Do Christians and Atheists View Reason differently? [Part 3 of 3]

Ayn Rand champions a life of the mind. Objectivism claims Reason as its talisman and rational self-interest as its creed. In a different way, Christians also appeal to Reason. However, Reason itself dictates that the exclusive claims of each world view cannot both be true. John rejects Faith as arbitrary whim, while Dad embraces a spiritual dimension to Reality that picks up where Reason leaves off.

This spiritual dimension is Dad’s presupposition, his starting place. Contrary to the characterization that Faith is an “alleged short-cut to knowledge,” the Christian maintains that Faith informs and expands knowledge. Christians see the divine testimony behind the very existence of Reason. The argument goes something like this: “Order and logic exist; they are the building blocks of Reason. In a closed system, order does not come out of disorder. Since order and logic exist, the universe must not be a closed system. Therefore, something outside the material order of things must be at work.”

Dad opened his well-worn Bible to the Old Testament book of Proverbs. “Reason is personified all through the book,” he said. He showed me how the ancient writer used literary personifications of Reason: “Clear Thinking” and “Common Sense,” and then went on, “The writer of Proverbs urges us not to lose sight of these companions for a minute. Before he moves to specifics, he tells us why we should care about the principles of Reason and the fruits of logic.

…they will be life for you,an ornament to grace your neck.Then you will go on your way in safety,and your foot will not stumble;when you lie down, you will not be afraid;when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.— Proverbs 3:22-26 (NIV)

The last verse of the passage links Reason to its thematic cause. Reason keeps our souls alive and well, fit and attractive, with energy and stability and free of panic precisely because God is with us, keeping us safe and sound. Reason, Common Sense, and Clear Thinking all point to—even escort us to—God. How ironically Randian!

What do you think about the way that Christians and followers of Ayn Rand view Reason?

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2 thoughts on “Do Christians and Atheists View Reason differently? [Part 3 of 3]

  1. I am definite about Christians being reasonable people. the people I know who are Christians do wonderful kindnesses with others and are most defined by that. I am also with Ayn Rand familiar to her reasonability. She is rather more harsh than her contemporary C.S. Lewis as you wrote before about the two. Thank you for this post blog.

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