Sunday, June 21, 2009

Reason and Logic or Emotion and Opinion

I have a number of young adults whom I have been sharing my faith with over the past year. It seems a popular trend among this age group is to declare that having faith in God is illogical and goes against human reason. People who hold to a sincere faith in God are considered by these young people to be naive or uneducated at best, and at worst, using faith to deliberately manipulate people’s emotions for selfish gain.

While I greatly respect these young people’s efforts to think through issues of faith, I find very little logic or reasoning in their line of thinking. They use words like “logic” and “reason,” but what they actually describe is mere opinion and emotion. For example, they might say they “feel” like if there really was a God He would eliminate suffering in the world. While I sympathize that with that statement, and have asked it myself, at its essence it is an emotional statement, not a logical one. There will be always pain and hurt in the world. And removing God from the picture will not remove pain from the world. If anything, removing God from the equation just makes it situation worse.

People who hold to this no-god world view may say that in their experience they have not seen evidence for God and therefore they “reason” that He must not be real. Yet those very people refuse to accept the evidence put forth by those who do believe in God, such as the amazing level of order in the universe, the mathematical improbability of evolution or the statistical reality that most mutations are negative, not positive, which creates extreme difficulties for the concept that life arose on its own without an outside force directing it. These are all logical arguments that people of faith make and that many highly educated people have agreed lead to a logical conclusion that there is a higher power at work in the universe. But those who refuse to see God in any of these logical arguments ignore such rational thinking in their efforts to remove God from their thinking.

When people discuss matters of faith, it often comes down to accepting one opinion or another by faith. Each side is sure their opinion is true and one can argue which opinion is correct until the end of time, and I suspect that some people will, but in the end, both sides still rest on faith. Non-believers like to call their faith opinions “reason.” But that is not intellectually accurate. Their opinions are still just opinions. Why should the opinions of the non-believers be any more “reasonable” than the opinions of believers?

Recently one young adult said if he had to chose “his opinions” or “God’s opinions,” he would go with his own ideas. He trusted himself more than he trusted God. I just smiled and thought to myself, “Wow, he has a lot to learn!” And so I roll up my sleeves and do what I can to share the logic and reason for the faith that is in me. May God bless those efforts!