Suspending Reason Without Good Reason

We humans are curious creatures. We don’t like to accept that things just are the way they are. We try to figure out the origin of all things and also their purpose. We can’t just let things be. We see something and instantly begin to recognize patterns. We draw from our past experiences to make inferences about new discoveries. We can then come to conclusions that we are fairly confident in. We have lots of experience in scientific discovery so we are able to rule out things that go against our knowledge or we withhold judgment until the proper investigations are completed.

This method is not only reasonable, it is the only honest way to decipher the world around us. If we are unsure of something, the best way to become sure (or reasonably certain anyway) is to test, test and test again. We need to rule out the absurd, the ridiculous, the implausible and the unprovable. To do that, we need to be diligent and not be taking someone else’s word for it without the evidence to back it up. It doesn’t matter if you trust that person or not. If there is no evidence available to examine and only the words on their breath, it is quite reasonable to be skeptical. It’s when you are not skeptical, when you are convinced based on nothing more than words, that problems arise.

I did not accept evolution for most of my life because I was taught that it was false science, invented only to deceive. I believed this based on the words of those I trusted who got their information from people they trusted and so on and so forth…all the way back to a book written thousands of years ago. Evolution, like many sciences we know of, has had extensive testing. It has demonstrable evidence. It is still tested to this day. It was not created to deceive, based only on the words written about it. In fact, proponents of evolution encourage people to dig deeper and see for themselves. They are not afraid of what people will find. The same goes with proponents of the Big Bang, the age of the universe and the true story of the dinosaurs. How about religion? Can religion say that? Is religion so confident that it is right, that it encourages independent research and investigation? No.

A life of religion (in my case, Christianity) requires turning a blind eye to the truth. It requires listening to those who have committed themselves to the story. It requires that you only use one unverifiable source that goes against your better judgement. The only way to conform to this religion is to agree that secular science is irrelevant. You need to agree that even though it is unprovable and implausible, God exists and created all we can see. Religion requires that you take your five senses (the only ones you have) and agree that they cannot detect God. You need to accept that the only methods we have to detect anything are not good enough. It requires you to believe that there is a supernatural sense that can not only detect God, but form a close personal relationship with him. You have to accept this with absolutely no evidence and without any possible way to prove it.

The way we get answers about our life, our world, our universe…is to study, then test and repeat. We employ reason to learn and grow. Reason and logic are how we come to accept truths and we use those truths to test future discoveries. When we suspend reason, we open ourselves up to superstition, ghost stories, magic and anything involving a supernatural realm. The only reason to suspend reason is our desire to live in a world separate from reality. The real world requires us to use our senses, use our logic and use our knowledge from previous discoveries to move forward and unlock the mysteries of our future. There is no good reason to abandon what we are born with and instead choose to believe that we are born with something more; something undetectable and unprovable.

If you choose to believe in something supernatural or “otherworldly” then that is your decision. Just know that you do so by going against all we know and are capable of knowing. We are all human, and as such, are all born with the same senses to observe the world around us. Believing that God bestows on some of us an extra sense while simultaneously keeping it from all others is not only absurd, but cruel as well. Some of us wanted that extra sense. Some of us wanted to believe against all odds and against all reason, but our human minds simply couldn’t allow it any longer.

It is not evil or sin that keeps us from believing. It is reason and logic. It is not our unwillingness to believe, but rather the lack of evidence. It is not that we want to be unreasonable and ignore the “truth”, but rather our reasoning that will not allow us to believe the unbelievable without good reason to do so.

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19 thoughts on “Suspending Reason Without Good Reason

  1. Speaking of reasoning, I’ve been reading E.H. Combrich’s ‘A Little History of the World’ in the last few days. I’m about 2/3rds of the way through and there’s much discussion of god(s). In fact, because I’m a reasonable person – and logical – it seems to me that this book certainly advances the idea that man created gods. Combrich is quite respectful of all the gods in the book (so far) but it’s patently obvious that he himself was a humanist. I don’t know if you’ve ever read it, but it’s an easy read. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I haven’t read it but the topic sounds interesting. From research I’ve done, I also think that man created the gods as well. I’ve become a bit of a secular humanist myself. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Proponents of any reasonable scientific theory will encourage you to look for yourself, and they don’t go crazy if you happen to not believe them. It’s only religion and superstitions that demand belief without question.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. “The only reason to suspend reason is our desire to live in a world separate from reality.” Someone should take that sentence and put it on a poster.

    I wouldn’t get so irritated with religious people if they didn’t try to force me to share their beliefs. The biggest difference between the secular scientist and the religious believer is that — Well, here’s an example: I don’t particularly like string theory. I think it’s too complex, makes too many assumptions, parts of it seem to be unprovable, and in some cases it doesn’t seem to agree with actual observations. When I get in a discussion with a physicist who is a proponent of string theory, he/she uses logic, mathematics, and observations of experiments to try to prove his/her theory is correct. But if I do not agree with a religious person’s beliefs, I will be threatened, told I will go to hell, be verbally abused, called a sinner, the spawn of Satan, and be told I should be locked up or worse because I won’t believe them.

    It’s always been my opinion that the more abusive a person becomes in the defense of his/her belief, the more shaky their actual faith is. If they truly believed what they claim, they would be completely content with their situation and be secure in that belief, and there would be no need to resort to abuse and threats.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree completely. If you are confident in your beliefs and your teachings then you would not get defensive when someone questions them. Threats of hell and God’s wrath shouldn’t be part of a calm and rational discussion. But when you know deep down you can’t back up your claims, threats are a last resort.

