The Unreasonableness of Reason Alone

A friend of mine, who happens to be an atheist, posted a link to this video by atheist Steven Pinker on Facebook recently. I would encourage you to watch it to give context to my comments that follow.  It’s typical of the bankrupt arguments atheists make in defense of their worldview.

FaithReasonReason is necessary in order to make sense of the universe. However, if the universe is nothing more that matter and energy, why does reason exist? Reason should not exist in a materialistic, atheistic worldview. If everything that exists is nothing more than matter and energy that exploded into existence on its own, and formed itself into the world we have today entirely by accident, then reason should not exist. Reason presupposes the existence something more than just matter and energy – it actually presupposes God.

Pinker states, “At heart, morality is treating other people the way one would want to be treated oneself.” Sounds a whole lot like something Jesus once said. If there is no God, then why should we treat others as we would want to be treated? What is the basis for such a belief? Isn’t evolution all about the survival of the fittest? The strongest survive, the weak die. If God does not exist, and evolution is true, then is would be immoral to help the weak, because this stunts the natural course of evolution by allowing the genes of the weak to continue in the gene pool. Yet, even the atheist knows that the Golden Rule is the basis for morality. Atheists must steal morality from the Christian worldview in order to make their own worldview work.

He also states, “Faith means believing something with no good reason to do it.” This is a classic strawman argument. Faith is not believing for no good reason, but rather, a reasonable step beyond what we can easily observe. Faith does not ignore reason, but extends it. Anyone who actually believes that faith means belief without reason clearly does not understand faith.

Pinker states, “I think that using the word ‘god,’ or the attitude of faith toward that you don’t know is a cop-out, it’s a way of slapping a label onto something rather than trying to understand it.” Pinker presupposes that God cannot be known. He presupposes that one cannot know through faith. Again, this simply shows his bias. God can be known, and faith can lead to real knowledge and truth. Just because he does not understand God does not mean there are no gods. But, because his atheistic worldview denies the existence of God, Pinker uses the cop-out of calling faith in God a cop-out, rather than trying to seek out and understand God and faith.

Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker

Pinker states, “There are some questions that may not have answers because they are bad questions, a question such as, ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’ It may just be a stupid question.” A question is not a “stupid question” simply because one’s worldview cannot answer it. Perhaps it’s a bad worldview, not a bad question. The fact that a naturalistic, atheistic worldview cannot answer these sorts of “big questions” of existence is precisely why such a worldview is inadequate and flawed. Pinker states that asking why we are here or what is our greater purpose is an example of a stupid question. Ironically, he then attempts to answer the question he just called stupid. He says he has an ethical imperative to be good to other people, to put his life to some purpose. Yet, he cannot answer the question of why this is true. A naturalistic, atheistic worldview cannot explain why we should be good to others, or why we should have any purpose in life. Again, atheists must steal the concepts of goodness and purpose from the Bible in order for their worldview to have any meaning. It is precisely because God is good and purposeful that goodness and purpose exist. Yet, an atheist cannot understand this and remain an atheist. It’s actually rather funny that Pinker refers to “taking advantage of the gifts that I find myself with.” Gifts imply a Giver.

Pinker’s personal philosophy of reason depends on arbitrary beliefs in morality and ethics, which is irrational, cannot be explained through reason. He has to resort to calling things he cannot explain “stupid questions,” because his deficient worldview of reason alone cannot logically or rationally explain them. A materialistic, atheistic worldview is self-refuting. It’s a shame he and others like him cannot understand the unreasonableness of relying solely on reason.

What then is the rational, reasonable alternative to materialistic atheism?

An atheistic worldview is complex, convoluted, and irrational, and cannot even answer the basic questions of existence. The Biblical worldview is so simple and reasonable that most children can understand.

bibleGod exists; He created the universe. The nature of the universe reflects the nature of its creator. The universe is logical, rational, and reasonable because God Who created it is logical, rational, and reasonable. The world was originally created perfect, reflecting the perfect nature of God. God created mankind in His image, with the capacity to make moral choices. Mankind chose to rebel against God, and this rebellion is the cause of all the imperfections and evil in the world today. God could have simply snuffed everything out, but because He loves us, He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our rebellion against Him. Anyone who chooses to turn from their sin, and who places their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, will be reconciled with God. The Biblical worldview logically and rationally explains everything that the materialistic, atheistic worldview seeks weakly tries to explain, as well as those “big questions” that materialism and atheism cannot even begin to explain.

As for myself, I choose the straight-forward, rational worldview that explains everything, rather than the self-refuting, irrational worldview that explains almost nothing. I choose Jesus.

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11 Responses

  1. Your take on evolution is wildly inaccurate.

    • How? At its most fundamental level, Darwinian evolution is all about natural selection and mutation. Mutation allegedly creates new genetic material; natural selection selects for beneficial genes, while weeding out non-beneficial ones. Helping the weak thwarts the process of natural selection, and weakens the gene pool. If there is no God, and evolution is the foundation for morality, then this would be immoral.

