Against Reason, Systems and Idols

Against Reason[1], 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[2].  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[3].

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[4].  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[5].  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).

[1] 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.

[2] 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.

[3] “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).

[4] The best worldview that encompasses these three parts of the human psyche is Christianity.

[5] 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 Jefferson-Hemings Controversy The Report of Scholars Commission

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Book Report

The Jefferson-Hemings Controversy

The Report of Scholars Commission

The Jefferson-Hemings Controversy was just released in September and is a book that everyone who loves truth and history should read.  Written by 13 Jefferson scholars it sets the record straight about Jefferson’s so called sexual relationship with Sally Hemings and his fathering a child with her.

My interest was sparked when I mentioned the subject to a retired college professor who in turn sent me an article claiming that the issue was closed and commenced to give some sorted details about Jefferson’s affair with the young African-American girl.  I responded by pointing out that the article was not documented nor had I ever read many of the so called details anywhere else.  Upon my reply, the old professor got quite angry that I was questioning his facts and inferred he was more intelligent than I, and that I should accept his facts for he was educated and graduated from Stanford.  It is this kind of exchange that goads you into digging deeper.

Needless to say, when I saw the “The Jefferson-Hemings Controversy” I was delighted.  I found the book on Amazon and down loaded it for $10 and read the majority of it the first night.  It confirmed what I already believed, that it was quite unlikely that the stories, gossip, and slander about Jefferson’s so-called affair was true.

The book also gives us some insight into how easily academia is deceived by pseudo scholars when the deception fits their preconceived ideas and ideology.  The book also documents the outright dishonesty of some of the historians who have written about Jefferson.  Obviously, these were some of the books my professor friend had read at Stanford.

The book is published by Carolina Academic Press, 700 Kent Street, Durham, NC 27701.  The hard back version is expensive $45.00, the Kindle version is less than $10.00.

Lyle Duell