In Search of Rationality—A Lament for Reason (R.I.P.)

In the kingdom of humanity, reason was born to rule. Reason is the power by which we see what is, what can be, what should be, and what may be. It is the power by which we bring under control and direct all the irrational elements and impulses in the world and in our lower nature toward higher ends. Reason is light in darkness, order in chaos, stillness in the storm. Apart from it, such chaotic passions as anger, hatred, lust, greed, jealousy, and envy struggle with each other for control. War breaks out within the soul, floods over into the community, and engulfs the whole world. When passion rules, reason becomes an instrument of evil. Human beings are reduced to clever animals—dangerous ones too!

I am and always have been a champion of reason and rationality. I find my Christian faith in God illuminated by reason and my reason awakened by faith.  Reason is the created light by which we see the uncreated light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 4:6). Reason is to invisible light what eyes are to visible light. It is to spiritual reality what hands are to physical reality. To suborn reason to passion is to suborn God to creation. Passion seeks its good in temporal things alone. Reason drives us upward toward the eternal. To depose reason from the throne of the soul is to depose God from the throne of the world. For God rules the world by setting truth and goodness before the eye of reason.

There never was an age of reason. It has always been the age of passion. It has always been what Jesus called “the world,” that is, the order that is ordered by disorder (John 15). It is temporary, evanescent, unreliable, and we are not supposed to love it in the least (1 John 2:15-17). We are supposed to love the Father. Everything depends on getting things in the right order. For good things wrongly ordered is evil. And this is why evil is so deceptive. It deceives us into doing evil in pursuit of a good cause.

A distinguishing mark of the age of passion is confusion in the order of goods. Passion is by definition chaotic. It creates an array of ever-shifting of mutually exclusive trends, fads, styles, causes, images, movements, perceptions, memes, and so on. Each has its day, and for that day seems to carry the weight of heaven on its shoulders. Our passion-driven culture justifies these changing values not with reason subservient to truth but with confused ideologies constructed of ideas, maxims, tropes, symbols, and assertions taken from different spheres, mixed together, and directed by a practical goal.

The book of Proverbs laments the scarcity of faithful people (20:6) and people of “noble character” (31:10). Sometimes I ask in the same spirit of despair, “A rational person, who can find?” If you find a friend whose soul is ruled by reason, you are blessed indeed.

1 thought on “In Search of Rationality—A Lament for Reason (R.I.P.)

  1. Dr Jonne Smalhouse

    Hi Ron.
    Romans 7:23
    Though reformed theologies and TULIP may just now be a moderately interesting discussion; one cannot help but to agree where even the Calvinists, Arminians and Lutherans agreed that “T” means the world is and remains totally depraved…
    You’ve started to scratch at why?
    The things i don’t want to do i do, the things i should always do, i never do.



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