Ruthless Reason

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 12.05.56 AMReason is always a kind of brute force;
those who appeal to the head rather than the heart,
however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence.
We speak of ‘touching’ a man’s heart, but we can do
nothing to his head but hit it.
–G.K. Chesterton

A frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt

David BerlinskiHas anyone provided proof of God’s inexistence? Not even close. Has quantum cosmology explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here? Not even close. Have our sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life? Not even close. Are physicists and biologists willing to believe in anything so long as it is not religious thought? Close enough. Has rationalism and moral thought provided us with an understanding of what is good, what is right, and what is moral? Not close enough. Has secularism in the terrible 20th century been a force for good? Not even close, to being close. Is there a narrow and oppressive orthodoxy in the sciences? Close enough. Does anything in the sciences or their philosophy justify the claim that religious belief is irrational? Not even in the ball park. Is scientific atheism a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt? Dead on.

― David Berlinski
The Devil’s Delusion:
Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions

Nothing important can be proved

F. Buechner_190x190I can’t prove the friendship of my friend. When I experience it, I don’t need to prove it. When I don’t experience it, no proof will do. If I tried to put his friendship to the test somehow, the test itself would queer the friendship I was testing. So it is with the Godness of God.

The five so-called proofs for the existence of God will never prove to unfaith that God exists. They are merely five ways of describing the existence of the God you have faith in already.

Almost nothing that makes any real difference can be proved. I can prove the law of gravity by dropping a shoe out the window. I can prove that the world is round if I’m clever at that sort of thing—that the radio works, that light travels faster than sound. I cannot prove that life is better than death or love better than hate. I cannot prove the greatness of the great or the beauty of the beautiful. I cannot even prove my own free will; maybe my most heroic act, my truest love, my deepest thought are all just subtler versions of what happens when the doctor taps my knee with his little rubber hammer and my foot jumps.

Faith can’t prove a damned thing. Or a blessed thing either.

–Frederick Buechner
Beyond Words

Does atheism require faith?

Lennox John copyThe atheists claim that they don’t have faith. Oh yes they do, in their science, in the rational intelligibility of the universe. But half a minute! Where’s the evidence that that faith is justified in their worldview? It doesn’t exist, because their worldview is that human intelligence is simply the product of a mindless unguided process, but if that’s the case then why would you give it any credence whatsoever? Why would you believe anything that it produces?

–John Lennox
Oxford mathematician and philosopher

We all believe what we can not prove

I don’t know if there’s a God. (And neither do you, and neither does Professor Dawkins, and neither does anybody. It isn’t the kind of thing you can know. It isn’t a knowable item.) But then, like every human being, I am not in the habit of entertaining only the emotions I can prove. I’d be a unrecognizable oddity if I did.

― Francis Spufford
Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything,
Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense

We all believe fairy-tales

There are no rationalists. We all believe fairy-tales, and live in them. Some, with a sumptuous literary turn, believe in the existence of the lady clothed with the sun . . . Some hold the undemonstrable dogma of the existence of God; some the equally undemonstrable dogma of the existence of the man next door.

–G. K. Chesterton
Heretics

The nonexistence of poetry

It is possible for a person to contend that a poem is nothing but black marks on white paper. And such an argument might be convincing before an audience that could not read. You can examine the print under a microscope or analyze the paper and ink but you will never find something behind this sort of analysis that you could call “a poem.” Those who can read, however, will continue to insist that poems exist.

–C. S. Lewis
Christian Theology in Plain Language