Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Beyond reason

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." Revelation 1:8

One of the many features of faith is that no matter how ridiculous a story or an idea may be, it is possible through faith and therefore doesn't require a rational explanation. As a believer I often came across nonbelievers who posed the question "if God made man then who made God?" I would often refer to the above texts or others that were similar to it. My defense was that God was not created that he just is. I could not think beyond God nor did it ever occur to me delve into the origins of God's existence.  

At the time I knew nothing of logical reasoning or philosophy and was completely unaware that by using the Bible and its contents as evidence was nothing more than circular reasoning. It never occurred to me to question the origins of the Bible, who wrote it, how was it composed, compiled, and edited etc. I simply believed that it was the inerrant and wholly inspired word of God. The Bible itself was a witness of itself and the many claims made within its pages. 

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16

When people questioned the Bible I thought of their lack of understanding as being due to the influence of demons clouding their minds making them incapable of grasping what I thought then was 'the truth.' The bible says that they desired the things of this world and of the flesh more than the things that are of God. 

A true fundamentalist as I once was is not moved by logic or reason and sees these things as inferior to the things of the Lord. 

8“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:8-9

The Bible had an answer for philosophy and other such things that were put in place by the devil to lead mankind astray and keep them from ever obtaining knowledge of the truth that would lead to their eternal salvation. 

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:8

I was amazed as a believer when I saw these texts and thought to myself back then that God through his word had an answer for everything. This combined with my "supernatural" subjective experiences were enough to confirm my beliefs and the surety of my faith. It never occurred to me at the time that the authors of the Bible were promoting an ideology and that the scriptures themselves were nothing more than propagandist writings used to propound yet another ridiculous mythical set of beliefs. 

Even apologists who claim to be using logic and reason to confirm their beliefs are completely unaware of their utter and complete condition of confirmation bias. Unlike the scientific method they never try to falsify their beliefs. They begin with the presupposition that what they believe is true; and then they look for "evidence" to support what they already have convinced themselves is true ( circular reasoning). 

A theist does not reason beyond his/her faith. They go to the edge of enquiry and when they reach that point they turn around. I remember how when I was stuck and did not have an answer to certain questions made to me I would refer to the scriptures and remind myself that there are mysteries that the Lord in all his wisdom has chosen to remain hidden from us. 

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12 

As Christian apologist William Lane Craig once pointed out:
"Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa." Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics (Revised ed.). Wheaton, IL: Crossway. 1994. ISBN 0-89107-764-2.

Note: All biblical citations comes from the New International Version of the scriptures. 

1 comment:

  1. Interesting quote by WLC that he at least acknowledges the such conflicts could occur.