The failure of rationalism

PHILOSOPHER and mathematician Bertrand Russell said although it may seem a paradox, all exact science is dominated by the idea of approximation. When a man tells you that he knows the exact truth about anything, you are safe in inferring that he is an inexact man, he said.

Science can tell you that a DNA molecule inside each cell contains a three-billion-letter software code. But it can’t tell you who wrote the code.

The average human can fathom the laws of nature, the movement of the stars, even the beginnings of the universe itself. But knowledge is not akin to wisdom.
Our scientific knowledge is clearly more than we need to know to get by. But the universe, as sociologist Eden Philpotts said, is still full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
He said the world was a spiritual kindergarten, where thousands of bewildered infants were trying to spell GOD using the wrong blocks.

“Most of us do not realise how powerful the creator is,’’ said philosopher William Inge.
“The failure of rationalism is that it fails to find a place for God in its picture of the world.
“The thing is that God can not be fitted into a diagram. He is rather on a canvas on which the picture of our lives are painted, or in the frame in which the picture is set

Christianity is about entering the story of God and realising that even when we fail and fall, God still cares about us. Still loves us.

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39 thoughts on “The failure of rationalism

  1. The quest for knowledge via verifiable evidences and reason is hardly a ‘ failure ‘ , and to decide we are entirely responsible for our mistakes and wrongs is also hardly a statement of our God’s loving nature. We are and do as we are made ( by God) to be and do, and to think God ever had the option to not care about us is preposterous !

    By the way sociologist Eden Philpotts, the ‘ universe ‘ is NOT the all for interest, and its a terribly cruel harmful and unjust construct. As knowledge is not necessarily wisdom, a university education is not necessarily a resume for Truth.

    why not visit my blog GJPaul ( I am a sincere and priviledged witness and student/disciple of Jesus, and all christian faiths are in trouble by their choice to place belief over Truth. )

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      • Yes CCT,

        How can one claim to be a disciple (as Gregory has) of Jesus Christ and yet reject the Word (Jesus is the Word) of God?

        How can one be a disciple of Jesus Christ and not be Christian? It does not compute. In fact, as a Christian, I find it downright offensive.

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      • Clapham common tree, it would help if you’d visit my blog and read what I actually say about my knowledge and witness of Jesus ( 2013/07/12/some-evidences-of-soul ).

        Monica. I agree with and join with Jesus, and I take-up Love and Sacrifice everyday.

        I reject Paul’s opinion mere words of belief in Jesus are counted as serving God’s ( life’s parental figure, and before and more than Jesus ) will, nor are they sufficient for ones forgiveness by God and God’s son Jesus.

        Davinci.

        Think whatever you choose… just never declare yourself a voice of Truth.

        Healthy minded and honest people can easily find passages which contradict orther passages, AND, a Truely Loving soul will NEVER condemn ALL people which happen to not agree with Roman’s Paul’s version of what belief in Jesus is and does and means.

        I entirely do not understand how protestants align their faith behind Paul, AND claim they believe in Jesus WHEN the gospels authors directly QUOTE Jesus’s lessons and advice, and chronical his acts/deeds, and Paul contradicts those !

        Its obvious to me you doso by FEAR. If you consider to admit the passages in the gospels concerning God’s will for us in this earthly life, which Jesus loyally and courageously enunciates, you’d need turn away from Paul and then disavow and deny the earth, which you currently won’t do. Some catholics did, like Francis of Asssisi, Sister Theresa, etc, but you’ll say they’re wrong too !

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      • Hi Gregory,
        I did visit your site yesterday and had a look through the post. I’m still struggling to understand how you reconcile your experience with that of the Bible which has the fullest revelation of Jesus. To use one example, Jesus says that He will judge the world and that some people will be condemned (see eg Matt 7v21-23). Jesus also says that he and the father are one (John 10:30), which the Jews viewed as blasphemous because it was claiming equality with god the father. Which Jesus are we to follow?

        I am also keen to hear your view on the crucifixion and what purpose that served.

        Can you be more specific about Paul’s contradiction of Jesus?

        Regards, cct

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      • Hi Gregory, while there might be different translations of the Bible, the original texts that they are translated from are virtually identical. And most translations that claim to be literal translation differ very little, and almost not at all on the core doctrines. I don’t dispute that you are following a Jesus, but I think we should be clear that you are not following THE Jesus of the Bible. the Bible is the most comprehensive and most historically reliable record of Jesus teachings and life. Mohamed also claimed to have a new revelation about Jesus but we should be clear that we are talking about a different Jesus here.

        On what basis do you suggest your revelation of Jesus is better than the bibles?

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      • Clapham. My experience with Jesus began in 1973, and from there I began to read the Bible, most particularly the N.T.

        As is my nature, some statements in the gospels are unacceptable to me. ( the ‘ law ‘ against divorce, apparently holding the woman responsible for her husband’s divorce of her as she’s then guilty of adultery if she remarries, and her new husband likewise. ( St.Luke 16:18 St.Matthew 5:32 )

        As it is, ancient cultures, indeed todays religious cultures, were and are patriarchial and women are coldly, and cruelly, discounted, oppressed, enslaved, exploited, mistreated, abused, raped, disfigured, etc.

