One of the most common traps people fall into is leading their spiritual journey by either too much faith or scientific reason. Both faith and reason by themselves are a dead end in a spiritual journey. Only an interplay of the two works:
Some people have such a strong adherence to their faith that they will denounce what science has suggested or even declared outright. They may believe the world was created in 6 days approximately 4,000 years B.C.E, even though scientific evidence does not support that. They may go to painstaking lengths to explain away (albeit unconvincingly) the numerous contradictions in the Bible.
Their faith has led them to such a rigidity--they are so locked into the God of their imagination they refuse to experience the God that is. They also refuse to entertain the risk and the danger of real faith, which is about stepping out into the unknown--not with blindness but with real trust and eyes (and heart) wide open.
Many who approach from a scientific standpoint refuse to affirm anything that they can't taste, touch, feel and prove. When it comes to God, that leaves them very little.
As Dermot Lane writes, "The mystery of God is not some kind of theorem to be proved; it is rather, an experience to be lived" (13). Trying to "prove" God is an impossible situation--you have to first step out with faith before the proof comes (9). That is outrageous to the modern mind, where we feel entitled to proof before taking the first step. The problem is that once you have proof, the experience of faith becomes an impossibility--one something is proven, there is no need for faith anymore, it is simply a verifiable fact. But I wouldn't recommend stepping out for no reason whatsoever--we have to have some tugging, some experience of God, some burning in our hearts that draws us near to ignite our faith, as Lane writes. So reason and faith are not opposites, they can and must work together at all times.
If there is anything I have learned from studying Theology, it is that no one person can ever pretend to know everything. You can't prove it all, verify each detail or ever hope to study everything. It would take a lifetime to know every historical fact about religion or peruse every theory of every theological concept out there. On top of that, much of history has been forgotten and new ideas haven't been developed, yet. At some point, you have to decide to either be part of a faith community or not, and that may involve ascending to certain beliefs and traditions that you are not going to independently verify yourself.
The Middle Road
Both of these extremes are exercises in fear--a fear well deserved. One group is afraid of a world where the truths of their faith are flat out wrong. The other group is afraid of the power of religious institutions--they are also perhaps afraid that God may have power, as well. Both are terrifying to the core, and I have personally experienced each of them quite strongly. However, Jesus us reminds us not to lead with fear.
The wisdom of St. Thomas Aquinas still ring true today: We need both faith and reason.