Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Reason, Logic, and Christianity

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Mograce2U
    replied
    Originally posted by BroRog View Post
    ...Disbelief has an irrational component due to the fact that the denial of the truth amounts to a suppression of it, living AS IF the contrary were true. The idea of "self-deception" boggles the mind if one thinks about the nature of deception. What is deception, if not the withholding of information from another person? And how can we withhold information from ourselves? Well, in our rationality, we can't. But in our capacity to be irrational, we can pretend to ourselves that we don't know something and act as if we lack that knowledge.

    I believe Paul had this irrational process of the suppression of truth we already know to be true in mind when he penned the latter half of Romans the first chapter.

    And so, disbelief isn't a lack of reason, but a moral problem with those who purposely think irrationally, unrighteously suppressing the truth.
    Disbelief surely is the real clincher to explain. I suppose that is why theologians lean more toward trying to give a reasonable explanation for how faith works, because there is no sense or reason to explain unbelief!

    Given the evidence that is. Which AK, is the word I found lacking in your article. Paul didn't have to "reason" about his experience on the road to Damascus since the evidence of the reality of it left him blind! Any more than the blind man did who was healed by Jesus - the evidence was he had his sight. Therefore unbelief in light of such evidence is the real marvel. If man is supposed to be able to know God exists because of the evidence which creation gives him, then explaining how he comes up with evolution is what is needed.

    Faith comes because of revelation and the faith it produces is the evidence God gives; whereas unbelief is our natural bent regardless of what truth one may know. So I tend to agree with Pascal here that sin is the main obstacle, not man merely misapplying his God given gift of reason.

    That fact that the natural man is able to create a "moral" society from being able to apply reason - is only because God sees to it that consequences come because of sin. If it weren't for those consequences no man would choose anything that was not wholly self-serving. Death and its fear serves a real purpose to help hold sin at bay - else mankind would have wiped themselves out long ago. The fall has totally permeated the nature of man - but God still sends His rain (meaning all earthly blessing/ curses) upon him, lest mankind would become totally depraved.

    Therefore I will hold to what I said earlier that it is all about the power of God sustaining His creation and interjecting His will upon man, which power lies not in man's reason or his will apart from Him. We are not autonomous creatures in that sense since we wouldn't even be alive had He not breathed into us. But revelation is what brings response-ability upon man when he knows the One with whom he has to do. That alone will quicken him to right reason and a right response. Until then he will go on with business as usual until the day he dies.

    Leave a comment:


  • apothanein kerdos
    replied
    I don't have time now to post a bigger post (I will later), but I agree very much with what you said in both posts BroRog...very much.

    Leave a comment:


  • BroRog
    replied
    Originally posted by apothanein kerdos View Post
    It was provided in the article:

    First and foremost, there are two different understandings about reason in the modern age. Even for those that de-emphasize reason, they will still hold onto these two different views. The first one is called internalistic reasoning, or structural/coherent reasoning. In this view, we reason in order to discover what is truth within our own society. Thus, we determine what is and is not true, we declare what is and is not logical outside the realm of hard science. If society dictates that it is logical to prevent murder, then this is 'reasonable' to that society.

    As for subjective experiences - this is why we don't study them, they're subjective. We study the objective so we can make sense of the subjective.
    But our subjective experiences and thinking aren't any less rational than our empirical ones.

    Leave a comment:


  • BroRog
    replied
    Originally posted by apothanein kerdos View Post
    I don't get it. I give Scripture, analysis on the Scripture, good reasons for what I'm saying...and I'm met yet again with talking points. Why? The Scriptures given run contrary to your interpretation of one passage that is severely out of context. I'm just not understanding what is going on...it's as though the article wasn't even read.
    I was asking myself, "Why is this in the controversial section?" If reason is the antithesis of irrationality, I would think all Christians would be in favor of it.

    AK, I would use this opportunity to tighten up your definitions in case there are any closet Van Till readers who might read your paper. It would appear as if the term "reason" has a connotation you didn't intend. As some have already said, reason might be an essential, necessary part of belief, but it isn't adequate by itself. As any Van Tillian will tell you, a person can not come to belief unless the Holy Spirit opens his eyes.

    I don't agree with Van Till's Presuppositional Apologetics, but I think, in general, folks are right to point out, as you also have done, that the Holy Spirit must play a role in our coming to truth.

    Perhaps if you switched to using the term "rational", this might help. The term "rational" will encompass reason, but will also include the intuition, the subjective experience, and the influence of the Holy Spirit: each of these being rational aspects of being human.

