Have you ever heard Bill Maher talk about people who have faith in God? Take a look at what he says in this excerpt from his movie Religulous:
“I certainly, honestly believe religion is detrimental to the progress of humanity. You know it’s just selling an invisible product. It’s too easy. These questions about what happens when you die; they so freak people out that they will just make up stories and cling to them. People who are otherwise so rational about everything else and then, come Sunday, they believe they’re drinking the blood of Jesus…I preach: I don’t know.
(Addressing various people of faith) You are smart people. How can people believe in a talking snake, and the virgin birth? [A few people briefly share about their faith while ‘Jesus is just alright with me’ plays in the background.]
Religion must die for mankind to live. The hour is getting very late to be able to indulge in having key decisions made by religious people… Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking. It’s nothing to brag about. And those who preach faith, and enable and elevate it are intellectual slaveholders, keeping mankind in a bondage to fantasy and nonsense that has spawned and justified so much lunacy and destruction. Religion is dangerous because it allows human beings who don’t have all the answers to think that they do. Most people would think it’s wonderful when someone says, ‘I’m willing, Lord! I’ll do whatever you want me to do!’ Except that since there are no gods actually talking to us, that void is filled in by people…with their own corruptions and limitations and agendas. This is why rational people must end their timidity and come out of the closet and assert themselves. That’s it. Grow up or die!”
Is he right? Is faith unreasonable? Does having faith make a “virtue out of not thinking”?
Bill Maher says that believing you drink two-thousand-year-old blood is unreasonable and believing that a snake talked is unreasonable. Now that is unusual, but that’s different than unreasonable. I think he’s confusing what’s reasonable with what is scientifically verifiable.
Science is the study of what we can predict through observation in a controlled environment. So if an apple repeatedly falls at 32 ft/s2, science says we predict that it will fall at 32 ft/s2 in the future. We call this the law of gravity, but we don’t know it’s a law. We just know that’s what apples and our experience normally do. So if one day you see an apple floating in the air, or a man walking on water, it is not necessarily unreasonable; it’s unusual so you might want to pay attention. For perhaps there’s a reason he’s walking on water. The reason is one that you haven’t encountered before that’s reasonable.
GK Chesterton wrote: “all the terms used in this science books, ‘law, necessity, order’… are really unintellectual because they assume an inner synthesis which we do not possess.”
You see, science tells us what happened but not why — not the reason.
Chesterton goes on: “the only words that ever satisfied me as describing nature are the terms used in fairy books: ‘charm, spell, enchantment.’ They express the arbitrariness of the fact and its mystery. A tree bears fruit because it’s a magic tree. Water runs downhill because it is bewitched.”
That is, gravity is not a law, gravity is like someone’s decision. It exists because someone said it should, and if the water runs uphill perhaps that’s someone saying something new.
My point is that just because something is unusual that doesn’t make it unreasonable, or if it is unreasonable it’s no more unreasonable than fruit on a tree or water running downhill.
However, I think it is unreasonable for Bill Maher to imply, “The only things that are reasonable are things that are usual for me.” That is unreasonable and a bit insane because the moment you say . . . that is the moment you are stuck in that. You’re stuck in the universe of you with nothing new and nothing bigger than you.
You see, science is the study of things we think we can predict and control, and it’s not reasonable to think that those things are all there is. It’s not reasonable, and it’s not scientific. The scientific method can’t be proved with the scientific method. So if the only things that are reasonable are things that can be proved by the scientific method then the scientific method is entirely unreasonable.
However, there are some things that are usual that seem pretty darn unreasonable. They may not violate reason or contradict reason, so they may not be unreasonable in that sense, but they can’t be explained by reason.
So if Bill Maher thinks a 900-year-old man is unreasonable, he should think these things are really unreasonable:
Beauty —If someone said, “Hey that sunset is beautiful.” And you said, “Why?” They couldn’t give you a valid reason. No one can explain it; it’s unreasonable. You can’t reason your way to beauty.
Love—Albert Einstein said, “… how on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as… love.” And real love — sacrificial love — isn’t a “biological phenomenon.”…You can’t reason your way to love.
Life—Darwin didn’t explain life; he explained death. What’s the reason for one entity serving another entity and forming a life? Why does Bill Maher want to live or think it’s rational that others live? Why does he think life is more rational than death? That’s unreasonable.
Light—Now it’s not just that there’s no reason for light; light seems to be fundamentally unreasonable. Scientists say it’s a particle and a wave—a contradiction. And get this: all space and time is relative to light. And all space and time is the universe—existence.
Reason —There is no reason for reason. How could there be? And how could you know that reason is unreasonable? How could you know that truth is true? There is no rational argument for rationality. Einstein said, “The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.”
You can’t reason your way to reason; you can only get there by faith. You can only be reasonable by faith—faith in Reason. People want reasons for faith, but you must have faith in order to reason. So the statement, “Faith is unreasonable” is profoundly unreasonable; for to reason that faith is unreasonable, you must have faith in reason.
You see faith in reason is a religion. Atheism is a religion, for the atheist has faith that there is no God. Even agnosticism is a religion. Bill Maher says, “I preach: I don’t know.” But how does he know that he doesn’t know if in fact he really doesn’t know…?
You see? Bill Maher is very religious. He has faith in his own reason.
Reason is the unreasonable reason for it is the Reason. Not that it contradicts reason but that it can’t be explained by reason for it is Reason.
Logos is translated “the reason” or “the word.”
John 1:1 “in the beginning was the Logos (Reason, Rationality, Logic, Word) and the Logos (Reason, Word) was with God, and the Logos (Reason, Word) was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…
Do you see? We’re not the author of Reason, Reason is the author of us.
We’re not the judge of Reason, Reason is the judge of us.
We can’t comprehend Reason, but we can be comprehended by Reason.
We can’t reason our way to Reason, however, Reason can reveal Himself to us.
We can’t know Reason by reasoning; we can only know Reason by divine revelation. Then we can recognize reason, and that’s called faith.
We can recognize reason because Reason is the “light that enlightens all men.”
This devotional was prepared by Kimberly Weynen, Peter Hiett’s assistant. It is primarily a compilation of excerpts from Peter’s sermon titled: “Unreasonable Reason.” To read, watch or listen to the sermon in its entirety click here: “Unreasonable Reason”