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.
Reason, Faith, and Revolution
People almost invariably
arrive at their beliefs
not on the basis of proof
but on the basis of what
they find attractive.
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.