READY TO GIVE AN ANSWER (RATIONALISM)
Passages that will help you respond when people say…
No offense, but the fact that you are reading this article means that you are probably an “irrationalist.” That doesn’t mean that you’ve lost touch with reality or believe the earth is flat. Nor does it mean that you are opposed to science, logic, or deductive reasoning. It simply means that you are not a rationalist. Which is good.
Rationalism is a movement that is often traced to the 18th century, but has really been around since the Fall. It sounds legitimate because we are logical, sane, rational creatures. Is rationalism all of those things? It claims to be built on hard science, but its postulations about the origin and purpose of life require devout faith in evolution’s gods of Time and Chance.
Is it rational to conclude that the things we see are products of a purposeless, designer-less Darwinism? If you were digging in the backyard and uncovered an old pocket watch, what would be the most logical conclusion to draw? A. It had been built by a watchmaker and was misplaced or discarded by its owner, or B. It assembled itself and has been there for billions of years.
Every day God’s creation testifies to its Creator. “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1-2) The closer we examine it, the more amazed we are, and the more untenable Darwin’s position becomes. On the Last Day, no one will be able to honestly say, “I had no idea that there was a God.” “For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20) “An atheist can’t find God,” the saying has it, “the way a thief can’t find a policeman.”
Logic and the Christian faith are not enemies, as long as logic is a servant and not the master. We have the same evidence that rationalists have, but draw different conclusions because our convictions are anchored in Scripture. Rationalism dethrones the Creator and enthrones human reason, all the while missing one crucial point: human reason is corrupted and its conclusions are often flawed.
What can you tell the rationalist who says that “religion makes no sense”? Actually, most religions make perfect sense. They are about doing enough good to compensate for doing evil and to merit divine favor. Logical? Yes. Christian? No. The Bible says, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) God Himself came to live our life and die our death so that we would be saved. No human being would come up with a plan like that, but it is exactly what Jesus has done for us.
When Paul dealt with rationalists in ancient Greece, he didn’t rely on his ability to win arguments in order to bring them to faith. “My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:4) The message of God’s grace makes no sense to natural man, but it contains within it the power to change an unbeliever into a believer. The most important thing to tell a rationalist or anyone else is what God has done for them in Christ.
James Albrecht is pastor of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Okabena, Minnesota.