Limited Understanding

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“Do you think things always have an explanation?”
“Yes. I believe that they do. But I think that with our human limitations we’re not always able to understand the explanations. But you see, Meg, just because we don’t understand doesn’t mean that the explanation doesn’t exist.”

― Madeleine L’Engle,
A Wrinkle in Time

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A Built-In Homing Instinct

Pigeons follow noses

Homing pigeons have long blown the minds of many with their uncanny ability to find their way home, even across great and disorienting distances. Their innate navigational skills are astounding. Someone jokingly said, “I just sold my homing pigeons on EBay… for the 22nd time.”

It has been suggested that if we could teach a homing pigeon about geography it would probably never arrive at its destination. Its inherent bird instincts are a far superior guide for finding its way to its nest.

Could instinctive faith be a more trustworthy compass for humans than cold rationalism? Although in a state of disrepair, could our basic intuition not point us the right way?  It appears that humans are naturally predisposed, or “wired” to believe in a supreme being. The New Testament declares that the divine law is inscribed upon human hearts (Rom. 2:15). Never has a tribe been discovered that did not have some kind of belief in the supernatural. A recognition of God seems to be our default setting, written in our DNA.

It is not merely on the basis of reason and logic that a person must find God. When we consider how often reason has led us astray, it behooves us to give more credence to instinctive childlike faith.  It could well help many to set off in the direction of home.

The Cult of Reason

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You meet a thousand times in life with those who, in dealing with any religious question, make at once their appeal to reason, and insist on forthwith rejecting aught that lies beyond its sphere, without however being able to render any clear account of the nature and proper limits of the knowledge thus derived, or of the relation in which such knowledge stands to the religious needs of men. I would invite you, therefore, to inquire seriously whether such persons are not really bowing down before an idol of the mind, which, while itself of very questionable worth, demands as much implicit faith from its worshipers as divine revelation itself.

–Theodor Christlieb
Modern Doubt and Christian Belief

Satisfying the Soul

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We all want to be certain, we all want proof,
but the kind of proof we tend to want —
scientifically or philosophically demonstrable proof
that would silence all doubts once and for all —
would not in the long run, I think,
answer the fearful depths of our soul at all.

–Frederick Buechner

Reason, Faith and Folly

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Freudians and political radicals, along with a great many people who would see themselves as neither, are aware that without reason we are sunk, but that reason, even so, is not in the end what is most fundamental about us. Richard Dawkins claims with grandiloquent folly that religious faith dispenses with reason altogether, which wasn’t true even of the dim-witted authoritarian clerics who knocked me around at grammar school. Without reason, we perish; but reason does not go all the way down. It is not wall to wall. Even Richard Dawkins lives more by faith than by reason. There are even those uncharitable observers who have detected the mildest whiff of obsessive irrationalism in his zealous campaign for secular rationality. His anti-religious zeal makes the Gran Inquisitor look like a soggy liberal.

–Terry Eagleton,
Reason, Faith, and Revolution