Tuesday, December 09, 2014

By All Means, Let's Be Reasonable

Today, for the umpteenth time, I saw somebody comment, in mocking tones, that religion is wholly irrational, and I've finally reached a tipping point.

No, I'm not suddenly converted to some secure faith, comfortable that I have a place in the immortal realm. In fact, I'm probably less sure of my future than ever. But I will say, as a reasoning human being, that I find reality seems a mighty irrational, unreasoning thing.

Where is the logic, where is the reason in any life? From the moment life begins, it is doomed to end, likely to feed another doomed life. The merest cell, though, does everything it can to survive. It pushes itself through chaos, consuming others to become itself, sometimes to exist for only a few short minutes, sometimes for days, sometimes even longer, perhaps to transform itself into part of something even larger. Does it reason its existence? Does something else provide its reason? Reason, such as it is, tells us we are incapable of knowing the answer to the latter.

Life, itself, is without any apparent logic.

Out of seeming chaos, despite all logic, we live. Despite all reason, through that chaos, we choose to continue to live. Despite all reason, we find ways to enjoy the random nature of our existences. We find joy in our lives. We find laughter, or we make it. We make music. We make art. We make love. None of these things has even the remotest basis in logic, and yet, it is logical to pursue it all, because without it, there truly is no reason continue a life.

And so it is, for those who have faith. There is no logic behind the choice but that which says that to believe in an unseen force, a higher power, is to enhance one's existence in some way that defies reasoned language. This is not necessarily a bad thing in a human being. After all, it was those who believed in a Higher power who set themselves to the task of proving His laws. Those ambitious few established scientific method of inquiry, by which reason may be supported. And that scientific inquiry is what made modern technology possible, bringing joy  by way of advanced medicine, travel, communication, diet, and so on, to many more who otherwise would have lived and died in misery.

Without the illogical mind, this would not exist

Neither would this

let alone this

and this.

So, believing in the unlikely has long had its place in society. A little lack of logic is not to be mocked. It's only reasonable.


K T Cat said...

As a devout Catholic who has studied math, chemistry and physics, I like to ask these people to find themselves in the physical world. That is, they are a biological entity made up of chemicals which obey laws. I'm down with the nihilist atheist, but I can never understand the atheist who wants to engage in debate. Debate with what? I'm just a bag of molecules!

Needless to say, I've never gotten a decent response. Instead, I get a lot of mockery and swearing.

Physical chemistry, methinks, is even more divisive than religion.

leucanthemum b said...

As a perpetually-struggling artist and general lunatic, daughter of an agnostic historian and an atheistic particle physicist, with friends in a wide variety of studies, I see acrimonious division in nearly every field. I suspect this is merely a manifestation of one of the Laws of the Universe, regarding the duality of nature…or, maybe it's just human nature. ;)

K T Cat said...

How about this: No matter how well things are going, everyone has a daily minimum level of griping and complaining and causing trouble for others.

leucanthemum b said...

That seems about right. Although, by dint of social media, I've noticed there are always some people who use more than their fair share...

K T Cat said...

Incidentally, I believe that Nietzsche had a big problem trying to justify art. Dig this.

Amidst all of his remorseless logic, he couldn't figure out where human creativity came from, so he came up with some cockamamie scheme with opposing forces inside each of us, sort of like the gobbledygook that the Manicheans used about good and evil.

The funny thing for me is that purely secular science supports all aspects of Nietzsche except his definition of the source of art. Every day that looks more and more like old time medicine with it's humors and bleedings.

The rest of Nietzsche - the pitiless use of others for your own gain, that's all good in a Darwinian sense. DNA propagation uber alles! Art? Not so much.

K T Cat said...

By the way, I'm a snapdragon. :-)

leucanthemum b said...

Snapdragons and daisies are quite compatible in any garden, I am told. :) As to explaining art…very few people have a clue what art is, leave alone its source and its purpose. I suspect that the complete answer to that will not be found until we get to the root of what it is to be human…

Anonymous said...

I couldn't have said it better, good job!