Come now, let us reason together."
Through the prophet Isaiah, God
invites us to join Him in doing this. That we also desperately need to
do so with each other should go without saying, but with this world
being what it is, it can't be said often enough! And one thing which
worries me quite a bit about these days is how many of us basically
REFUSE to 'listen to reason'. It may well prove that the best solution
to deal with all such is to pit them against each other, place our bets
and pass the popcorn!
On the other hand, I also know a good deal
more of history and of theology than most other folks and that knowledge
tells me that it is very likely that it has been the few among humans
who have used reason, and taken its use seriously, over the millennia.
Many such are probably counted among the 'greats' of both disciplines
and of others. So, then, why should I worry?
Two causes for worry
occur to me just now. First, we have been screwing up our environment on
a never-before-seen scale and changing the very climate while we do.
And there are still willful fools among us with their heads in the sand
(or, more likely, up their own derrieres) who refuse to acknowledge it.
Second, at no time in history was anyone in, say, Paris, likely to hear
about a traffic accident or a criminal chase or whatever in Shanghai or
Buenos Aires. The world is still shrinking in that way.
Closing of the Muslim Mind, Robert Reilly relates how the Muslim world
committed intellectual suicide starting actually just about a millennium
ago and finishing about eight hundred years ago. It took rather a
while, as you can see. He ends the book as follows:
"As was seen in
the blood-soaked history of the twentieth century, the "priority of the
irrational"--even if embraced only by the radical few--can inexorably
lead to limitless violence, because the primacy of the will, whether in
God or man, knows no [natural] bounds. The recovery of reason, grounded
in logos, is the only sentinel of sanity. This is imperative for the
East as well as the West." I might add Euripides' noted line, "Whom the
gods destroy they first make mad."
We who are reason's sentinels,
whether we be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, agnostic,
atheist or Spaghettists, need to support, strengthen and encourage one
another. The European separation of reason from faith is not
particularly helpful in this; neither is the encouragement of unreason
and consequent blinding of faith as seems now to be common among
'fundies' of at least all the Abrahamian faiths. Faith and reason both
need to be in partnership. Such a partnership will continue to be, as it
has been, in a costly but fruitful and noble tension--and so it must
and should remain, because it is so fruitful.
The choice is before
us all, today and every day: the work of reasoning together and with God
(and He will help, but we must ask first) or madness and consequent
destruction. With His help, let's do all we can to push the first and
thereby neutralize the second. Can I have an amen?
And remember: seventy years ago today, we saw the unconditional surrender of a regime that set itself against reason and rationality.