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Immanently Reasonable, Once Oriented

July 2, 2012

In my last post I argued that Reason is given too much honor in our culture, and despite the claims made on its behalf, is NOT a compass in our search for Wisdom and Truth. It is a tool we all use and are right to use in many areas of our lives, but as lawyers and debaters show, it can be used toward any end one might choose. So it is only after we are oriented correctly with the right worldview that we are ready for – and well-served by – turning to reason.

Reason can help us analyze complex alternative choices to choose in a way consistent with our values and beliefs. It can help us find fallacies in an interconnected set of propositions. It can help us avoid holding isolated opinions which aren’t consistent with the rest of our beliefs. Most importantly, perhaps, in the mind of a Christian believer, it can convict us of sin and wrong thinking; in a spirit of sempre reformanda (always reforming), Reason is an incredibly important tool and mental capability. It often leads one to decisions shockingly opposed to the norms of culture – but isn’t that a sign of true Christianity? (1John 2:15).

Sadly, these decisions are also opposed to common views held by members in many modern churches. They may be in conflict with others in your family or extended family; after all Jesus told us to expect that (Matt 10:34-37). Consider though what is more important: Would you weaken or dilute your strong worldview with syncretism as many mega-churches do? Or would you be knowingly “unreasonable” in applying your worldview to the big questions of life? (Col 2:8).

This is a powerful concept; in this context, reason really sharpens the two-edged sword of Scripture. Applying reason and my Christian worldview to these topics (among others) have led to significant life-changing decisions in my family’s life:

– IF WE DON’T DO ANYTHING DIFFERENT FROM THE WORLD, HOW WILL MY FAMILY END UP ANY DIFFERENT FROM THE WORLD? (Rom 12:2)
– Who should lead my family? (Eph 5:25)
– How will my children see my faith? (1Sam 2:12)
– Can I trust Sunday School to impart Christianity to my kids? (Deut 6:6-7)
– Are the Bible’s roles for men and women just for pre-modern cultures? (Prov 31:26-28)
– Should I take control to limit the number of children I will have? (Ps 127:3)
– Should I care about the abortion debate? (Ps 127:4)
– What is our most important job as parents? (Eph 6:4)
– What is the ABSOLUTE BEST way to train and disciple my children? (Deut 6:6-7)
– Is it more important that my kids learn math and science, or spiritual wisdom? (Prov 10:3)
– Should I leave my children open to cultural indoctrination? (Phil 4:8)
– What kind of exposure should I give my children to electronic media? (Prov 4:13-15)
– Is it important that my kids know anything about the most current pop stars, video games and movies? (Col 2:8)
– Should I protect my kids from some things in the world up to certain ages? (Matt 12:29)
– What is important about a college education for my kids? (Prov 9:9)
– Are my free time choices in line with my priorities and values? (Prov 13:4)
– What kinds of TV programs and movies should we watch? With how much of our time? (Jam 4:4)
– What considerations are there in deciding whether I should drink alcohol? (Rom 14:21, Ex 20:5)
– How should I plan to spend my older years? (Prov 17:6)
– For what purpose should I build an inheritance and investments? (Prov 13:22)
– How much of my wealth should I keep vs. give away? (Mark 10:21)

I have not completed my journey by any means; God willing I expect to find many more questions, to be convicted of many more sins and to change many more decisions in my life in the future. But I can testify that up to this point, striving to be immanently reasonable – once oriented correctly – has brought many blessings to my life.

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