        This issue became my precident to begin arguement against the Bible and its various contributing writers ( no matter scholars can only infer, not prove, who those authors were )

        There’s also the FACTS there exists scores of different versions of the Bible and N.T. , saying meaningfully different things and all CANNOT possibly be True !

        Over the years I challenged other passages and statements in various books of the Bible.

        Interesting, and ironic, Martin Luther also challenged the authority of the gospels when he rebuked the catholic priesthood in the early 16 century. Although the catholic church can be historically recognised to be nothing other than a power and greed syndicate, the protestant church is also deeply corrupt.

        Jesus’s crucifiction has differing meanings to differing faiths. Obviously, the Rabbi’s wanted to silence and punish Jesus. For many others, the suffering Jesus endured speak of His Love for humankind, but for the gospels to then morally and politically condemn ALL non-believers, reguardless how loving and honest and merciful they are, shows an entirely different motive… a motive of vanity !

        I currently resolve this profound contradiction by rejecting condemnation altogether, and I’ve posted some obvious arguements on my blog,

        ” Life in this material reality is foundationally limited, and ALL offence against others lives is likewise limited, sothen ALL moral debts are limited ; NONE could ever be justly condemned to infinite punishment from only limited offence. ” ( 2013/07/12/some-issues-with-christianity )

        As for Paul’s contradiction, your query speaks of your alliance with Paul, and I’ve already made my position very clear. Jesus COMMANDS Love and Righteousness and Sacrifce ( Cross ), but Paul rejects those, replacing Loving action/deeds with words.

        How much wealth would you estimate the world’s protestant faiths possess ? How much status and power and priviledge ?

        Of well, the world divides. Some want to change life and daily labour to doso, others leave that to Jesus. My blog calls to they which dislike this life’s harms and will take action now.

        Blessed are they which hear and heed these lessons of my witness and knowledge of God and Jesus.

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  2. The jewish story of Job is rubbish ! The abused child has EVERY RIGHT to accuse the abusive parent.

    The jewish story of Genesis is rubbish ! Before Adam and Eve chose to know evil they MUST have been perfectly righteous and knowing eternal life, and could NOT have been born into any material place.

    If one loves and serves TRuth, Truth rewards them, and if one serves a loyalty to Love, Love rewards them. Its time protestants begin to BE protestants, challenging EVERYTHING for Truth and Right.

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      • Alexie, you need visit my blog to know who I am, but no, I’m neither mormon nor involved with any christian organisations.

        Because of Jesus I finally found the good Truths in my own Soul, and though I’d always had a good compassion for others, that wasn’t consistant. I’d struggled for many many years with the falsehoods in the gospels and bible, including the wrongs and bad things the christian churches and followships are, but when I decided to join Love, despite those, I began a new journey to a ‘ higher place ‘ in life. I’d always disliked the violence and vulgarity and meanness of this life, among many other things, and with Jesus I gained a powerful advocate against the ills of this life.

        How God will measure our lives is beyond me, yet when I finally came to better understand Jesus, I then began to actualize a greater virtue in my soul and life. My journey was a studentship under the tutorage of Jesus, and now it has matured to the degree I’m more fit to speak of these issues with confident understanding and courage.

        Though I hold no Godwise-issued authority for my various views and insights and knowledges of life and God and such, I have, none-the-less, an advanced understanding of such things. I argue with honest points and fair rights, and from my own experiences and perceptions of this loving presence, against the foundationally harmful life-order the universal material reality is.

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    • Sorry Gregory, but you are contradicting yourself. You say that the protestants should challenge everything for truth and light, then procedd to ignore one of the basic tenets of protestantism. That the Bible is the word of God and everything in it is true (including the book of Job)

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  3. Just read your blog. Interesting read. You seem very humble in places.No mmention of Mormonism but in parts sounds similar.
    “I have earned my way to the understandings I’ve been given, though I hold no authority to speak on behalf of God nor Jesus”. We have authority through Jesus and the record of the Bible. I can say there is authority and can use that authority to speak on His behalf. He has called us to do that and to go out into the world.

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    • Alexie, I suppose you relate my faith to Mormons as there incidentally happens to be a few similarities, but I assure you, I knew nothing about mormons, except for rare news reports, over the many years of my mystical relations with God and Jesus and others, including the past 23 yrs, when I began writing about and developing my knowledge and understandings.

      Although I confide God has NOT expressed to me any appointment for these things I speak of, this does not then say God is non-supportive of me. I am given new, important insights every day, and God and Jesus know how difficult new Truths are to those which decide they already know what they need to know ( for their own personal ‘ salvation ‘ ) .

      All christian faiths, of which I know something about, are sick in their blind acceptance of the scriptures of the Bible. Those scriptures over flow with opinions masked as God’s Truths, including bold-faced lies.

