I would like to respond to Jack Kerwick’s Sunday article “The Reasonableness of Christianity“ over at The American Thinking. In his article, Mr. Kerwick committed a great injustice by marrying the concepts of reason and mysticism in an aberrant matrimony conceived in a grasping effort to legitimize God. In doing so, Mr. Kerwick demonstrated an egregious misunderstanding of the concept of reason.
Mr. Kerwick defines reason as man’s ability to convince, observe, and act upon that which cannot be seen – God. Reason is not some supernatural human ability that allows us to understand that which we cannot observe. Reason is an earthly, uniquely human characteristic that aid’s man in his pursuit of life, not his pursuit of leprechauns, unicorns, and magic.
Reason is man’s only means of knowledge acquisition. He must use and depend upon his senses to collect evidence of his environment, to process that knowledge with his mind, to formulate concepts, ideas, and goals based on that evidence, and act accordingly. A student seeking to attend a good college must first gather data on a variety of universities, collate them with respect to his academic interests and goals, and take note of tuition costs and how it measures against his budget. In choosing what to have for dinner, a parent must keep in mind the nutritional needs of the family, the available ingredients in the home, and how much time is left until dinner is expected. A young couple similarly must take precautions before starting a family, keeping in mind their budget, the size of their house and car, and their family’s support.
In every respect of our lives – small or large – we take action based on a series of observations whether they are instantaneous or long research projects. In acting without reason, the student goes to a university ill-suited for his pursuits; the parent cooks a poor meal; the young couple raises a child in poverty.
Faith, the concept that Mr. Kerwick claims can never be substituted for reason, is by its very definition the antonym of reason – believing in something without evidence. This violates the nature of man.
If it isn’t already clear, I am an atheist. I know that God cannot exist. I know this for the following reasons.
There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of God. Evidence unequivocally proving the existence of a supernatural being is nowhere to be found. Since the burden of proof is upon those who claim a thing to be true, my argument remains uncontested so long as proof is absent.
I also reject the fallacy that existence requires a causal explanation. The universe is all that which exists, thus, something outside the universe cannot exist. Inquiring about a cause of existence is a contradiction. By asking “what caused existence?” one is inquiring about something outside of existence. Something cannot come out of nothing. Causality presupposes existence and existence is an irreducible primary.
Mr. Kerwick ends his piece by crediting Christians with a “rich intellectual tradition” worth exploration. I agree that such a “tradition” should be explored, but I doubt the evidence found on that journey is congruent with Kerwick’s assumption. The Christian faith has a long and enduring history of standing in opposition to human scientific progression. Christianity’s imperial roots necessitated the sequestration of new ideas that contradicted the church, including those of Galileo and astrology, Newton and physics, De Maillet and evolution. It would behoove Mr. Kerwick to not forget the multiple inquisitions, crusades, and backwards practices of justice by the church throughout history sending millions to their deaths for no objective reason.
The crimsoned hands of Christianity should not be confused with intellectualism. Mysticism should not be confused with reality. Faith should not be confused with reason. Mr. Kerwick holds before us a model of ignorance counterproductive to the human spirit, and an active destroyer of it both in the past and the present.