Is Reason Enough?

November 16, 2007 10:12pm CST
In our modern world, has reason rendered God, redundant? We have a completely new crop of Neo-Atheists who would tell us that he in fact is. The four horsemen of this new atheism, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens ride out to slay the old enemy, religion, armed with the weapons of reason and logic. Is the pure light of reason they offer us enough? I think not. They ask us to scrap religion, but have nothing to fill the space that religion holds in our society. Many of the arguments they offer are compelling, but in the end, what do they offer? They argue the inconsistencies and contradictions of the Koran and the Bible and cite this as evidence that there is no God. They provide proof that the Bible and the Koran are not historically accurate. While they may in fact to be correct, what has this to do with the existence of God? The whole concept of God has little to do with what man has written about him in books. Religion plays an important part in our society and in our culture. The ritual of religion gives shape and form to our lives. In times of great trouble, it comforts us. When we lose a loved one or a friend, it gives us a formal way of grieving. Can reason do the same? .. They point out the natural laws that govern the universe and use them as an argument against the existence of a God. Does not that very reason they espouse not indicate that if there were a God he would have established this order of the universe. They point out the evil done in the name of religion, but ignore all that is good that has resulted from it. From the very beginning of history, culture and society have had religion at their center. They point to the Crusades and the Inquisition but ignore the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo's Moses. They say without religion, there would have been no persecution of Jews, no Holocaust, no burning of heretics and witches and no war centered on religion. Their arguments can turn on them. Without science and technology, there would have been no airplanes, no atom bomb and no Hiroshima. Without science and technology there would have been no gas chambers and no Holocaust. Quite simply without religion, there would be no Western culture, as we know it today. I would be the last one to deny the benefits of science and technology, but I cannot close my eyes to what religion has also done for our society. Without religion, much of the art, architecture and literature that lies at the cultural heart of our society would not exist. This is probably a good point to state that I am not a believer in the classical sense, but while I am not a believer, I am a seeker. I need to believe that there is some reason, some transcendental purpose to life that goes beyond the day-to-day rat race. Reason would tell me that the day-to-day existence is all there is. It is up to me and me alone to find my own personal meaning of life, but still, I cannot help longing for some transcendental purpose beyond existence itself. Men have denied, ever since the Age of Enlightenment, that this truth exists and that life is based entirely upon reason alone. As much as I believe that reason, must be the center of our approach to life, it cannot be the sole arbiter of our moral nature. Without metaphysics, without something that reason alone cannot provide we are drifting with no rationale purpose for living. Our lives can have no moral quality, if there is no transcendent purpose to them. I celebrate reason in all its glory, but for me, it is not enough. Although I have not found it yet, and there is no certainty that I ever will, I know in my heart there is something more to life than just the pure light of reason. .
4 people like this
3 responses
@buenavida (8685)
• Sweden
18 Nov 07
IsnĀ“t it interesting, every human being has the need to find guidance - about moral, about purpose of life and about who is the reason why we exist. Those who live in the wildest forest with no contact with other so called civilizations, are searching a god, even trying to make a god from some thing around them, a stone, a tree or whatever. If the evolution theory were right, they would not have such a need. Those who believe in evolution and that everything is just a chain of non personal powers, have no answers to these important needs.
@barehugs (8985)
• Canada
17 Nov 07
I agree with you to some extent, and wish to congratulate you on a very thoughtful and well written Post. First let me say," Everyman for himself, and may the devil take the hindermost!" In other words, all men are entitled to their beliefs. I'm not a religionist,nor a Christian, but I respect those who are. Organised religion is a racket! Is now and always has been! Its a very good business dreamed up 2000 years ago, and has made Christianity the richest Business in the History of the world. Science has revolutionised modern thought. Man did not evolve from monkeys, no question! Man came from outerspace, from other worlds. God created All that Is. Even Albert Einstein believed in God, who am I to doubt? God created everything in a Grand Design.The Grand Design is the reason we exist, the reason for life, and the purpose of life. Read" Conversations with God," by Neale Donald Walsch.( translated into 28 languages, its a best seller)
• United States
17 Nov 07
I certainly think you make a good point. Reason really is not enough with which to understand this world or why we are here. Certainly, mankind is thousands or millions of years away from having enough knowledge to even begin understanding. Reason is not enough. What thinking, reasoning person has not been overwhelmed at seeing the world and the universe for how organized, complex, and beautiful it all truely is? This all was not an accident. Even still, humankind so far has not come up with any science or religion close to the truth of the wonder of creation.