not find his faith encouraged by the study of philosophy or Christian evidence. In fact, although he "spent must of [his] senior year trying to find arguments for God's existence," he could not find a sure foundation by his investigation.
Obviously, because Dr. Taylor ended up writing an apologetics textbook, he somehow found his faith strengthened. If it was not the study of apologetics, what was it? In his own words,
It was a spring break trip to Mexico with a few hundred fellow students to lead vacation Bible school programs and evangelistic meetings in various neighborhoods around Ensenada. What I found during that trip was that the experience of Christian service, evangelism, worship, and fellowship revived my faith in God. This revival happened because through these experiences I had a strong sense of God's presence and activity.
Because of his experiences, Dr. Taylor rejected evidentialism -- the idea that Christian belief is reasonable only if supported by sufficient proofs -- and embraced fideism. Fideism gives faith pride of place over reason. Dr. Taylor is careful to claim that he is a "responsible fideist" rather than one who rejects rationality altogether.
By "reasonable fideist" Dr. Taylor means that he will steer a middle path between "just having faith" and an overemphasis on reason. "Too much confidence in reason may lead to doubt or unbelief because no combination of arguments and evidence can prove conclusively that God exists or that Christianity is true" on one hand, but that "too much emphasis on faith to the exclusion of reason may also lead to doubt or unbelief because there are legitimate questions of an intellectual sort about Christianity ... that trouble sincere believers and seekers."
I accept Dr. Taylor's point that a Christian's faith is reasonable based on that person's experience of God. William L. Craig calls this the internal witness of the Holy Spirit. In legal jargon, it is self-authenticating. Lest someone object that this is overly convenient, I would point out that it is consistent with the view that God desires relationship with mankind. If God desires a relationship with the poor and the rich, the educated and the ignorant, those with access to the latest scientific research and those consigned to live in illiterate, pre-industrial societies, then He is likely to establish a means of encouraging such relationship that is not dependent solely on the tools of education and reason. In other words, God's love is not limited to those who have the intelligence, time, resources, and education to pursue detailed philosophical arguments or embark on years of historical research.
Nevertheless, I may disagree to an extent with Dr. Taylor's contention that evidences and arguments cannot prove important elements of the Christian faith, such as the existence of God. For example, "The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge." Psalm 19:1-2. Rather, it seems to me that reasonable faith can rest on one's experience of God and that there are strong evidences and proofs supporting that faith.
I do believe that human reason has suffered from separation from God, but not to the point that rationality itself is suspect. Rather, it is the frailty of the heart, prejudices, and sin that clouds our ability to properly utilize it. Of course, my difference with Dr. Taylor may be one of slight degree. I have not read his analysis of several leading apologetic arguments, such as the Kalam Cosmological Argument or the evidences for the resurrection of Jesus. If I can make the time I will let you know what I find.