1. “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.” – Psalms 14:1 (ESV)
Clever. Very clever. A group of Minnesota atheists raised $3000 to buy a couple of billboards – one in Minneapolis, the other in St. Paul. They are designed to look just like the billboards a Christian anti-abortion group puts up, bearing a photo of a happy baby and a pro-life message. It appears the atheists even used the same font style (or one very similar) for the lettering.
And what is the message these atheists want to get across? The St. Paul billboard states, “We are all born without belief in gods. Learn how to be a born again atheist.” The Minneapolis sign reads, “Please don’t indoctrinate me with religion. Teach me to think for myself.”
To my mind, the essential problem with atheism is rooted in a skewed view of reason. After all, a national atheist group is holding their “Reason Rally,” followed by their national convention in Bethesda MD. (Ironically – or perhaps reasonably – enough, the city is named after Bethesda (or Bethsaida) in Israel – the place where invalids seeking healing gathered at the Sheep Pool, and where Jesus gave sight to the blind man.)
Perhaps we should best define the meaning of the noun “reason.” So that I’m not accused of dogmatic bias on this, I will use a secular source: the Random House dictionary:
1. “a basis or cause, as for some belief, action, fact, event, etc.: the reason for declaring war.
2. a statement presented in justification or explanation of a belief or action.
3. the mental powers concerned with forming conclusions, judgments, or inferences.
4. sound judgment; good sense.
5. normal or sound powers of mind; sanity.
6. Logic . a premise of an argument.
7. Philosophy .
a. the faculty or power of acquiring intellectual knowledge, either by direct understanding of first principles or by argument.
b. the power of intelligent and dispassionate thought, or of conduct influenced by such thought.
c. Kantianism . the faculty by which the ideas of pure reason are created (1).”
To an atheist, there is no God – no Deity, no Creator, no Savior. What is reasonable to them is that mankind is the be-all and end-all of life. Humanity lives to please ourselves. People love one another, but not God. Human beings define truth.
The problem is that these ideas are not reasonable. Look around you: you see evidence of a Creator all around you! Blue skies by day, a brightly lit universe at night. Trees. Rivers. Animals. People.
People – humans – beings who can think and feel and see and taste and hear and comprehend and write and draw and do.
But as humans, we are not as smart as we think we are. Hence, our abilities to reason alone are hampered. This is why some simply can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to God. They reason that if they cannot the Lord, He must not exist. They will accept such nonsense as Darwinism and not entertain the reasonable view that all of creation must have been created, and thus there must be a creator, and that Creator must be higher than we are. Some claim it is all “intelligent design,” which basically means there is a God but, to save face, we can’t admit He is God. How reasonable is that?
What sense is there in living for one’s self? How can we reconcile that with loving the people around us? By definition, love is putting the interests of others above self. How can we prefer ourselves over others and prefer others over ourselves at the same time? How reasonable is that?
And what is truth? Truth must be absolute, otherwise it is merely opinion. Without truth, we have no morals. Without truth, we have no basis for reason. So, to be reasonable we must have absolute truth. And, since humanity is so flawed, we simply are not intelligent enough to fully outline – let alone fully comprehend – what truth really is. How can man, who does not know everything, possibly be the definer of ultimate truth? How reasonable is that?
The simple truth is that there is a God – a loving Creator and Sustainer of all. And that God is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit of the Bible. He Created all this world and the universe around it. He sustains life on this earth. (Think about it: your heart beats, your brain functions, your lungs inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, all without you having to think about it.) And reality – concrete reality – exists, therefore truth must exist. And that truth comes from the One Who is Truth Himself: God.
2 “The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. 3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. 4 Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the Lord?” – Psalms 14:2-4 (ESV)
The Hebrew word translated here as “understand” is śākal, which basically means to intelligently consider – or, thus, to reason. If you think about it, it is only reasonable to figure out that God exists, that He is in control of all, and that we had all better be seeking Him.
Look at verse 4 above. “Have they no knowledge?” can be translated as “Are they blind?” (Again, atheists, Bethesda – irony or God? I know what I believe…) To truly believe in no belief at all is the epitomy of blind ignorance. Atheists cling to a faith in no faith. How sad. How unreasonable.
5 “There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous. 6 You would shame the plans of the poor, but the Lord is his refuge. 7 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.” – Psalms 14:5-7 (ESV)
Living a life that is true and reasonable requires faith in the God Who is Creator and Sustainer of all, who is Truth Himself (and, therefore, Existence Himself), who is Love Himself (for only Love in its purest could bear sinful humanity and, considering all the horrible things man does to his fellow man, we cannot – as a whole – bear one another and, therefore, do not possess the ability in an of ourselves to truly love anyone).
There is no reason for atheists to claim they believe in liberty of belief yet want to deprive Christians of their rights in the process. If, as an atheist, one chooses not to believe in God, that is their choice. I wish it were not, but it is. However, such a choice does not entitle them to try to take away the rights of Christians (which some have been systematically and legally trying to do since 1959). And, Christians, don’t despair. God will have the ultimate victory. So will those who follow Him.
The simple truth is that our battle is not against atheists, “for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12, ESV). We know all too well where the root of such non-belief in unbelief lies. As Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10, ESV). Robbing people of faith – the ultimate endgame of atheism – is spiritual larceny on a grand scale.
Still, it is far better to be stronger in standing up for our faith in Christ, as opposed to standing against atheists. We need to let God’s love shine through us, being merciful and kind – being salt and light. Remember that dark cannot put out light, but light can certainly illuminate the life out of darkness, exposing the lie that it is. Now that is reasonable!
Source: (1) "reason." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 28 Jan. 2012. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/reason>.
One thought on “On Reason and Truly Being Reasonable”
Chris, thanks for the encouragement. I look forward to reading more. God is so good and I cling to his word.