Redemption of Reason Conference

November 3, 2005

Dallas had the opportunity to join a group of Christian scholars conversing with the secular mindset at the University of Chicago on November 3, 2005. The title of this conference was inspired by Dallas’s 1998 talk at Biola University.

This conference was hosted by InterVarsity Christian Fellowships at the University of Chicago, and there are more resources available on their Redeeming Reason website.

Resources

2: The Way Back

Thinking about a Possible Christian Response to the Plight of Reason today.

Download & Listen Offline
Download & Listen Offline

Is There a Problem about the Human Use of Reason Today?

Is There a Problem about the Human Use of Reason Today? If so, how did it come about? How do things stand in Academe?

What is reason? It is the human capacity to discover necessary connections by thinking, not necessarily excluding the use of information or knowledge from the other two human sources of truth: perception and authority. “Thinking” has many different forms and styles, but it is, in general, a matter of bringing things before the mind and attentively dwelling upon them and their properties and relations.

The human problem is to secure knowledge to serve as a basis for action: knowledge of what to aim at (the good) and of how to achieve the aim (means to ends). 

The Way Back

Thinking about a Possible Christian Response to the Plight of Reason today.

When I speak of “Christian” or “Christian tradition or knowledge” in what follows, I shall be referring to what C. S. Lewis calls “Mere Christianity,” the core beliefs of the main tradition of the Christian people throughout the ages. It is sufficient just to think of the cognitive content of the “Apostles’ Creed.” Failure to distinguish this central core from the many historical and accidental accretions to that tradition led the Christian institutions (Churches, but also their colleges) of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s to irrational defenses of doctrines and practices that could not be rationally defended, leading to identification of religion with irrationality and to the deadly and false opposition of “faith” to reason. Religion became synonymous in many minds with blind dogmatism and blind adherence to authorities. “Faith,” it is jokingly said, “is what you believe even though you know it ain’t so.” Thus, you will hear people say today that you can’t be a scientist and believe in God. When you supply the historical background, you see why they might say that, though it remains a thoroughly ignorant statement.