      • Evolution isn’t the foundation for morality. Why should it be? Evolution is something that happens in nature – like rain, but that doesn’t mean we have to make it the basis for our morality. Why should we? We don’t have to base our morality on evolution – and not on gravity or quantum physics.

      • You were doing fine up until ‘helping’.

      • If evolution isn’t the foundation for morality, then what is? Naturalistic atheism cannot even explain why morality exists, much less any objective basis for determining right and wrong.

      • *sigh* Christians. Only because YOU try to get all your answers from ONE place (and fail) other people don’t. Atheism is ONLY the simple idea that there are no gods. End of story. It doesn’t say anything about morality. As an atheists you search for better bases for morality than “some bronze age guy said god wants it”, for example humanism.

        Same thing with evolution: Evolution does not say ANYTHING about morality. It has nothing to do with morality. It describes something that happens in nature, nothing more.

        Just because you only have one source for all your answers – some book – doesn’t mean that other people are like you. If we search for a good morality system, we look at the people and not at some book.

      • A few comments:

        First, keep in mind that the primary purpose of this blog is NOT to be an open forum for debate. Respectful comments are encouraged, but comments that are disrespectful or argumentative will generally be deleted.

        Second, your comments are totally fallacious.

        You stated: “*sigh* Christians. Only because YOU try to get all your answers from ONE place (and fail) other people don’t… Just because you only have one source for all your answers – some book – doesn’t mean that other people are like you. If we search for a good morality system, we look at the people and not at some book.”

        This is a straw-man argument. Christians do not get ALL their answers from the Bible. Christians generally gain knowledge through at least three means: reason, faith, and experience. From my Christian perspective, science and reason are how I better understand the world God created. As I examine the complexity of cellular biology, or the grandeur of some distant galaxy, I see the omnipotence and omniscience of God. As humanity makes advances in technology, I better understand what it means that humanity was created in the image of God. However, reason also dictates that I do not blindly accept the conclusions of science, but rather accept or reject those conclusions based on whether they are consistent with other forms of truth.

        Contrary to what many atheists think, faith does not contradict reason, but rather complements reason. Unlike an atheist, I do not close my mind to that which I cannot directly observe. My understanding of God and the Bible influences how I understand and apply my reason and observations; my reason and observations influence How I understand God’s revelation.

        Similarly, my experiences are understood in light of reason and faith. My experiences and reason confirm my faith; my faith and experiences affect how I understand science; faith and reason give meaning to my experiences. Reason, experience, and faith work together to form my overall worldview. So, you assertion that Christians get ALL their answers from one source is a fallacious straw-man argument.

        You also stated: “Atheism is ONLY the simple idea that there are no gods. End of story. It doesn’t say anything about morality. As an atheists you search for better bases for morality than “some bronze age guy said god wants it”, for example humanism. Same thing with evolution: Evolution does not say ANYTHING about morality. It has nothing to do with morality. It describes something that happens in nature, nothing more.”

        All people, including atheists, have a worldview that is a combination of all of their beliefs, experiences, and reason. To claim that atheism has nothing to do with your other beliefs is simply false. It is ironic that you claim atheism doesn’t say anything about morality, but in the very next sentence contradict yourself by stating that atheists search for “better bases” for morality. Atheism clearly says a lot about morality; it eliminates the possibility of morality coming from God. The same goes for evolution. If humanity is the result of nothing more than mutations and natural selection over time, then morality must be defined within this context. If your atheism, evolutionary beliefs, and view of morality are totally independent of each other, then your worldview is even more disjointed and irrational than I suspected.

        My point is, we all seek to reconcile all of our beliefs into a coherent worldview. It is simply incorrect to claim atheism and evolution are mere ideas that do not affect your other beliefs. It is also my contention that atheism and evolution cannot be incorporated into a consistent worldview; in other words, a worldview based on atheism or evolution is necessarily self-contradictory. The only worldview I have found that is not self-contradictory is the Biblical worldview.

  2. “Reason presupposes the existence something more than just matter and energy – it actually presupposes God.”

    You try to make it sound like that was a logical argument, but it’s just your belief. As long as you can’t prove that, it’s just another “God has to be there, because I want it to be there” type of pseudo-argument.

    • Then perhaps you can explain to me, from an atheistic, materialistic worldview, why reason exists? If the universe consists of nothing ore than matter and energy, why do logic and reason exist? They shouldn’t, yet they do. Explain, please.

      • You claim they shouldn’t. Why? Reason and Logic exist simply because the matter and energy formed into life and live evolved into beings with a brain that was able create such concepts. Same thing as love, for example. Or football.

      • So, your “reasonable” explanation is the matter and energy magically transformed themselves into life, all by themselves, then these random lifeforms created reason, logic, love, and football?

        Wow. I really can’t argue against logic like that.

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