Godless Thinking

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Brute-Beast

“the whole world marveled and followed the beast. . . . Let the one who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and that number is 666.” (Revelation 13:3b and 18b Berean Study Bible)

The apostle Jude mentioned people who merely follow their sensual experiences: sight, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting. They reason by using their natural minds to make decisions based on this sense data and instincts like brute beasts. They don’t follow the Holy Spirit. Animals react to sense data, and they can learn things. However, we don’t try to reason with a cockroach. Dogs don’t reason using a true premise and valid logical form. Humans and animals alike can react to sense data and learn about what works, but they never come to knowledge of the truth. Humans and animals can do some fantastic things as God’s creations using their non-rational natural minds. Let’s look at those Scriptures.

“These men, however, slander what they do not understand, and like irrational animals, they will be destroyed by the things they do instinctively.” (Jude 1:10 Berean Study Bible)

“These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.” (Jude 1:19 New International Version)

“These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” (Jude 1:19 King James Bible)

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Corinthians 2:14 Authorized Version)

These Scriptures apply to godless intellectual thought, science, and philosophy. They apply to any theology that doesn’t spring from divine revelation or that adds human-generated “information” to what God reveals.

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Three Ways of Reacting to Revelation

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Trip 4: The Beast

God reveals the natural and material realm. We can respond to His revelation one of three ways.

The First Way: We could reject the revelation and fail to acknowledge God. Then we wouldn’t have true premises, but we would equate God’s revelation with what comes out of our imaginations. We wouldn’t know the difference between our worldviews and what God reveals. We couldn’t rationally conclude anything. We could have strong opinions. We could argue for those opinions, but we would argue irrationally. We could even disrespect God’s order for nature since we would have rejected His revelation about it. We would do things worthy of death if we were to take this course. (Romans 1)

 The Second Way: We could receive the revelation and fail to acknowledge God. Then we would have true premises, but we wouldn’t know if our premises were true. We would still equate God’s revelation with what comes out of our imaginations. We couldn’t tell the difference between our imaginations and God’s revelation. Not knowing the difference, none of our conclusions would be rational. We could, however, irrationally hold strong opinions and argue for our views fervently.

The Third Way: We could receive the revelation and acknowledge God. Then we would have true premises, and we could rationally come to conclusions if we didn’t add to God’s words or dismiss His words.

 God also reveals the spiritual realm. We have the same three choices for this revelation. We can reject the revelation and fail to acknowledge God. We can accept the revelation and fail to acknowledge God. We can accept the revelation and acknowledge God.

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The Best Way

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A worldview is a complete inner concept of reality, yet conceptions aren’t reality even though they seem real. All thinkers have worldviews. You have a worldview, and so do I. No one is excluded.

So we face a question. What’s the best way to interpret observations and experiences? Do we make assumptions? Do we accept what others assume? Do we pray for divine revelation? Is there any other choice beyond these three?

</end quote>

 

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Sanity

In a building with one-room apartments opening to wide halls, caregivers work to keep the residents from hurting themselves. Ralph is a resident here, and he thinks his dead relatives are living here with him. He can see them. When you tell him they’re dead, he says he knows they’re dead, but they’re here anyway. If you tell him what he’s saying doesn’t make sense, he says he knows it’s confusing, but it’s true. Ralph knows what his eyes are seeing. Next, he brings you to a large central room and introduces you to his dead brother George who’s sitting in a chair. When you tell Ralph this guy doesn’t look like his brother George looked, he says they must have done surgery on George to change his looks. As you point out that this guy’s name is Harry, not George, Ralph tells you about how they change the people’s names. When Ralph asks Harry if he’s his brother George, Harry says, “No.” When Ralph asks Harry if Harry remembers him, Harry says, “No.” But Ralph rationalizes Harry’s response away by saying, “When they did the surgery, they must have changed George’s memory and created a new past in George’s mind.” No matter what happens, no one gets through to Ralph.

In this scenario, Ralph trusts his impressions. He thinks he trusts his senses, but he explains away what his eyes and ears are telling him. He routinely discards any evidence against his reasoning. And Ralph won’t listen to those who love him. He’s going to follow his own way.

We wonder whether Ralph’s method of thinking differs from the thinking methods behind many theologies or theories. We ponder whether Ralph’s thinking patterns are much different from the thinking patterns behind popular historical pseudoscience, those stories about the distant past. Since some scientists routinely discard evidence against these stories, make up assumptions and stories to explain away the evidence, and then use the stories and assumptions to confirm the original worldview, how are they different?

</end quote>

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On Being Reasonable

<quote>

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.

</end quote>

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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.”

</end quote>

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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.

</end quote>

 

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Pragmatism is Limited

<quote>

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.

</end quote>

 

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God’s Leading Won’t Conflict with Scripture

<quote>

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.

</end quote>

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God Never Contradicts Himself

<quote>

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.

</end quote>

 

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