On Being Reasonable

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Deceived people deceive people.

It’s easier to talk about being reasonable than to be reasonable. We can talk about sanity without knowing the difference between reality and make-believe. People with advanced degrees often don’t understand either logic or epistemology. Oh, they can name various fallacies. They know the names of different types of syllogisms. They can repeat the definitions someone told them, but they don’t understand the basis of knowledge. They don’t know the reason fallacies are fallacies or the way to know the truth. But their teachers told them that they’re storehouses of knowledge, rational thought, and every virtue. Unfortunately, their teachers inoculated them against the truth. The simple aspects of truth and reason we’ve looked into so far will seem like nonsense to a person hardened and blinded by continual ungodly thinking. However, as we proceed on our journey, we’ll examine in detail why no one can think rationally without divine revelation.

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The meme depicts a typical trained critical thinker with mind closed, attitude twisted, and an irrational argument in his hand. Without Christ, that’s all that’s available.

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Rational Thought Requires Divine Revelation–Always!

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Rocky Rockbuilder: Here’s the problem you face. The human mind has no way to self-generate knowledge, so, without divine revelation, you’re stuck making up stuff and calling the made-up stuff true. However, if you would seek Christ, you would find Him, and then you could be rational. I invite you to know Him and stop choosing bondage to Satan.

Sandy Sandbuilder: The human mind has no way to self-generate knowledge? How did Mayans build pyramids? How did the Chinese build the terracotta army? How did ancient Egyptians know about constellations and geometry? Pfft!

Rocky: God reveals reality, but, without divine revelation, we can’t know anything.

Sandy: So nobody outside of Christendom ever discovered anything? Nonsense!

Rocky: Repeating what I wrote earlier: “God lets His rain fall on the just and the unjust. He gives divine revelation to every person, or they couldn’t survive. However, those who refuse to acknowledge Him can’t distinguish between the reality God reveals and the make-believe coming out of their own imaginations.”

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Christ Reveals

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We have a sense of what’s going to happen with the weather just by the way the winds blow, the temperature changes, the sky looks, and the air smells. The more experience we have with the weather, the more easily we can tell what’s going to happen. We can tell by what’s happened in the past. Meteorologists have found ways to gather data from many places to make those predictions more accurate. All of this prediction depends on memory and information that comes in from our five senses. The meteorologists have found ways to extend their memory and senses, but the same restrictions apply. What they can’t sense, they can’t know. However, it may be that part of what we, as humans, know about the weather (or anything else) is actually coming from God when that practical knowledge can’t be attributed to observation. Jesus asked the crowds why they didn’t know how to interpret the present time. It seems that knowing how to interpret the present time would have required more than just the five natural senses.

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Pragmatism is Limited

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Sandy Sandbuilder: Wait a minute! I think you’re taking this reasoning too far. Consider an assembly line making toasters. We test each toaster at the end of the line and find, on average, 99.92% of all toasters work, so we plan for a .08% scrap rate. Doesn’t our test at the end of the assembly line provide a true and testable premise?

Rocky Rockbuilder: You’re talking about pragmatism. Pragmatism is useful, but it’s not truth. It’s not knowledge of reality. Let’s look at a bigger picture. Do the assembly line and the failure rate of the toasters actually exist, or are the Hindus correct in saying the assembly line is just part of a dream of Brahma? Now, let me answer my own question. For those who know Christ, Christ reveals that reality has substance, so we don’t have to assume the answer. And for those who fail to acknowledge Christ, Christ also reveals that reality has substance. However, they fail to acknowledge Christ. They accept the revelation Christ gave, but they refuse to acknowledge the Source, so they attribute the knowledge to assumption. For this reason, those who fail to acknowledge Christ have no line of demarcation between assumption and revelation, between made-up stuff and truth.

Usually, this inability to reason beyond our senses won’t be a problem when looking at toasters coming off the end of an assembly line. Some people don’t believe in any real world, and they don’t even believe they themselves exist. These people go to work and do things like deciding on business strategies based on failure rates of manufactured products. They can do this successfully based on God’s revelation even though they falsely attribute God’s revelation to human assumption.

The problem enters in when discussing things like the history of the universe or the nature of the human mind or soul. Such people can’t understand the nature of the human spirit, the existence of the spiritual realm, the nature of morality or ethics, interpreting the Bible, or political issues. When discovering the answers to more profound questions, we become fools if we don’t know the difference between revelation and made-up stuff. And yet, God is also there to lead and guide in the mundane things of life like manufacturing toasters.

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God’s Leading Won’t Conflict with Scripture

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While revelation comes from God, it unveils a certain part of reality that God had once hidden from us in mystery. Revelation helps us and makes a positive difference in our lives. God verifies revelation by using more than one method of revelation. For instance, He may use both Scripture and observation. God may give a Christ-follower a word of knowledge to help another person. As stated previously, other forms of revelation will never conflict with Scripture though they may conflict with interpretations of Scripture. The Holy Spirit may lead this Christ-follower to ask the other person a question to confirm the word of knowledge. After confirming the word, God may lead in a loving, simple, and practical way to help the other person.

