Origins of Reason
I have sat in wonderment while listening to someone attempt to assert that "It is logical to deduce that one can understand that everything around us comes only from materialism." For many years this statement felt wrong to me, but I wasn't sure why. Then I was introduced to the following bit of reasoning by a little known Evangelist named Don Johnson (no, not the actor - the minister!).
It goes something like this: If we assert that everything we know comes from the logical grouping of materialistic evidence, then how can we trust logic or reason in general? In other words, if everything came into being via random chance, evolution, and/or materialism, then there is no reason to think that 'reason itself' is exempt from this randomness. Or think of it this way; if you maintain that logic and reason provide to us a way of manipulating different hypothesis and premises in a way that surpasses the premises themselves (a.k.a. "thinking"), then how can you trust that the reason or logic you are using to think about those premises is sound? If you are a strict materialist, you cannot!
Think about it, this isn't a slight of hand trick. Let's look at one more example to drive the point home. We will do it by way of a fictional narrative. Let's say that Bill claims that we exist in a closed system that only consists of material, and that there exists no supernatural component. Bill then says that he came to this conclusion by checking out all of the scientific data around him, and making reasonable and logical conclusions based on that data. He then came to the conclusion that given what he knows - there is no God. Only atoms and particles and matter.
Bill symbolizes many modern day thinkers that throw out the baby with the bathwater so to speak. How can Bill possibly trust that his use of logic is correct, if there is nothing outside this closed natural realm governing it? In other words, if logic doesn't exist apart from (and outside of) this closed system, then it cannot be used as a trustworthy means by which to make any valid judgements about that system. It is simply also part of the system. Of course no one really believes this. Most of us know that logic and reason are in fact more significant than this, so much so that we take if for granted.
You can argue possibly that straight logic (A, then B, then C) is a result of our experiences within this materialistic system. But we cannot assert that this other thing, this function of our existence that can take two or more separate premises or ideas and then decide between them is just instinct or experience. It is more like a governor or an overseer. It is that faculty within us that can step outside of the boundaries of the material only world, and guide our decisions with something more like a consciousness than a reaction or an instinct. It is reason in this sense of the word that is our signpost pointing to something greater, something beyond the normal everyday chain of events we see around us. I believe God has given us this gift of truth. It is what separates us from all other species of animal.
It would be easy for someone to get this one wrong. If they maintain that they are fearfully and wonderfully made; intelligent, logical, and capable of great reasoning skills which far surpass that of any other creature, and that they possess all of this on their own - then they are only half right. We are not our own creators. We have free-will sure enough. God did not create a legion of robots or automatons. But the vehicle for interpreting our world is much more than just a physical brain full of firing neurons and synapses. The brain is the house, what lives inside is different.
** This method of thought I find to be entirely unique, and as such I hope I did an adequate job of conveying it. It looks at something that most people take for granted so easily and readily (accuracy of logic and reason) that I fear many people reading this could miss the forest for the trees. It is of course, worth the risk, so I will post it anyway. I hope if nothing else, you enjoyed the read!