People who refuse to listen to reason…..are my kind of people.
I’m not a huge fan of “reason,” in part because we tend to define it improperly in the modern world. “Reason” in modern times is perceived as somehow being related to our sanity. “Reason” is also defined as, “the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic.”
There are two problems with this. First of all, we’re obviously all mad here, and second of all the, “power of the mind to think” does not follow a process of logic. Not even a little bit. We have been so inundated by culture, so today there is this prevailing myth that our brains are just like computers and that “logic and reason” are far superior and infinitely more valid than anything else, be it emotional, intuitive, or supernatural. Reason looks a bit like Mr Spock the Vulcan on Star Trek, or perhaps the later version, Data the android.
And we’re very, very, proud of it, too. Arrogant and haughty even. A bit like they did right before the French revolution, we’ve built an idol to the “goddess of reason.” Those totally reason based and rational humans from the French revolution, actually built a literal monument to her and held a coronation…..right before they just started beheading everyone.
A bit funny, but I just finished this long and boring test on logic and reason. Ha! Little did I know that if you score high enough, they just add another 300 questions. I aced it, scoring in the top 2 percentile. I submit this meaningless bit of trivia, not to brag, but to assure you that I am an expert on reason and logic. I know of what I speak.
I don’t desire reason, I don’t envy logic, and it’s not attached to pride. In fact, it’s been a real bear, a pain in the rear. For whatever reason, my brain recognizes patterns and spots logical contradictions with a vehemence. It can be exhausting sometimes. Rather then trying to become more reasonable, more logic focused, I’ve really had to learn how to take my “thoughts into captivity” and “lean not into my own understanding.”
Chuckling here, but if you truly want to whisper sweet nothings to me, go ahead and call me “delusional, insane, unreasonable, irrational, and absurd.” Fortunately that happens with some frequency in the blogging world.
So the mind’s ability to think, understand, and form judgments is actually not logical at all, it is mystical. Some synonyms for “mystical” are actually, “religious, spiritual, transcendental, paranormal, otherworldly, and supernatural.”
Some honest neuroscientists are going to say the same thing, we really have no idea what is going on up there. They still struggle to even define “consciousness,” the “mind,” the “soul,” or to understand its inner workings. The brain is still an uncharted frontier, what powers the mind is a complete unknown.
So, “logic and reason” are actually intuitive, imaginative, and mystical, in the sense that they can see things that are not “seen.” It is logical to see the trees swaying and to deduce, the wind is blowing. The wind however, is completely invisible to the human eye. To see a tree and to perceive the lumber to build a house, is logical, but it is driven by imagination,emotion, and intuition. It sees something that is not yet there.
Artists have understood this concept since forever. They’ll see an old stump and logically conclude, there’s a dolphin trapped in there waiting for me to reveal it. Most of the time I cannot see their dolphin with my own eyes, but if they have a good track record for carving such things, it’s quite logical to conclude they shall soon produce a dolphin.
As it says in the bible, “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”
But we have the mind of Christ. Ponder that one. I kind of think of it as wi/fi signal to the Almighty, open 24/7 with no interruptions, no denial of service attacks. We may well trip over the cord or temporarily break the connection in some way, but that connection is available to us all of the time, everywhere. Also, it’s free.
As Christians we could really benefit from confronting the fears of our own madness, from confronting the fears we have of other people’s madness, and showing one another some more grace and kindness. Christians like other people, often like to pride ourselves on our own reason and logic, seeming to forget the part about talking donkeys, burning bushes, parted seas, and the Son of Man rising from the tomb on the third day.
Atheists are right to call us “unreasonable, irrational, and illogical.” The solution is not to defensively puff ourselves up and assert our own capacity for logic and reason, but rather to firmly embrace and welcome the mystical and intuitive parts of our faith. They are a vastly superior form of thought, the place where wisdom lives. The place where God lives.
I’m all for sober mindedness, and also how, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” However, the bible is plumb full of tales of supernatural events and miracles, all designed to rock us out of our comfort zones, to demonstrate to us that God does not conform to our own perceptions, nor does He operate within what “reason and logic,” or even science, will insist on telling us what is true.