One of the best articles on this subject.
Against Reason, Systems and Idols
“Reason is what I believe, those that disagree with me are therefore, unreasonable.” Everyone
I have noticed that very reasonable and intelligent men differ widely on a large number of issues. All seem to cling to the idea that their view is reasonable and the other side is unreasonable. This would seem to point to the possibility that the problem may lie in the concept of reason itself. Of course, to examine reason is like asking an eye to see itself. When reason looks at reason, it does so through a dirty lens, and this brings us to the place to begin our investigation of reason.
In my contemplation of reason I came up with a number of answers as to why reasonable men disagree. One of the most obvious is that some men are contentious and simply enjoy fighting and arguing. Of these men you could say, they love controversy because it gets their intellectual juices flowing and therefore it has become like a drug; they have become addicted to arguing and debating. They actually enjoy fighting with words and ideas and to them life would be boring without a good fight going on. These people are often blinded to truth by their love for the fight. Their real goal is not the truth but to win the argument.
The human ego needs to be addressed when discussing reason, for when we use reason to examine reason it is like looking at yourself in a mirror. However, it is not just any mirror. It is like the magical mirror of the step mother in Snow White. The one that hung on the wall and was asked, “Mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the fairest of them all?” Of course, the mirror called reason would be asked who is the smartest of them all. The egotism of reason is a very subtle form of intellectual pride that hides itself in “a search for the truth.” A search for the truth that can lead to intellectual pride, belittling of others and name-calling akin to; they’re stupid, morons, imbeciles, etc.
Moreover, the thing that we call reason is often captured and locked up by the idols or systems we create in our minds. Reason then becomes a slave to the system, serving and supporting the system. The explanation for this, is that reason works best when things are concrete, and systems make ideas that should be fluid to become concrete. This is why many so-called intellectuals believe that they can capture the truth and put it into their system. However, the truth is that you cannot capture the truth by any system or ideology, no more than you could capture a great river in a tea-cup. This is the first lesson you should learn in reason 101, i.e. reason has her limits and one of those limits is that she cannot be put into a closed system and still be reason.
Still, another lesson taught by true reason is that reason does not necessarily reign, nor is it the chief element in the state of mind that we humans call intelligence. In fact, reason that has been captured by a closed system can make you quite miserable and very narrow minded. True reason is happy to share its place with the imagination, the will and the emotions. In other words, it knows when not to be reasonable. It knows that it is finite and it is not God. A lesson that many who fancy themselves as philosophers and intellectuals should learn.
What happens when reason forgets that she is not God? Well, she will attempt to storm the very throne of God and pretend to be God. In this, she becomes what the ancients called an idol. We could conclude from this that the building of systems is nothing more than modern man’s building of temples for the idols of the human mind.
When reason alone looks for God, she is not searching for God with a capital G, she really is looking for a god that she can manipulate and place in her system or her temple of idols. Of course, for some any god that they might find is too finite and small for their system, so they simply make their system the absolute while throwing God out of the temple. In this, the human mind becomes a workshop for making idols and its greatest tool is the thing we call human reasoning. If you do not believe me check our history. What you will find is that reason will lead into a system, the system evolves into a movement, as the intellectual wins and captures lesser men in their systems, then the system and movement will harden and become an ideology or a school of philosophy. In this, the ideology becomes the absolute (idol) that the mass man blindly follows.
Those who work in this factory of idols are the so-called intellectuals among us; mere men who really believe they understand the universe or at the least they pretend to. They are usually very intelligent, are fast thinkers and talkers that amaze and entertain the mass man with their knowledge. Many of these intellectuals serve as priest in our temples of human reason (universities). The chief characteristic of these people is not the level of their intelligence but rather that they are ignorant of their own ignorance and have the ability to dress their systems up as science and convince the masses that it is the truth with a capital T. Once the systems are formed and made absolute, the priests will call on their slave of reason to justify their systems.
In all this, we see so-called reasonable men disagree, and reason is demonstrated to be a slave of the human will and all of its rebellious passions. Surely reason is a dirty lens that darkens as much as it enlightens. Remember that as much evil has been done in the name of reason as by religion. In fact when religion does evil its practitioners say it’s reasonable.
This raises the question, have you been captured by an intellectual, a system or idol?
“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21).
 I am not against reason, but rather the abusive of reason and exalting it to the place of God. Reason is the gift of God, but like other gifts from God (sexuality) she is often terribly abused and taken to extremes.
