The Use of Reason and Logic in Theology and Any Worldview – Jesse Morrell

THE USE OF REASON AND LOGIC IN CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY

Jesse Morrell

http://www.OpenAirOutreach.com

     Men are endowed with reasoning skills by their Creator. God gave us a mind, with the ability to reason and think logically, and He no doubt intended for us to use it. We are commanded to love God with all of our mind, so we are to love God with our reasoning skills. God said, “Come let us reason together,” which implies that God is reasonable, man has the ability to reason, and we are supposed to reason with God. We were made in the image of God, in the image of a reasonable God, and He encourages us to reason. Therefore, it is ungodly to discourage human reasoning. And as I said in my book on free will, only an unreasonable theology fears the use of reason.

    The word theology comes from the Greek words qeoV (God) and logia (speaking of). In other words, theology is a discourse on God. The study of theology is therefore the study of God. It would be impossible for men to reasonably study God, or to reasonably discourse on the subject of God, apart from human reasoning. Therefore, human reasoning is essential to theology.

    Many professing Christians seem speak derogatory of “human reasoning” and act as if it has no part in Christian theology. But whatever may be the limitations of human reasoning, the validity and necessary use of it cannot be avoided.

    Someone recently asked on Facebook:, “Can you prove the validity of reason and logic, without using reason and logic? Otherwise aren’t you begging the question?”

    Actually, reason and logic are taken for granted in any intelligent discussion. They are ultimate presuppositions. We accept the validity of reason and logic a priori, not a posteriori. They are taken as a type of first truth. They are the necessary antecedent to meaningful discourse – a sine qua non to intelligent debate.

    This same person reasoned, “If you use reason to try to prove reason, this is circular reasoning.”

    Actually, the circular reasoning would be to take reason and logic as a posteriori truths, but it isn’t really circular reasoning when they are taken a priori. If you use reason to try to prove reason, this is circular. And if you use reason to try to disprove reason, you are self-contradictory. Even in these cases you are taking reason a priori to try to prove or disprove reason a posteriori, showing that reason must be presupposed for any reasonable argument, whether the reasonable argument you are attempting to make is for or against reason.

    It is impossible for any worldview to not take reason and logic as an epistemological first truth, or as an a priori truth. Because even if they say that they don’t take reason and logic for granted, as soon as they try to explain why you shouldn’t take reason and logic for granted, by doing so, they are attempting to use reason and logic. So any intelligent argument must take reason and logic as an ultimate presupposition or first truth.

    It is utterly impossible to reasonably argue against reason. Any argument against reason is by definition unreasonable. If there were such a thing as a reasonable argument against reason, reason itself would still be assumed from the onset, so it would be self-contradicting. If you use reason to try to disprove reason, your argument is in its nature is contradicting your point. It is impossible to have a reasonable argument that does not presuppose the validity of reason. Any reasonable argument against reason, if such a thing could exist, would necessarily be incoherent and self-contradictory.

    In other words, you cannot give reasons as to why reason should not be used, because by doing so you are betraying your own position. You would be presupposing from the onset the opposite of the conclusion you are trying to establish.

    In conclusion, use the reason that God has given you and be reasonable as God designed you to be. Develop your powers of reasoning. Utilize and engage your mind, exercising it like a mussel. Don’t fear the use of your mind, but use your mind for the glory of God.

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2 Responses to The Use of Reason and Logic in Theology and Any Worldview – Jesse Morrell

  1. Even in presuppositional apologetics, we use our reasoning skills to engage the reason of unbelievers, to show them how unreasonable a worldview is if it doesn’t start with God as its ultimate presupposition. We use our reason consistently with our worldview, knowing that God created us with it, and we engage the sinners reason consistently with our worldview, knowing that he too was created with reason. But we show, with reason, how reason is inconsistent with his own atheistic worldview.

    When it comes to things like presuppositional apologetics, the question is not really does man have valid reasoning skills, or is reason a necessary presupposition for intelligent discourse, but how can we account for these reasoning skills? The Christian Theist of course can account for them by the fact that we were created in the image of a reasonable God and I allege that apart from this, the existence and validity of human reason cannot be accounted for. The non-theist, therefore, has no right to presuppose the validity of human reasoning without this presupposition being challenged and internally critiqued within his system, to show its inconsistency and incompatibility.

  2. Jesse Morrell, you wrote: “If you use reason to try to prove reason, this is circular.” Why?

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