Wisdom, Epistemology, and the Power of Reason

Often, discussions with religious people turn into accusations of the atheist’s supposed “foolishness”. They attack the arrogant presupposition that humans can know better than God through their “weak” and “broken” faculties like reason. True Wisdom ™, or so it seems, comes only from the Divine, which transcends all possible human knowledge.

Yet, for this argument to be consistent, one would first have to demonstrate the superiority of a specific person or group of persons in the realm of epistemology. Undoubtedly, this claim isn’t even consistent with most religious viewpoints. If the atheist can be wrong in the eyes of God, then so can the religious person. Saying otherwise is to build a false hierarchical paradigm in which certain people, by privilege of belonging in a certain group, win the intellectual argument by default.

Even more importantly, arguing this way is a hasty dismissal of the other side. It undermines effective discourse and begs the question. It defeats the purpose of dialog and dries up further conversation.

Commitment to reason is a prerequisite for fruitful discussion. And contrary to popular belief, the use of rationality doesn’t mean we switch to a purely emotionless and calculating brain mode. It at the very least means we treat each other in conversation seriously and with a measure of charity.

Of course, if you don’t like reading, you can check out this wonderful inspirational video on how commitment to reason can take us far and wide.

P.S. Starting classes while working a full-time job. Updates will be sporadic from now on.


Posted on January 6, 2013, in Humanism, Rationality and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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