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Saving Christmas

Faith is Reasonable
  by Curt Wikstrom
     Atheists and religious dualists would  like us to believe there is a dichotomy between faith and reason.  Some atheists claim that faith is superstition, or the absence of reason.  Religious dualists believe faith is an "upper storey" experience, separate from real life.   Both are wrong.   In the sense that faith is a belief, Christian faith is normally the result of a rational process.  In the sense that faith is an expectation of things to come, a commitment to a person or cause, it comes after a rational process. 

     Unsubstantiated beliefs or fears are superstitions. Atheism is more often than not a superstition that there is no God.  One does not need to be well educated to reason.  And well educated people can be stupid.  Training and indoctrination, which we call education, can condition people to become almost completely misguided in their thinking.   Individuals may be prone to superstition no matter what their worldview or their level of education.  Those who say they want to base their decisions on reason rather than faith have a misconception of the meaning of both reason and faith. Their education has failed them.


Matthew Wikstrom

      Reason can't be opposed to faith, because reason is a means to and end, and faith is a result.  Reason is used to come to a belief or faith. So it is absurd (contrary to common sense or reason) to say that faith is opposed to reason. Christians use reason to develop a faith in God. Reason brings us to our faith.  Our faith guides us in our actions.

Examining the world around us.

     The beginning of reason is to recognize what is self evident.  We know we exist because we are conscious, and we experience the existence of a multitude of things around us.  We discover that the world is orderly and complex.  Our minds have a built in logic that can understand and interpret the world, and we can improve that logic and train others to understand.  There is a wonderful design to everything, requiring an intelligent source of life.  We do not need extensive formal education to conclude that there is a creator.  It is self evident.

     The atheist must explain away the complexity and the wonder of the world.  For his faith to have a rational basis, he must have a theory of how we were created, and how the world became so complex.  Darwin gave the atheists a theory to justify their faith.  According to him, everything basically consists of elementary building blocks, and complex forms eventually evolved through a series of accidents.  He said that his theory would not hold up if it could be shown that there was irreducible complexity in living things.  A mousetrap would be irreducibly complex,  as would a computer chip. It took human intelligence to create them. The average person would feel that the human eye or brain are irreducibly complex, but well educated atheists have been able to convince themselves otherwise for many years.  With the discovery of DNA, a number scientists and atheist philosophers have changed their minds.  Even the simplest one celled organisms have a complex program that defines and determines their existence.  Many of these former atheists now think there is intelligent design in the universe, and there may even be a creator.  Even most atheists, adhering to the "big bang" theory, have agreed with theists that there was a beginning to the universe, and a beginning to life. 

Adhering to personal and civic virtues.  

     Christianity is not a religion in the sense of a theory or philosophy.  It is a relationship and a commitment.  A Christian loves God the Creator and his creation. In other words he loves the world and the people in the world as God loves them.  Loving others means doing no harm to them, following the laws of God, and helping them when we can.   It means seeking to be virtuous.  Loving the creation means managing the resources of the world that we control to preserve and protect it.

     That relationship is primarily taught by example.  That is why freedom of association is necessary.  To properly train our children we need to be able to choose those people who will be good examples to our children, and to not choose those who would be bad examples.  We need teachers who will adhere to the personal and civic virtues that we want our children to learn and to emulate.

     The development of virtue is common to all religions, whether they be theistic or self help religions, including atheistic religions.  Understanding the liberating qualities of virtue and the destructiveness of vice, opens our minds, and convinces our logical faculties of the rightness of a moral order for guiding our lives.  Replacing virtue with self esteem and "values clarification" has been one of the most destructive influences of the established religion in our government schools.  Mass murderers can have self esteem.  Picking and choosing whatever values you want by rationalizing them can justify the vices, such as greed and self centeredness. Young children must first be taught to adhere to the virtues and to avoid vices.  They can't "clarify" any values until they have some.  And they need to be inculcated with virtues to become good people. 

     Virtue and reason prepare us to understand revealed truth.

Applying revealed principles to our lives. 

     How do we know what are the laws of God in respect to human relationships?  We can try to use the logical faculties that we were given to devise standards of conduct for applying our love for God and his creation.  However, the best way to know what our creator wants from us, if anything, would be if we could talk directly with him.  Since he is of a different essence than us, we wouldn't expect to speak directly with him. 

     The self help religions may believe in a creator, or that the world is God, but they don't believe in a personal God.  So they feel the best they can do is to become enlightened, to understand the world, to minimize or end pain and suffering through mental and physical exercises, personal and civic virtues.

     Christians and Jews believe in a personal God.  The Bible is a record of revealed truth from God, and records direct contacts between God and the prophets and disciples. But what makes us believe that these contacts were real?  We use the techniques of history and archeology.  The Bible is one of the best histories that we have, and its facts are reinforced by archeological investigations.  Their authenticity allows us to draw inferences to guide us in deciding whether or not to believe them. 

   But more importantly, there are certain lessons and principles that were revealed to the prophets and disciples, and a moral code to follow.  We can try them.  If they work, that substantiates their validity and legitimacy.  It is very clear that the world without God's love, and without Christ, would be a terrible place to live. We are slaves to depravity, meanness, pain, and suffering.  Remember the lack of love, the materialism and moral depravity which was institutionalized in the totalitarian systems which arose out of the atheistic worldviews which dominated the early part of the 20th century. Look around at the moral depravity and social problems that arise in our midst when our public schools no longer teach the love of God and His principles of virtue and moral order. Living our lives in the way the Bible teaches us results in a life of peace, prosperity, order, and security.  To love God, to love others, and to be loved, fulfills us.  True Christians apply their faith to their lives.  In doing so they make many real tangible contributions, and accomplish many wonderful things. They make the world better for everyone. They make life worth living. 

     Imagine the loss to our lives if there were no Christmas season.  Imagine a life without love and without joy.  Nothing proves more substantially the validity of the Christian faith, than the living of it. 


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