    Disbelief has an irrational component due to the fact that the denial of the truth amounts to a suppression of it, living AS IF the contrary were true. The idea of "self-deception" boggles the mind if one thinks about the nature of deception. What is deception, if not the withholding of information from another person? And how can we withhold information from ourselves? Well, in our rationality, we can't. But in our capacity to be irrational, we can pretend to ourselves that we don't know something and act as if we lack that knowledge.

    I believe Paul had this irrational process of the suppression of truth we already know to be true in mind when he penned the latter half of Romans the first chapter.

    And so, disbelief isn't a lack of reason, but a moral problem with those who purposely think irrationally, unrighteously suppressing the truth.

    Leave a comment:


  • Buzzword
    replied
    Originally posted by apothanein kerdos
    As for subjective experiences - this is why we don't study them, they're subjective. We study the objective so we can make sense of the subjective.
    However, that lack of study has led to a general sentiment among scholars and laity alike that the whole Christian experience is objective.

    Leave a comment:


  • apothanein kerdos
    replied
    Originally posted by Buzzword View Post
    What is the Enlightenment definition of reason?

    While I do think the postmodern approach to language (deconstructionist) is flawed, I still think the Christian community has spent far too much time trying to logically sort out our system of belief, without spending nearly enough time acknowledging and studying the individual subjective experiences of believers.
    It was provided in the article:

    First and foremost, there are two different understandings about reason in the modern age. Even for those that de-emphasize reason, they will still hold onto these two different views. The first one is called internalistic reasoning, or structural/coherent reasoning. In this view, we reason in order to discover what is truth within our own society. Thus, we determine what is and is not true, we declare what is and is not logical outside the realm of hard science. If society dictates that it is logical to prevent murder, then this is 'reasonable' to that society.

    As for subjective experiences - this is why we don't study them, they're subjective. We study the objective so we can make sense of the subjective.

    Leave a comment:


  • Buzzword
    replied
    Originally posted by apothanein kerdos
    I think the flaw is in assuming that apologetics is a modernistic thing in Christianity. Instead, we can trace apologetics to the first century.

    The application of apologetics as a tool of evangelism, however, is certainly modernistic. Instead, apologetics is a defense mechanism to explain why we're Christians and works as a 'pre-evangelism' tool to break down intellectual barriers to accepting Christ. It does not, however, cause someone to be saved.

    Postmodernism, alternatively, is a miserable failure because they rely on the Enlightenment definition of 'reason' and go from there, denying the objective truth within Christianity.
    What is the Enlightenment definition of reason?

    While I do think the postmodern approach to language (deconstructionist) is flawed, I still think the Christian community has spent far too much time trying to logically sort out our system of belief, without spending nearly enough time acknowledging and studying the individual subjective experiences of believers.

    Leave a comment:


  • apothanein kerdos
    replied
    Originally posted by Buzzword View Post
    I believe reason has a very definite place in our conversion experience, and also in our discernment and "filtering" of what we are told is truth.

    It isn't the whole deal in either, which is one way the Modernist methodology of evangelism and apologetics fails.

    I think the modernist method has spent so much time trying to objectivize every part of Christianity using logic (make everything logically concrete, and therefore "absolute") that it has left out the very subjective emotional experiences each of us go through individually when coming to Christ, and in our Christian walk.

    Which is one thing I believe the postmodern mindset is at least approaching correctly:
    Making testimony and personal experience a larger part of witnessing and apologetics, taking over areas where only objective logic and the accompanying method of scriptural interpretation had previously dominated.

    Not that logic can be entirely kicked out, or NOTHING would be concrete and absolute.

    Rather it seems an attempt to bring the subjective and the objective closer to balance, bringing together reason and "the words on the page," with experience and "what is it saying to you".
    I think the flaw is in assuming that apologetics is a modernistic thing in Christianity. Instead, we can trace apologetics to the first century.

    The application of apologetics as a tool of evangelism, however, is certainly modernistic. Instead, apologetics is a defense mechanism to explain why we're Christians and works as a 'pre-evangelism' tool to break down intellectual barriers to accepting Christ. It does not, however, cause someone to be saved.

    Postmodernism, alternatively, is a miserable failure because they rely on the Enlightenment definition of 'reason' and go from there, denying the objective truth within Christianity.

    Leave a comment:


  • Buzzword
    replied
    I believe reason has a very definite place in our conversion experience, and also in our discernment and "filtering" of what we are told is truth.

    It isn't the whole deal in either, which is one way the Modernist methodology of evangelism and apologetics fails.

    I think the modernist method has spent so much time trying to objectivize every part of Christianity using logic (make everything logically concrete, and therefore "absolute") that it has left out the very subjective emotional experiences each of us go through individually when coming to Christ, and in our Christian walk.

    Which is one thing I believe the postmodern mindset is at least approaching correctly:
    Making testimony and personal experience a larger part of witnessing and apologetics, taking over areas where only objective logic and the accompanying method of scriptural interpretation had previously dominated.