 If you want to see a circus go to YouTube and watch the intellectuals argue and debate the issues. All claiming to be reasonable and the other side unreasonable.
 “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned” (Titus 3:9-11).
 The best worldview that encompasses these three parts of the human psyche is Christianity.
 The truth about intellectual can be seen in Paul Johnson book “Intellectuals”. He concludes his book by saying “What conclusions should be drawn? Readers will judge for themselves. But I think I detect today a certain public skepticism when intellectuals stand up to preach to us, a growing tendency among ordinary people to dispute the right of academies, writer and philosophers, eminent though they may be, to tell us how to behave and conduct our affairs. The belief seems to be spreading that intellectuals are no wiser as mentors or worthier as exemplars, than the witch doctors or priests of old. I share that skepticism”
The Decline of Organized Religion
I have noticed that many of my atheist friends on the net seem to be gloating that organized religion in the West is on the decline. I suspect that some of them who have a high opinion of themselves even imagine that they are influencing its decline.
Let’s, for the moment, assume that religion is declining just as some of the new atheists seem to believe. This would, out of necessity, cause us to ask the question “Why?” Could it be, as some of the new atheists assume, that humanity, at least in the West, is more educated and getting smarter? I have doubts that education has had little, if any effect on the decline of organized religion or even on the true number atheists. Their growth could be contributed more likely, to a ‘coming out of the closet’ rather than any actual growth.
There has always been a large number of unbelievers in organized religion, especially when the religion is the dominant cultural religion and it has become socially and economically beneficial to pose as a believer. It’s easy to come out the closet when you live in a culture that believes nothing. If this is the case then I personally, as a believer, am thankful to the new atheist for helping us rid ourselves of the chaff within the Christian faith. However, I really don’t think that this is the case.
One huge contributor to the decline in organized religion and other social organizations is the transfer of the dependence of poor people on their faith community and other social organizations to their dependency on the state for all of their needs.
Personally, it’s hard for me to see anything very positive about this transfer of power. The only result is that the poor have lost their moral compass, and the state has gained more power over them thereby expanding their power over the entire population. On the other end of the economic spectrum, the wealthy and business class no longer have to demonstrate their goodness and honesty by going to church, although many still go to church for what they call “net working”; to sell their wares.
All of this has little or nothing to do with the level of intelligence of people living in the West or the new atheist movement, both of which I believe are a part of the declension and decay of civilization. One mark of a declining civilization is its loss of faith in its gods or religion. This loss of faith many not be causal but it does go hand and hand with the death of civilization and is a sign of a decaying culture.
The churches like all social institutions in Western culture are losing membership and this is not something to be gloating over for the reason that people are becoming increasingly isolated from each other, which in turn gives the state more power. This is one of the factors contributing to our loss of freedom. Taking religion out of the public square is not the separation of powers, it is the enthroning of state power without any organized resistance. This is why dictators and tyrants make it their goal to eradicate religion as soon as they gain power. Therefore, most tyrannical governments support atheism.
In addition, the creation of democracy and the rise of individualism also can give rise to an anti-authority mindset, that also can cause a decline in any authoritative organization. So, it is not surprising that organized religions, which have an authority structure, are declining the most in democratic societies. This would include mainline Protestant and Catholic churches which have an authoritative structure. Independent churches which are more democratic in their structure are maintaining their membership and even growing in membership.
Again, we see that the increase of knowledge seems to have little to do with the decline of religion and the rise of atheism. The rise of atheism can be traced much more easily to social and psychological reasons then to any level of education.
 If people are getting smarter why is there a decline in philosophy students which seems to be corresponding with the decline in religion?
 Note my article on “The Making of a Fundamentalist Atheist” and “Prerequisites for Atheism” at: lyleduell.me
The theoretical physicist Michio Kaku claims to have developed a theory that might point to the existence of God. The information has created a great stir in the scientific community because Kaku is considered one of the most important scientists of our times, one of the creators and developers of the revolutionary String Theory which is highly respected throughout the world.
To to come to his conclusions, the physicist made use of what he calls “primitive semi – radius tachyons “.
Tachyons are theoretical particles capable to “unstick ” the Universe matter or vacuum space between matter particles, leaving everything free from the influences of the surrounding universe.
After conducting the tests, Kaku came to the conclusion that we live in a “Matrix”.