      If I am wrong, I am okay being shown that I am wrong. Digging in my heels when I can’t justify my position is being dishonest. I used to do that with religion, but I see now how ridiculous it was to do so. Facts are facts and truth is truth. They don’t need our help to be true. If you need to give truth a helping hand, it wasn’t truth to begin with.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Very well said, Ben. I still hear this argument from family members: Many scientists don’t accept evolution (or climate change), but only ones who pretend to can get funding for their research. Therefore, they either pretend to support it, or they are silenced. The big conspiracy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I used to deny all science that contradicted the Bible. It’s how I was raised. The Bible is truth and everything else comes from the enemy. If you start with believing the Bible is “truth” then everything else has to be made up. It just has to be. But in reality, if you go where the evidence is and follow the facts, it turns out that it’s the Bible that has to be made up….it just has to be. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Combrich (in his book) refers to stories that ended up in the Bible – stories that had been passed on from previous generations orally – and lent authenticity to it. That is, there is historical ‘truth’ that are woven into the myths.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I think that the people who wrote the Bible knew they’d need some true stories in there to give credibility to the other stories. If you talk about real people and real places, even some real events, you can get people to say “well, I know this and that are true, so this other part must be true too.” But some truth does not equal full truth. It’d be like saying that Stephen King writes all non fiction books because the places in Maine he writes about and certain events are real. All the supernatural parts must be true too because some parts are historically accurate. Maybe the people who wrote the Bible couldn’t envision a society like ours who has so much information available to us. Maybe they thought we’d be as limited as they were so they felt their tracks were covered.

        I wonder if the original intent was to write about history and people went a bit too far with the embellishment or if the original intent was to deceive. We know the end result is myth, magic, contradictions and deception but was that what the earliest scribes meant for it to be?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I don’ think the ancient tales were any less grand but once those tales were actually scribed and embellished upon, then later tales were added, the whole book took on epic significance. Who knows why? Combrich makes the point that even generations before the Bible had gods but for whatever reason, Christianity (and Judaism) – and in other parts of the world, Islam – ‘caught fire’ and became the tale that many people seemed to adopt as plausible.

        You know, Ben, now that I have distanced myself from those tales I have developed a totally different attitude. I cannot be outright hostile about it because there are so many people who totally accept and revere religion. But I just find it all extremely . . .well, . .. unimpressive I guess. To illustrate, my husband and I attended a funeral service this past Saturday for a neighbour. It was an Anglican service so it went on for one hour and 20 minutes. They have communion and lots of ritual and both he and I discussed it all later. Neither of us can do the communal reciting, we don’t line up for the elements (in fact, I find that whole ritual rather distasteful now) and we cannot – even though we’ve known it off by heart since we were children – recite the Lord’s Prayer. Neither of us experience any significance or comfort from such things, but many (well, most of the people at a service such as that) do find solace in all of it. For us, it all seems a bit bizarre now. It really is quite amazing what happens after one actually THINKS. 🙂
        (I should add that I still sing the Hymns because I just enjoy singing and some of them really are quite beautiful)

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I’m with you there. I’m not hostile either. I’m a bit surprised at my younger self as these stories seem so obviously ridiculous now. I know a lot of people (some who are close friends) who view religion as their everything and I don’t try to tear that away from them. I share what I know and what I feel, but there’s no malice involved.

        Some of the songs, hymns, art and stories can be quite beautiful and it’s okay to acknowledge that. I just no longer like the beauty of such things being forced upon people as truth along with the added threat of hell. Religion has helped many people get through very difficult times, myself included. It’s also done much harm.

        Personal faith that isn’t projected onto others does not bother me. To each their own.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I’m with you, Ben. Religious fundamentalists scare me, though. When I was immersed in church I had no idea those kinds of people existed. It’s since I’ve ‘left the fold’ that I’ve become aware of their toxic ideology. We have a political leader (federal) here in Canada who is one and it’s scary to think that there are people who actually think he’d be a better alternative to our PM. 😦

        Liked by 3 people

      6. The extremists of any religion get all the press, but there are some decent (although misguided) believers out there who mind their own business and don’t force their views on anyone. I have met both and I myself was more of the quiet, keep-to-yourself type of Christian.

        Even the quiet, “decent” believers can have horrible beliefs about others based in their upbringing. I was a closet bigot, even though I personally didn’t care how people lived their lives. I was told how harmful to our kids “non-traditional” lifestyles were. I didn’t lash out at people because of it or write hateful things, but I was convinced of their guilt and of how much God despised their actions. It wasn’t me, but since it was part of the package deal of religion, I went along with it. I hate that I once believed such things, but it’s a side effect of indoctrination.

        I think many people who are quiet and not so in your face about their faith are the ones who have created their own version of Christianity. The fundamentalists and extremists are much more outspoken and actually believe every lie fed to them. When you make up your own version, as many of us did, you make exceptions and tend to be much more liberal than what religion generally allows.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I think they need to adopt the Iris DeMent attitude. ;)https://www.google.ca/search?source=hp&ei=O-KLXJWQCZfijwTRjY_QBQ&q=iris+dement+let+the+mystery+be&oq=iris+dement&gs_l=psy-ab.1.3.0l10.3952.6225..9158…0.0..0.238.1511.0j10j2……0….1..gws-wiz…..0..0i131.xF5Cq2mfkh0

        (I hope that shows up as a YouTube video. . .)

        Like

      8. Personal faith that isn’t projected onto others does not bother me. To each their own.

        And therein lies the tale. If believers would simply live their lives according to their own beliefs and not try imposing same on others, there would be far less dissension. Of course, those of us who have “been there, done that” know that evangelism is next to godliness. *sigh*

        Liked by 2 people

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