We’re taking this excursion to guide us toward sane thinking, so, as we focus on that goal, we’re not trying to ridicule insane thinking. However, we’ll use the words “sane” and “insane” so that we don’t forget that this problem is serious. Though some people use these words as personal attacks or ad hominem fallacies, we don’t use these words as attacks. Rather, we use these words for clarity to describe several common human conditions. As we use these words, the word “insanity” refers to failing to tell the difference between reality and make-believe, which is a real and universal human problem. We’ll use the word “sanity” to refer to perceiving the difference between reality and make-believe.
In our journey, we could have used euphemisms that make poor thinking seem more acceptable. For instance, we could have chosen words like “logical” versus “illogical” or “sound reasoning” versus “unsound reasoning.” And while those words mean the same thing and make us feel better than “sane” or “insane,” we don’t want to lull ourselves to sleep by pretending that unsound reasoning is sane. We surely don’t want to make insanity feel better than it is since living in insanity is living in an illusion, and we receive no benefit from living in an illusion. And yet, we do live in an illusion in some areas of our lives. God exposes this illusion when we find out we’ve been wrong about some strongly-held belief. Even people who spend their entire lives living mostly in illusion are aware of this problem, though they don’t always apply this knowledge to themselves. It’s easier to see the insanity in others than in ourselves.
“People don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.” (Friedrich Nietzsche)
Interestingly, Friedrich Nietzsche so resisted the truth that he refused to acknowledge God and famously declared “God is dead.” However, Nietzsche didn’t include himself among the people who don’t want to hear the truth even though he had no rational method to say that anything was true. He had no basis for declaring, “God is dead” or anything else for that matter. He wasn’t only claiming that God is dead, but he was claiming that truth is dead, reality is dead, logic is dead, knowledge is dead, and sanity is dead. While that may seem like an overstatement, we’re just starting to explore reason, and we’ll explore whether we’ve overstated this problem.
The human nature in each of us tends to correct others without ever correcting ourselves. And so we each must diligently seek the mind of the Holy Spirit for constant, incremental leading, teaching, correcting, and purifying in every area of life. We allow Him to examine our strongholds, theologies, and worldviews. Allowing Him to correct us is the only way that we’ll develop discernment of the difference between reality and made-up stuff.
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