“I have concluded that we are in a world made by rules created by an intelligence”, he affirmed. “Believe me, everything that we call chance today won’t make sense anymore.”
“To me it is clear that we exists in a plan which is governed by rules that were created, shaped by a universal intelligence and not by chance.”
What is Atheism? A Metaphysical Answer.
Is atheism simply the lack of faith in a deity, or is it more? In reality it is both. For many atheists it is simply a lack of faith in a deity, but for many others it is the foundation of a worldview which shapes the way that they look at the whole of reality. As a worldview it borrows from ideologies and philosophies to form a hodgepodge foundation of the ‘philosophy of non-belief.’
This philosophy of non-belief has as its center the denial and dislike of authority, which in the end can only lead to anarchy of the worst kind. In fact, all anarchists are atheists however all atheists are not anarchists. We could also say of atheism that it is the highest degree of human alienation and rebellion against authority and especially the ultimate authority which is God. We could also say it is the worst distortion of the religious impulse in man, for in the end, it makes the image of God (man) into God, which is the highest form of idolatry. It promotes man as God, or at the least it makes him think he is God; for only a god could know that there is no God in the universe or outside of it.
Some will retort that atheism has nothing to do with religion or God. However, at a metaphysical level it is the anti-image of God whose image it needs for its very existence. It is, therefore, nothing more than a distorted reflection of that which it denies. This is what Nietzsche meant when he said “If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss with gaze back into you”
It’s distorted reflection of religion is seen in that it possesses a number of the attributes of religion[i]. Most religion has as its main attribute, a sin message and a salvation message. And what do we find when we look at the new atheist’s movement, we find a sin message. The sin is religion and your freedom and salvation will come when you accept the good news of the gospel of atheism. Like most religion, the new atheist’s movement also has their evangelists; those who spew out a steady diet of doubt and hatred of religion as they preach to their true believers who are mesmerized by their leaders ability to turn words and flaunt their intellect. You know, kind of like the TV evangelist who promotes their brand of religion every Sunday on the television[ii].
The true source of much, but not all atheism, comes from a hidden rift with authority[iii] which is then easily redirected by clever men towards God. In other words it comes more from one’s disposition than from their intellect. This is why we see atheism increasing when people feel oppressed by poverty, authority and social alienation. I believe that an analysis of the French Revolution and also the Communist Revolution would clearly demonstrate this. Atheism, for those with the right disposition is nothing more than a hidden rebellion against authority which they feel is oppressive[iv]. However, for it to be organized, as it was in the French Revolution and the Communist Revolution, you need a group of sophists and opportunists who can promote and direct its anger. Of course, the new atheists have these opportunists in the three horsemen of their movement; Hutchinson, Harris and Dawkins. All of which have become millionaires selling their books to the herd that follows them.
So we could say that the source of much atheism begins with the seeds of the things that form one’s disposition. These things can range from genetics to early child development[v]. Of course, we cannot totally dismiss the intellect. However, the intellect has much less to do with it than most atheists would like to admit to. In this I am not saying that disposition pre-determines one’s beliefs or behavior. But it does predispose us towards certain behavior and beliefs
[i] In Russia the atheist communist even had a church that they called the church of scientific atheism.
[ii] It is important to notice that the old atheist type lacks these attributes of religion. Making it something different from the new atheist movement.
[iii] The mass man is angry about his place in life and holds the authority responsible.
[iv] This is why so many of them are angry and militant. They fundamentally believe that all authority is oppressive.
[v] Many of the new atheists seem to have a problem with their fathers, which they tend to project on a deity. Though I freely admit that I personally have done no scientific study of this.
An Argument from Size
Once I had an atheist tell me that extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence. Now, this may or may not be true, but it does demonstrate something about a number of atheists that I know. It demonstrates the inconsistency in their thinking for they say they cannot believe in a God that they cannot see, for which they point out that there is no scientific evidence. And yet they believe that it is likely that there are alien life forms in the universe, which they have not seen nor do they have any evidence for their existence. I’ll grant that this may change at any time, however, for now it is the truth based on current knowledge.
