Logic may be viewed, perhaps, as a machine which is designed, at best, to be such that when we feed into it certain data and turn the logic crank, we inevitably get certain conclusions out the other end. Logic is designed to give inevitably true results starting from known true–or assumed-to-be-true–premises. Logic is a wonderful tool when we want only logical conclusions. We should not reject such a machine merely because it is not equipped to handle all of reality. The scientist who commits himself to use a logic machine is doing wisely, qua scientist, for use on data of science. But if he feeds into that machine convictions that there is no God, or ignores God because He is not in his corpus of data, and then draws from his logic the conclusion that God does not exist, his conclusion is irrelevant. Logic is a tool; it should not be made into a religion.
–Kenneth L. Pike,
With Heart and Mind
I do not feel any contempt for an atheist,
who is often a man limited and constrained
by his own logic to a very sad simplification.
–G. K. Chesterton
Men talk of the extravagances and frenzies that have been produced by mysticism; they are a mere drop in the bucket. In the main, and from the beginning of time, mysticism has kept men sane. The thing that has driven them mad was logic… The only thing that has kept the race of men from the mad extremes of the convent and the pirate-galley, the night-club and the lethal chamber, has been mysticism— the belief that logic is misleading, and that things are not what they seem.
— G. K. Chesterton
Most people don’t for a minute think that there are no objective standards of truth, rationality, and logic. . . [A] post-modern culture is an impossibility; it would be utterly unlivable. Nobody is a post-modernist when it comes to reading the labels on a medicine bottle versus a box of rat poison.
–William Lane Craig
One of the crucial factors relating to faith and belief is the fact that humans are not merely rational creatures. We often think and act in very irrational, and sometimes downright foolish ways. Reason does not reign supreme in our lives.
Along with a mind, we have a heart—a motive center. Our heart tends to find certain things attractive or repulsive, and encourages our mind to look for logical reasons to support these inclinations. Before long “good” arguments are found to back them up these preferences and desires of the heart.
We often end up eating something we shouldn’t eat, or buying something we shouldn’t buy. At times we act or react in wrong and hurtful ways.
What happened to our rationality?
It got overtaken by our desires. Our mind got highjacked by our heart.
A similar phenomenon takes place in matters of faith. There are things swirling around in our hearts like guilt, pride, lust, resentment, hurtful memories, etc. Our intellect is colored and shaped by these feelings and inclinations. We latch on to certain ideas because we “feel” inclined to do so. It may have little or nothing to do with logic or reason.
It was suggested by Thomas Cranmer that what the heart loves, the will chooses and the mind justifies.
Thomas Aquinas went as far as to say “Most men seem to live according to sense rather than reason.”
So the questions arise: Do people reject belief in God because of cold hard evidence? Or do they do so because they have hearts that prefer it to be that way? Do we honestly seek to know the truth, whatever it may be, or do we seek evidence to support what we really want to believe? How objective are we really?
I am afraid that rationality is only a part of what’s going on. Perhaps a small part. We are often eager to believe what we know is not true. No one deceives us more often than we deceive ourselves.
Even in matters of life and death.
In fact, it’s rather scary.