Sunday, January 28, 2007

Irrational Rationality


Why is it that the skeptics demand reason, while objecting a priori to any arguement they don't like? When the Christian refuses to scream and throw things, they seem to be at a loss.

We have been treated to an outstanding discussion concerning the existence of God, under the post Creation Explains the Origin of the Universe. It becomes obvious as we progress through the discussion that to deny God, through the use of strict rationalism (the demand for empirical demonstration), is ultimately irrationalism at its highest.

This is true because it demands rationalism, in a universe of chance and possibility. Anything is possible, and everything is the result of chance, they argue. But at the same time, evidence is demanded on the basis of faith in the ephemeral laws of logic –an absolute irrational and baseless faith, in a universe of chance and unlimited possibility.

One great illustration of irrationality and an example of the common assumption of the atheist is to try and "trap" the believer with a condemnation of "blind faith". They assume that the theist holds to the same principles of an irrational universe as they do, and consequently assume that faith is "baseless".

Selective Evidence

A related ploy, is the use of hyper-selective evidence. Usually relating to science and logic, the best illustration was a recent exchange between Armchair Theologian and the anonymous blogger --Hairless Chimp.
Hairless Chimp wrote:

Dictionary.com's definition of faith:http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/faith. It appears you don't know what faith is. However, its possible that your church/religion (your particular flavor) has taught you this new definition. IF that is the case, then it is a trait very similar to cults - Creation of new definitions for existing words, whereby doing so helps to isolate the individule from the outside world...Faith is the context of relgion, is belief in the absence of proof.

Hairless Chimp demonstrates the commonly assumed arrogance of the skeptic, who assumes Christians don't have the ability to check their sources. In this particular instance, Chimp dishonestly demanded that Lyndon accept his selective definition of faith as THE definitive word. However, the article he referenced, gave 9 definitions, as follows:

--noun
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
6. the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith.
7. the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.
8. Christian Theology. the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.
—Idiom
9. in faith, in truth; indeed: In faith, he is a fine lad."

Armchair Theologian rightly called him to task replying:

You select the 2nd meaning and apply it to my use of the word, which is actually the 8th meaning. You cannot select a meaning, of multiple various meanings, and apply it wherever you desire.

Armchair, and myself would be closest to either number 3, or 8 above, especuially with the definition of 8 credited with being the definition of Christian theology: "8. Christian Theology. the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved". This kind of arguement can only be describes as duplicitous.

Sloppy scholarship, and demands that the Christian accept misunderstood and misquoted authority is common. Very often it is assumed that "science" authorities have "proved" facts concerning evolution. This is not true, but a random quote from the scoffer usually surfaces, demanding submission.

Arrogance

Armchair Theologian also points out the assumption of superiority, the third major issue that surfaces. Skeptics often come across with the sort of confidence one might expect in someone that holds a Biblical studies PhD's and throw out some pseudo-intellectual second hand argument concerning supposed Biblical contradictions or irrationalities. As Armchair writes:
Just because you cannot figure out some portions of the bible doesn't mean it doesn't make sense...

It is encouraging to see people react so violently against a God they profess to deny. As Shakespeare wrote, "Methinks thou dost protest too much". As Paul wrote, "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven, against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (Rom 1:18). That is, they work hard to deny evidence and hold down under the surface of the water of irrationality, the balloon of evidence that is everywhere present.


In the end, the text proclaims, "Professing to be wise, they become fools". The irrationality of the rationalist destroys all his or her attempts to maintain the fa├žade of denial.
Ultimately, this is a purely moral problem, as the skeptic, has no epistemological difficulty in discerning God. There is only a heart issue. And only God can change the heart.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Oh man. Chad.

this. was. AWESOME. Very, very great post - I enjoyed reading it!! (and better late than never, eh?...) :)