      These facts do NOT condemn the Bible, and there ARE some profoundly Holy and Sacred good Truths in some areas of some of the books of the old and new estaments, BUT, though one may venture through that maze of the shadows of death and harm and babel, only those which love Truth see the need to dispute so much in the bible (Indeed, ALL religions).

      I stand humble before Virtue from my regrets over my life, and though I’ve always regretted myself in some amounts, when I look across my years with Love and Righteousness as the measure, I see how many mistakes could have been prevented, and I know the Holiness of the sanctity of life, and God’s merciful gift to us of Jesus. (albeit, we need prove the character of our free-will, with effectively loving and honest and righteous behaviours every day, to Justify God’s desire we join God and company in their lives free of harm and suffering, so I say. )

      I am more than you think I am, and not as much as you wish I would be. ( if you hate the earth’s harmful, killing life-order. )

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    • ???? He did? —-> ” He has called us to do that and to go out into the world.”
      I thought there were ONLY 11 disciples handed the ‘Great Commission’ ~ and one fakir (sic) called Paul.

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      • One would …..er, ‘imagine’, Kate, from their ancestors
        ….like the ones who first imagined what it’d be like to walk on the earth rather than swing around the tree-tops by their tales.

        …. and to walk on the moon.

        …..after they’d imagined strapping a man to the top of THIS:-

        “The Saturn V rocket was 111 meters (363 feet) tall, about the height of a 36-story-tall building, and 18 meters (60 feet) taller than the Statue of Liberty. Fully fueled for liftoff, the Saturn V weighed 2.8 million kilograms (6.2 million pounds), the weight of about 400 elephants. The rocket generated 34.5 million newtons (7.6 million pounds) of thrust at launch, creating more power than 85 Hoover Dams. A car that gets 48 kilometers (30 miles) to the gallon could drive around the world around 800 times with the amount of fuel the Saturn V used for a lunar landing mission. It could launch about 118,000 kilograms (130 tons) into Earth orbit. That’s about as much weight as 10 school buses. The Saturn V could launch about 43,500 kilograms (50 tons) to the moon. That’s about the same as four school buses.”

        ….and shooting him off into the vast unknown….. though imagined!

        Makes The Divine Burning Bush and the Etched-Rock Ten Commandments look pretty trivial, doesn’t it?

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      • From experience, Kate, and the ever-growing intelligence to connect the dots.

        First, driven by hunger you learn to stand on a rock to reach the apple that the baboon couldn’t reach; then you climb the rock-face to your cave, motivated by a hungry leopard, and from up there you eye off Kilimanjaro and consider the possibilities ~ like perhaps being able to reach the enticingly shiny stars from its peak.
        ,,,,,and in a few million years you stand there at the roof of the African continent…….and away in the distance you notice Everest.

        After that the moon becomes irresistible.
        …and I see the chinese are heading for Mars in the next few years.
        (apparently they ….er, ‘imagine’ Australian minerals will have been mined out by then.)

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      • just note that nobody would suggest imagination is inherited; but the mental capacity (and long-term memory which appears to be exclusive to homosaps) is heritable.

        ,,,and please don’t ~ as altogether too many people (particularly religious ‘believers’) ~ forget the time-scale.
        None of this comes from The Creation 6000 years ago.
        Try some BILLIONS of years. (x,000,000,000 years.)
        If you’re really interested in this stuff you need to read Ardrey. It’s all laid out in layman’s language (almost poetic in places) and it’s reasoning is virtually impossible to fault.

        ,,,, and there’s no need to see it as being in competition with the bible.
        Y’can read the Women’s Weekly without that competitive mindset, can’t you?

        You’d have trouble finding a copy these days, but I can email you an e-copy if you like. (via Bryan?)

        …..and MONICA!!…Have you started the Don Camillo stories yet? Believe me, you’ll love them.)

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      • Yes Dabs,

        I did start reading Don Camillo, but then a friend gave me a book on why Christian women convert to Islam, and of course I got distracted. Thanks for the reminder though as I certainly would like to read his stories. Will place it somewhere prominent so I won’t forget….like the dunny. 🙂

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      • Christian women converting to islam??
        A Fifth Column!!
        That’ll fix the heretical heathens! They won’t know what hit ’em!
        😆

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      • So it shows what happens when your imagination is working, but not where it comes from. Why would a suggestion or a question or a problem cause the brain’s neural network to do it’s thing? What is a thought made of?

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      • So this electrical chemistry creates all different and original thoughts and ideas.

        If I were to put flour, water, eggs together, I would consistently get bread – but my brain chemistry can zap up different outcomes every time. Knowledge is just ? electricity. Hmmm, somehow I think there is something missing here.

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      • Your electrical chemistry must wire you up to be an atheist then. You have no control over it. No free will, because what would free will be then? Really, everybody is exactly the same, just with different wirings. We just never know how it’s all going to turn out. It’s all physical.

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      • “If I were to put flour, water, eggs together, I would consistently get bread –”

        Really I’ve made pancakes with those ingredients.

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      • You could probably even make some rough scones and if you added just milk and sugar who knows what.

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