The End of Reason
“Surely You desire truth in the inner parts; You teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” (Psalms 51:6 NIV)
I experienced one of the worst trade-offs in TV history tonight. How would you feel about getting excited to watch the latest episodes of Community and The Office only to remember that the Olympics are on NBC? What was worse was that I actually ended up watching male figure skating for a few minutes and caught Johnny Weir’s performance. In the middle of his routine, one of the announcers called Weir a “free spirit” and said that he was always empowered to be himself growing up. This is how Weir described this process for himself growing up: “I remember while playing soccer it didn’t matter if I was running the other way pretending to be a zebra or an ostrich. All that mattered was that I was being myself.”
This sort of flawed reason permeates our world today and is truly leading us to an age where we are seeing the end of reason on the most foundational levels. Just look at what is casually tossed around during a male figure skating performance on national television. The announcers on NBC repeated the quote above in the midst of gushing about how flashy and unique Weir is. The problem I have with this was that this particular conversation was going on while “impartial” judges were judging Weir’s performance on the ice. In fact, the only mistake he made was fairly insignificant, but he still got marked down for his mishap. Johnny may not have subscribed to the rules of soccer, and he can even rail against the rules of figure skating while saying it’s all about his personal satisfaction, but this does not take away from the fact that there are still rules in place.
I recently read an article that said 40% of Americans read one book or less a year. While we tend to think we’re all getting smarter, it appears to be the exact opposite when it comes to basic reason and logic. In the world of the Internet, people can comment on and write whatever they like. We’ve all become experts via Wikipedia. Few people do the hard work of discerning what they take in, especially when it comes to media intake. The example from above is just one of countless scenarios that concerns me when it comes to the average person weighing out issues of faith on their own.
Another great example is from one of my favorite bands called “Angels and Airwaves.” Their second CD is still one of my favorite albums I own, but their newest release seems as though they have strayed from what made them unique. They also seem to have strayed from reason in at least one of their songs I have listened to repeatedly. In the song called “Epic Holiday,” the chorus says, “Let’s start a riot, Nobody’s right, Nobody’s wrong, Life’s just a game it’s just one epic holiday.” Much like the statement that Weir made, their point is that there is that life is relative. If you want to run the opposite direction and pretend to be a zebra during the middle of a soccer game, then do it as long as you’re being true to yourself because life, after all, is one big game. But William James, famed psychologist and philosopher, would disagree. He once said, “If this life be not a real fight, in which something is eternally gained for the universe by success, it is not better than a game of private theatricals from which one may withdraw at will. But it feels like a fight—as if there were something really wild in the universe in which we, with our idealities and faithfulnesses, are need to redeem.”
In a day where I saw things a frivolous as a new album and men’s figure skating toss around moronic ideas that are generally accepted without criticism, I also saw an example of why this is flawed logic when I turned on CNN to see that a man had flown a plane into a building in Austin because he was upset with the government. I do not know anyone who would say this man was right to do such a thing no matter how “true to himself” he was being. But if you do not believe that there is a God who created this universe with a set of moral laws, then you are left to defend your beliefs based on what feels right internally. You could say that you defer to societal laws as the ultimate source of transcendence in your life, but what happens when your society kills someone innocent or bans something you believe to be perfectly ok? Then what or who do you appeal to? If “Angels and Airwaves” are accurate, then there is nobody that is right or wrong, and thus nothing and no one to appeal to. But saying nobody’s right and nobody’s wrong is a statement, at the core, of what is right and wrong. They are essentially saying, “I’m right in thinking that nobody’s right and nobody’s wrong.”
God has given you a mind so that you may exercise it, train it and use it. Seek after wisdom and attempt to be discerning without becoming critical in your spirit. God wants you to seek after truth and to use your brain to reason. And he wants you to love and know Him both with your heart, soul and your mind. After all, it was Jesus who said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37–40 NIV)