On the other hand, God may lead us to miraculous healing or removal of some problem. His leading will be practical and helpful. And it will glorify God. Through Scripture, God has given us several ways that we can tell His revelation from false ideas that come from the flesh, the culture, and demonic forces.

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God Never Contradicts Himself

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Let’s consider the practicality and unmysticalness of divine revelation. God reveals through Scripture and every means of revelation that He mentions in Scripture. And yet, when the Holy Spirit shines His light on the Scripture, our experiences and observations, and our lives, He never contradicts Himself. His revelation will never conflict with Scripture. And He’ll never reveal a “truth” to one person and a contradictory “truth” to another person. That means that rather than debating apparent conflicts, we need to seek Christ all the more to make sure that apparent conflicts are real conflicts and to find out whether Christ has even revealed anything in the area of apparent conflict. Rather than doubling down on what we think we know, the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth if we turn to Him. Also, God gives a pattern for revelation in Acts 15 and the Letter to the Ephesians. And He defines this pattern further throughout the Bible.

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We Can’t Self-Generate Knowledge

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We can’t self-generate wisdom. Jesus is our wisdom. “It is because of Him [God] that you are in Christ Jesus, who [Christ Jesus] has become for us wisdom from God: our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:30 Berean Study Bible) Jesus isn’t just our wisdom, but He’s also our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.

We can’t self-generate knowledge. Knowledge comes from Christ, Who is the only Source of knowledge and wisdom. “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3 Berean Literal Bible)

If we know any truth, Jesus is the truth. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” (John 14:6 Berean Study Bible)

While many verses of Scripture tell us that we can only find knowledge, wisdom, and understanding in Christ, these three Scriptures we just read indicate the exclusive nature of Christ. These say that He’s the only Source. Also, God tells us to trust Him with all our minds, not depending on our own ability to understand. God also asks us to acknowledge Him in all our ways so He can direct our paths. If we respect God, we can depart from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7)

</end quote>

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Perhaps It’s Time for Humility

<quote>

The alternative to sound reasoning is unsound reasoning. Unsound reasoning confuses and deceives us. It’s surprising how little we can know to be true using logic and science alone.

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It’s surprising how little we can know to be true using logic and science alone, but it’s scary how dogmatic we can become concerning issues about which we know little or nothing at all.

While the fleshly mind automatically wants to depend on itself or something else other than God, it can’t function rationally at that level. It will always, always, always fail. God created us to be connected to Him in an intimate relationship. Nothing else will give us peace, hope, love, and sanity.

In Christ, we find the truth. In Christ, we have the very basis for sound reasoning. Without Christ, the human mind has no path to truth and thus no path to sound reasoning. We’re seeing the results of ungodly thinking in society today. And as a large portion of society turns from the Light of Christ, we’re seeing a level of darkness that we’ve never seen before.

 

 

 

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Infinite Regression

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We must prove that the proof is true before using the proof to prove that the conclusion is true. We don’t add unproven claims on the way to the conclusion, and the premise must prove that the conclusion is true. We don’t play mind games between the proof and the conclusion. We don’t try to give the appearance that we proved the conclusion when we didn’t prove that the conclusion is true.

Then how do we prove any premise? We can’t use another unproven premise. Other than divine revelation, is there a way?

</end quote>

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It’s called the fallacy of infinite regression. Every conclusion must be based on a premise. The premise is supposed to show that the conclusion is true. However, the premise must first be shown to be true before we can rationally use it to show that the conclusion is true. In fact, the premise should be the conclusion of a previous logical process. However, that logical process also consists of a premise and a conclusion. We need to prove that premise first. And then, we are in the exact same position as where we started. We have yet another premise to prove. When we try, we’re continuing the infinite regression. There’s no end to it. How the intellectuals have contorted themselves to hide this problem or to make people stop thinking about it!

There is a solution. The solution is to hear the truth from the Person Who knows all things and Who cannot lie. We need to hear from God. God speaks through the Bible and every means of divine revelation mentioned in the Bible. How do we know that God speaks through the Bible and every means of divine revelation mentioned in the Bible? God reveals that fact to us. He speaks it into our hearts. When we hear Him, and when we don’t doubt His ability to do this, His faith comes. “Faith  comes by hearing and hearing by the utterance/rhema of God.” This is one of the major themes of all Scripture. Read the Bible and ask God to show you the truth. Yield yourself to His Spirit. He sent the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth. The truth will set you free.

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The Alternative to Ungodly Thinking

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If we reason from a premise that we can’t prove, we’re thinking irrationally. We can’t say, “I make up X; therefore, Y is true.” We can’t say, “I make up X; therefore, X is true.” Well, we do it all the time, but we can’t do it rationally.
</end quote>

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Of course, the problem is that the fallen human mind has no path to truth. The fallen human mind can creatively make up stuff, but made-up stuff is different from the truth. There’s a word we use for made-up stuff that’s substituted for truth. We call made-up stuff lies. We call pretending that made-up stuff is true lying. We call confusing made-up stuff with truth insanity.

Only in Christ can we find the truth. Christ is real and knowable. Everyone who seeks Him finds Him. He leads, teaches, and corrects everyone who follows Him. He provides the discernment, and that discernment becomes more clear as we walk in obedience to Him.

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