C S Lewis on thinking and atheism


“Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Uniess I belleve in God, I cannot belleve in thought. So I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.” 
– C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity, p. 32

John Wesley for Today – Reason, reasonably considered

Woodcut of the Augsburg Confession, Article VI...
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It is the true remark of an eminent man, who had made many observations on human nature, “If reason be against a man, a man will always be against reason.” This has been confirmed by the experience of all ages. Very many have been the instances of it in the Christian as well as the heathen world; yea, and that in the earliest times. Even then there were not wanting well-meaning men who, not having much reason themselves, imagined that reason was of no use in religion; yea, rather, that it was a hinderance to it. And there has not been wanting a succession of men who have believed and asserted the same thing. But never was there a greater number of these in the Christian Church, at least in Britain, than at this day. (here)

It’s those seminary types which are about the Reason!

Wesley is arguing that Reason and Faith (i.e., religion) can actually exist side by side. I sort of like his quote at the beginning. Think of the YEC or one who holds to this or that doctrine. If Reason (science, facts, etc..) is against the person, that person will stand against Reason.

The Theory of Motivated Reasoning… explained centuries earlier… by a theologian.

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I was born this way

The old adage is: “a man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument.” Very true, regardless of how true the argument is, which is why those who ‘experience’ events (UFO’s, possession, etc…) are those the hardest to convince that they are in fact wrong. Mass hysteria is a wicked little thing, ain’t it? But, maybe there is  scientific reason why people will not give up to logic and reason –

In the annals of denial, it doesn’t get much more extreme than the Seekers. They lost their jobs, the press mocked them, and there were efforts to keep them away from impressionable young minds. But while Martin’s space cult might lie at on the far end of the spectrum of human self-delusion, there’s plenty to go around. And since Festinger’s day, an array of new discoveries in psychology and neuroscience has further demonstrated how our preexisting beliefs, far more than any new facts, can skew our thoughts and even color what we consider our most dispassionate and logical conclusions. This tendency toward so-called “motivated reasoning” helps explain why we find groups so polarized over matters where the evidence is so unequivocal: climate change, vaccines, “death panels,” the birthplace and religion of the president (PDF), and much else. It would seem that expecting people to be convinced by the facts flies in the face of, you know, the facts.

via The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science | Mother Jones.

Essentially, it is the ‘theory of motivated reasoning’ which allows us to ‘push threatening information away’ and to ‘pull friendly information close. We apply fight-or-flight reflexes not only to predators, but to data itself.’

In other words, because we deem one group of facts and data as untouchable, we will actually fight anything that attempts to do some harm or damage to it because instinctively, when it does damage to that group, we feel that it will damage ourselves.

It is a fascinating  article, actually, and helps to understand a wide range of human reactions to science – and faith, for that matter.

It think that it further explains our inability to see gray, as well…

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Luther Vs. Zwingli: Faith vs. Reason

For those theologians who do not understand the mystery of the sacraments – baptism and communion – seem to me to be those who would rather accept human reason than the faith once for all delivered to the Apostles and the traditions which they handed down. The sacraments weren’t discarded by Christianity until the time of Christianity’s archfoe, Zwingli, decided that human reasoning was enough to read the biblical texts. Followed by other heretics, Zwingli’s view on the sacraments has permeated Western low-church, Protestantism attempting to rewrite history to fit what is little more than the 16th century’s Todd Bentley (Zwingli) and his human reasoning.

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What’s so Evil about Religion?

According to this enlightened blogger, it is the mind set which rejects reason and facts.

It is not any specific religious doctrine or act in the name of “god” that is the most harmful thing about religion. Rather it is the religious mindset. It is the religious mindset that allows people to reject facts and reason. It is the religious mindset that allows people to believe something just because they choose to, or because someone like Osama Bin Laden, Adolf Hitler or Glenn Beck tells them to. It is faith, belief with no rational basis, that is the foundation of all religion and which makes it so dangerous.

Odd, don’t you think, that he associates God with Glenn Beck and Hitler? It is obvious that this person has never read the works of the Reformation, or any modern religious thinker, and I am given to doubting that this man has read any real religious writer, would see the reason and the acceptance of plenty of facts.