    Not that logic can be entirely kicked out, or NOTHING would be concrete and absolute.

    Rather it seems an attempt to bring the subjective and the objective closer to balance, bringing together reason and "the words on the page," with experience and "what is it saying to you".

    Leave a comment:


  • apothanein kerdos
    replied
    I'm assuming you had lunch today. When you ate, did God illuminate the taste of the food to you, or was it your taste buds, which are part of God's design plan that allow for you to taste?

    Leave a comment:


  • Brother Mark
    replied
    Originally posted by apothanein kerdos View Post
    I don't get it. I give Scripture, analysis on the Scripture, good reasons for what I'm saying...and I'm met yet again with talking points. Why? The Scriptures given run contrary to your interpretation of one passage that is severely out of context. I'm just not understanding what is going on...it's as though the article wasn't even read.
    I agree with the scriptures you posted AK. But I don't agree with the concept above them. That's the point I am making.

    Let me say it this way... God gives us light. When we respond correctly, he gives us more light. When we don't respond correctly, even that light he gave us is taken away. So again, it is our response to the knowledge of him, i.e. our hearts, not our heads that make knowing him possible. That, along with the power of the holy spirit.

    I am NOT saying reason doesn't play a necessary role in our life, either spiritual or physical. What I am saying is that it generally plays a greater role than does our faith and revelation. Unfortunately, that is to our loss.

    Leave a comment:


  • Brother Mark
    replied
    The Bible tends to teach a dual concept for understanding - natural understanding and Divinely illuminated understanding. The natural understanding teaches that reasoning is something that was implanted in humans from the beginning of creation, that we can know God through His creation. It also teaches that such reasoning is faulty and that we have often ignored it in order to partake in a lie (due to our sinful desires). Thus, we are also told that the Lord illuminates all knowledge to humans when they seek after Him. It is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of all knowledge. If one wishes to have proper reasoning, then one must seek after Him.
    OK. Maybe this paragraph can be used to show more what I am speaking about. I do agree, in general, with what you wrote. Here is what I would make very, very clear... God is taking a very active role in teaching us. It is not our reason that teaches us but rather God himself. It is reason that is submitted to God that is capable of learning.

    An example I used earlier, a lost man can dissect scriptures. But will the Holy Spirit open his eyes and show him the mysteries? No. The mysteries do not come from reason, but rather from revelation.

    For instance, how did Author Pink know that Noah's ark was a type of Christ? How did John the Baptist know that Jesus was the Passover Lamb that would take away the sins of the world?

    When the donkey preached to Balaam, what was his world view prior to God miraculously intervening in his life?

    Now, reason can be used. But it's not just that God helps all men. It is far more relational than that. It is God personally blinding or healing the spiritual eyes of men depending on the condition of their heart.

    John 9:39-41
    39 And Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see; and that those who see may become blind." 40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things, and said to Him, "We are not blind too, are we?" 41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, 'We see,' your sin remains.
    NASB

    In other words, God will see to it that if we choose to neglect him, that we will be blind. It is why some of the great men of wonderful knowledge miss Him. While they are smart and highly educated, their reason leads them astray. I know you make a distinction and it is a distinction I agree with in part.

    Let me try another way. Paul, had a great mind. He was highly intelligent. John was a simple fisherman. Which of them had more understanding of God and what God was going to do? IMO, John for sure, and most likely Paul, were taken up into the third heaven. Were the things revealed to them revealed by reason? Or only by the power of God?

    Now, if you say John had to have some understanding of words, etc. in order to understand what God was saying, OK. I agree with that. It's just that reason is not what leads us to God. It is God himself that draws us and teaches us. God will use reason for some, as he did with Isaiah when he said "Come now, let us reason together. For though your sins be as scarlet they shall be white as snow." But for others, he just bust their bubble.

    Leave a comment:


  • apothanein kerdos
    replied
    Originally posted by Brother Mark View Post
    [/I]Thing is, I don't agree fully with this statement. I'll explain why below.



    Agreed. It can aid in it, though it is not necessary.



    Good answer. But I was referring to Paul. All his reasoning did nothing to show him who Jesus was. It actually prevented it. When Jesus did show up, he told Paul, "Why do you persecute me". Paul responded "Who are you?" He believed before he even knew who. That's the point.

    Why doesn't reason always work? Because mankind is willingly ignorant. If you show me a person with an honest heart, one that is seeking God, reason will have an impact. Show me someone that doesn't seek God and has no desire for real truth, and I will show you someone that suppresses the truth in their heart and chooses to believe a lie rather than the truth.