They say the reasons for their readiness to accept alien life forms are based on the size of the cosmos and probability. However, does not size and probability leave the door open as well to the existence of a God in the vast universe? Therefore, to make a dogmatic statement that there is no God is neither reasonable nor logical, or at best inconsistent. The universe is so vast one would have to be everywhere at the same time and know everything there is to know to make the statement “There is no God.” The only proper statement that can be made about Gods existence would be, “I am skeptical of it” or “I don’t know.” However, if one is a skeptic he would have to be skeptical of his skepticism. This would simply mean that when everything is said on the issue, he would have to confess that he is an agnostic.
Part of the problem with their size argument resides in their concept of God. As a matter of fact, the size argument tells us more than anything else about the picture thinking of the atheist. It tells us that they have a corporal image of God in their minds. In other words, God is a big man or spaghetti monster somewhere up in heaven, which of course would making him pretty large to have created a universe that is so vast. Of course, this is similar to the picture thinking of a small child, who may equate God with Santa Claus or a bearded man sitting on a throne in some distant heaven. It is little wonder for many atheists that a flying tea-pot or a flying spaghetti monster are their favorite metaphor for God.
This is keeping with and explains the fact that I’ve had a number of atheists claim that they rejected God when they were children. The truth is that most mature people reject the image of God that they had when they were children, replacing it with an adult concept of the deity. In fact, the Scriptures tell us that we should not have any image of God in our minds for God cannot be imaged. Any image of God that a human has in their minds is an image of an idol.
Here is where more strangeness comes in to the mix. Atheists claim that their position of denying the existence of God is not a faith or even a belief, as though theirs was some kind of neutral position, like that of the agnostic. If a person were to make the statement that they did not believe in alien life forms and in the same breath propound that his statement was not a belief, we would think them mad. Yet, the atheist seems to think such claims are the mark of genius. In other words, it is a dogma that cannot be proven, but at the same time it is not a dogma. What it seems to be to me is either a claim of infinite intelligence on the part of atheist, or a personal faith similar to a religious faith, but it cannot be a non-belief. That borders on nonsense.
Of course, if you infer that their belief, or whatever it is, resembles a religious faith they go ballistic. Yet their movement is organized like a religion, it has its evangelists like a religion and it has apologists like a religion, it even has a salvation message like religion. It is saving the world from religion, but of course it is not a religion.
Nevertheless, the atheists have a burden of proof to prove why they can go beyond the claims of agnosticism, to atheism. This burden of proof is not owed to Christians or believers in God, but to reason itself. There is not enough evidence for anyone to postulate that there is no God, and to insist that they have evidence to prove their claims, border on insanity.
The atheist, in order to be intellectually honest, must admit that their claims are based on faith similar to those of religion. It is here where the believer stands on a higher ground than the atheist, for he knows and confesses that his belief is ultimately based on faith, though it is faith that is not without reason or evidence. The atheist refuses to face the fact that his unbelief is based on a supposition because to do so would destroy the illusion that his belief is based on reason alone.
One thing that science has done for us, it has given us knowledge of the vastness of the universe. In doing this, it has demonstrated how very little we know about anything. If we were to put all knowledge into a container that encompasses everything that there is to know about the universe, how much of that knowledge do you think humanity now has? Would you say, 1% or maybe 5%? I think if you were to say 1% your answer would demonstrate that you have a good imagination. Human beings are mere infants in a vast universe which is infinitely big and infinitely small; which means that no one can claim absolute knowledge based on rationalism.
In the end the size of the universe does not prove or disprove the existence of God. It does tell us that if you choose to believe in God, your God must be big enough to accommodate the size of the universe. Of course the problem with most atheists, and most believers, is that their God is too small to begin with. It is not hard to deny the existence of a small God as the atheist has done, nor is it hard to avoid the commandments of a small God, which most believers have done. Humanity tends to shrink their gods to fit their intellect and their appetite.
 The readiness of so many atheists to believe pseudoscience, is evidence of the inconsistency in their use of reason and basing their beliefs only on evidence. They seem to have a great imagination except when it comes to things spiritual. They have a burden of proof in explaining their inconsistencies. Could it just be simply old bias.
 Most mature believers believe that God is pure consciousness or personality diffused throughout time and space or that he is totally other and is beyond man’s ability to form an image of him.
 Many atheists refuse to look at the word religion as a broad concept resulting in a narrowly defined definition of religion as organized religion. Of course this is done because of their awareness that their movement has many marks of a religion. In fact arguing over the semantics of the term religion is proof in itself that their thinking has reached the point of being a religion.
 Only few make this claim.