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Today’s article is a guest post by musician, activist, long-time friend of SASHA, and Christian evangelist Rocket Kirchner.
One of the great contributions of Neitzche and Kierkegaard to philosophy, for better or worse, is that they both took the word “irrational” out of the pejorative. These rebels of the 19th century stood against everyone using the Hegelian dialectic, insisting that existence is a category that relates to the individual, not based on axioms or systems. Both Kierkegaard and Neitzche stood shoulder-to-shoulder in their challenge to the mindset that rationalism was the be-all and end-all. Where they differed, however, was that Neitzche’s answer was the will to power, while Kierkegaard’s was surrendering the will to God. Either way, their inner journeys and how they so brilliantly expressed them in philosophical form were never objectively verifiable or subject to the approval of the Vienna school of Popperian falsification, either with a priori or a postiori certainty.
Rationalism, which sprung as a movement from the Cartesian cogito till now, has reached such a hyper-state in our time that–in my view–we need a balancing act (if only for the sake of argument) from these two genuis rebels to be thrown in the dialectical hopper, to see if rationalism itself has lost its sense of reason. Often when I am in discussions with very intellegent and well-meaning atheists, there seems to be a bottom line on an absolute rationality in order to settle issues concerning questions of perception of reality itself. A good case in point would be a conversation like this:
Seeing as you are a Christian practitioner, I like your practical elements of making this world a better place for others, even if you are philosophically coming from a place of unreality. (Substitute Easter Bunny, Spaghetti Monster, et al).
Yes, we can agree on making this world a better place, but in all due respect, I fail to see why you would posit a tautological statement that I am coming from a place of unreality.
Why do you fail to see that?
Because in order to define unreality, you must first define its opposite, namely reality, and that is a very tall order.
And so it goes. The atheist in question here will, 9 times out of 10, define reality in the Hegelian sense that “the real is rational and the rational is real.” But is it?
The question is begged–Can this all-encompassing rationalism take in (or leave out) enough of the big picture to become paradoxically in and of itself unreasonable? Even in this question, Godel’s incompleteness theorem, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, and Schrodinger’s Cat gnaws at the hyper-rationalist, casting doubt on the ever-proving problem of exact reasoning and perfect verifiable measurement, leaving reality itself, as Kant said, unknowable.
It remains a mystery. Or does it? Now, the thinking deist, theist, Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Muslim , et al lets the mystery be. Does that make them unreasonable, solipsistic, naive? Are they living in an unreal paradigm? Or is the shoe on the other foot? Is the atheist being unreasonable when embracing an all-encompassing rationalism that claims to have a patent on reality, something that cannot be proven anyway? In other words: Is the ”-ism” in rationalism an impossible overeach to unreality with a Spaghetti Monster and Easter Bunny lurking in their world?
I trust that the reader will not think I’m going out on a limb when I say that any man who becomes only a reasoning machine, no matter how brilliant, is in real danger of allowing his mind to become an ”interloper” that blocks the potential for a full sense of clarity, which we can embrace as human individuals. The fact of the matter is that as a Christian Humanist myself, I have worked well in Orthopraxis with my fellow atheist Humanist friends with no problems. But we all must be very careful, definitionally, with the word REALITY. Anyone who lays claim to it, or seeks to disprove it, becomes unreasonable, by way of assertion devoid of logical deduction.
Rocket Kirchner is a long-time friend of SASHA. He is a professional musician, pacifism activist, Christian evangelist, and life-long student of philosophy.
and don’t forget… other SASHA members! We are here for you, too!