One of the most fascinating facets of modern society is the diminished used of reasoning. Emotionalism, egoism, and relativism have overtaken the most fundamental, and most basic, truths so that all forms of logic are not necessarily rejected, but unused. So unused are they, that when one follows even the most basic form of logic and reasoning, it is unrecognized by the general populace. Please don’t misinterpret that statement. I am not saying that people are stupid or without intellect. What I am saying is that reason has gone unused and is no longer considered a valid form of argument, while other irrational manners of reasoning are.
The ability to reason is not only an extraordinary characteristic, but the impact it carries behind it can be quite striking. Have you ever paused to consider the role reasoning plays in life, or at least should play? Have you considered the ramifications when sense and reasoning are left behind in favor of other motivations? While urging you to consider the end of such paths, I want to take a look at one result that I find not only interesting, but one that also establishes one of the greatest paradoxes that exists in our world.
Because reasoning is what propels us to conclusions in what we are about to explore, reasoning must be understood in the proper sense. Merriam-Webster defines reason as “the power of the mind to think and understand in a logical way” (1). By nature then, reasoning implies logic, logic that is used to form accurate assessments and judgments. From a Christian perspective, we must ensure that we understand something else that establishes a basis of reasoning. It has been established that long ago any good and perfect gift has come from the Lord (James 1:17). Even more, we know that humans have an ability to reason because it is used in the most basic of tasks and we can use that same ability in order to reason that if we have it, it must be God-given because he is the creator of man (Genesis 1). As if that weren’t enough, Scripture is direct in its acknowledgment of the Lord as the giver of wisdom and knowledge (Proverbs 2:6). The importance of our ability to reason is established in the Lord, because He is the source of it.
Rightly used, reason allows us to assess, interpret, and conclude. It is first used to assess circumstances, evidence, and facts that are placed before someone. It could be the archaeologist assessing uncovered pottery fragments, while the everyday shopper assesses two different brands of beans in the supermarket. That information is then interpreted in order to draw conclusions.
It is unfortunate though, that through a legitimate assessment of information we can reasonably conclude that many of the judgments made are tainted by personal agendas. Just look at the debacle involving Karen King of Harvard University (see the story here). The key word here is ‘personal.’ That word allows for self to be the absolute authority here. The motivation of self opens the door to justification in order for the self to be fulfilled. Whether it be an open fallacy or disclosed emotionalism, those forms of justification are elevated to logical reasoning. Such thinking allows for the acceptance of all conclusions while attempting to deny others the opportunity to disagree.
Why address such a topic? First, because it has become so prevalent within our culture. Perhaps its always been there and I am just growing more aware of it. Perhaps it really is increasing. Whatever the case may be, the prevalence is undeniable . . . unless you some of the other justifications outside of logical reasoning. Second though, is how it is being used. I find it fascinating how it is being used to reject God.
Our minds, our hearts were part of God’s creation in man. Volition is a gift of God. We have even established that reasoning, logic, and the ability to think are gifts from God. Yet, those very gifts of God are being used to deny God. Hardly seems logical, yet we also know it to be the product of the fall. What an immense revelation of the depravity of man. While reasoning should be a gift that enables us to know God more, we use it to deny God more.
Such a revelation should compel us to respond. First, it should cause us to be informed. We should seek out to understand the processes of logic and reasoning more. That knowledge is put to best use when it is used to engage the false forms of reasoning that are employed today. It is used first to offer up legitimate points and defenses, and then is also used in order form informed responses. It is a god-given tool that should be used to fulfill our god-given responsibilities.