lundi 29 octobre 2012

What is "Modern Reason"?

The exacting disputes between modern reason and Christian faith, which started off on the wrong foot with Galileo’s trial, went through several phases. But by the time the Second Vatican Council was convened new thinking was possible. The new approach found in the conciliar papers sets out only guidelines but also the essential direction so that the dialogue between faith and reason, very important nowadays, has found its orientation in Vatican II.

"The exacting disputes between modern reason and Christian faith"

In my ontology, reason is not an arbitrary collective good with modes and modernity/antiquity opposition, like English where King Alfred wrote Old English and Tolkien wrote Modern English. Reason is a real universal with real universally individual realisation, like "language" rather than "English." You can talk about "modern languages" and therefore about "a modern language" but not about "modern language". It has no "old language" as opposite. Unless you count the twenty syllabic phonemes that a certain language pre-historian believes constituted the complete lexicon of Homo Erectus. But that is pure speculation, not fact.

As reason is not an arbitrary collective, it cannot contrast with "another" either arbitrary or non-arbitrary collective. There is such a thing as mutual influences between English and French (both being modes typical of arbitrary collectives of using the universal language), but not between reason and English, reason and French, or for that matter, if Faith be considered as a collective good of the Church (though not an arbitrary such), reason and faith.

Human reason is the capacity of knowledge, either human in which case it can be acquired by one's own reasoning (as when I rediscovered the Korean art of counting to 99 on the fingers), or divine, in which case it is believed (as when I believe what Christ said about the Day of Judgement). Faith is a certain quality of reason, it is opposed to either mere lack of faith or opposition to faith.

Now, one opposition to faith comes from a cult which is modern and which calls its sham authority, on basis of which it condemns faith, "reason".

With that cult or rather its representatives there can indeed be either peaceful dialogue or violent dispute and there has already been wars in which it was agressing the Church and also therefore the Faith.

A peaceful dialogue must be based on the common human faculty of reason: but it cannot and must not be based on the misdefinition which that cult gives to the word. I can dialogue with an evolutionist, but I will not and cannot base that dialogue on "keeping God out of scientific explanations". Which is the key error, or one of them, not of reason, but of his reasoning.

When one seeks the correct explanation for something, one cannot arbitrarily exclude one explanation because one does not like it. Of course, they would claim they exclude it for its being not verified: but an explanation is verified by what it explains, unless other explanations are possible. When you do arbitrarily exclude one explanation, it is sheer luck if it is not the right one. And those who do exclude the right one will complicate the wrong ones indefinitely as long as they see as part of their task to avoid the one which is really the right one even if they refuse to see that. In such an arbitrary exclusion of one explanation, one can see a clear refusal to see, not just honest ignorance.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
St Narcissus

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