    God speaks of revelation in scripture. For instance, a lost man, using reason can teach from the bible. He can dissect language with the best of them. But can he really teach from the word with power and might and in revelation knowledge?

    There is a place for reason. But there is a much greater place for preaching not in wisdom, but in power and might. Here's another way of putting it...

    How does one understand the parables? Can he do so through reason alone? No! For God specifically hid the meaning from those that would use reason! So we search it out, not only with reason, but with the Holy Spirit as well.

    But cutting to the chase, it seems you are asking the question, what must one know before he can be saved. I say nothing. For when God shows up, as he did with Paul, all paradigns shift. IOW, I am a much bigger fan of revelation or epiphany from the Holy Spirit than I am a fan of reason, though I do find reason very useful as long as it remains under the power of the Holy Spirit.

    1 Cor 1:26-31

    26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, 29 that no man should boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 that, just as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord."
    NASB

    I really don't think we are far apart, but I do think our difference is a major one. Perhaps I am wrong but we will see.

    I don't get it. I give Scripture, analysis on the Scripture, good reasons for what I'm saying...and I'm met yet again with talking points. Why? The Scriptures given run contrary to your interpretation of one passage that is severely out of context. I'm just not understanding what is going on...it's as though the article wasn't even read.

    Leave a comment:


  • Brother Mark
    replied
    Originally posted by apothanein kerdos View Post
    I thought I made it clear that reason alone can't bring someone to God:

    At the same time, we must be careful not to say that reason saves us. To use an example by Peter Kreeft, reason is the boat that takes us across the river of doubt, but it takes faith to leap off the boat once it has hit the shore. There must be an acceptance of this faith that is based on propositional Truth, but not propositional. After all (to use Kreeft again), no one proposes in propositions, yet there is a propositional truth behind all proposals. Likewise, we must acknowledge we are entering into a relationship that is more than reason, but is based on Truth.


    Thing is, I don't agree fully with this statement. I'll explain why below.

    Now, to say that reason doesn't bring us to God or doesn't aid in it, we would have to discredit quite a few conversion stories.
    Agreed. It can aid in it, though it is not necessary.

    As for the smartest person in the NT? Christ Himself - He was the source of Truth in person.
    Good answer. But I was referring to Paul. All his reasoning did nothing to show him who Jesus was. It actually prevented it. When Jesus did show up, he told Paul, "Why do you persecute me". Paul responded "Who are you?" He believed before he even knew who. That's the point.

    Why doesn't reason always work? Because mankind is willingly ignorant. If you show me a person with an honest heart, one that is seeking God, reason will have an impact. Show me someone that doesn't seek God and has no desire for real truth, and I will show you someone that suppresses the truth in their heart and chooses to believe a lie rather than the truth.

    God speaks of revelation in scripture. For instance, a lost man, using reason can teach from the bible. He can dissect language with the best of them. But can he really teach from the word with power and might and in revelation knowledge?

    There is a place for reason. But there is a much greater place for preaching not in wisdom, but in power and might. Here's another way of putting it...

    How does one understand the parables? Can he do so through reason alone? No! For God specifically hid the meaning from those that would use reason! So we search it out, not only with reason, but with the Holy Spirit as well.

    But cutting to the chase, it seems you are asking the question, what must one know before he can be saved. I say nothing. For when God shows up, as he did with Paul, all paradigns shift. IOW, I am a much bigger fan of revelation or epiphany from the Holy Spirit than I am a fan of reason, though I do find reason very useful as long as it remains under the power of the Holy Spirit.

    1 Cor 1:26-31

    26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, 29 that no man should boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 that, just as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord."
    NASB

    I really don't think we are far apart, but I do think our difference is a major one. Perhaps I am wrong but we will see.

    Leave a comment:


  • apothanein kerdos
    replied
    Originally posted by Brother Mark View Post
    One cannot reason himself to God AK. Who was one of the smartest men in the NT? How did he come to God?

    Though if a man has a pure heart, his reason will aid him in coming to grips with what God is trying to say to him. It is the word of God that has power.
    I thought I made it clear that reason alone can't bring someone to God:

    At the same time, we must be careful not to say that reason saves us. To use an example by Peter Kreeft, reason is the boat that takes us across the river of doubt, but it takes faith to leap off the boat once it has hit the shore. There must be an acceptance of this faith that is based on propositional Truth, but not propositional. After all (to use Kreeft again), no one proposes in propositions, yet there is a propositional truth behind all proposals. Likewise, we must acknowledge we are entering into a relationship that is more than reason, but is based on Truth.

    Now, to say that reason doesn't bring us to God or doesn't aid in it, we would have to discredit quite a few conversion stories.

    As for the smartest person in the NT? Christ Himself - He was the source of Truth in person.

    Leave a comment:

Working...
X