Christianity isn't Irrational
I thought it prudent to make a comment concerning the continued discussion of the supposed irrationality of Christianity, especially as there is soon to be a broadcast about it. The title of this entry is an oversimplification, created on purpose to catch interest, for the topic in question has far more horrific entailments than basic irrationality.
In discussing the claims of Christianity, one must keep in mind the type of idea being discussed, as, though many might dispute this, not all ideas are the same. To put it another way, some ideas are by definition axiomatic and as such are not capable of being rationally discussed. Now, this is not to say that the claims of Christianity are axiomatic, despite the notable claims of philosophers/apologists Carl F.H. Henry and Gordon Clark. Rather, this simply points out that the ideas of Christianity are far different than those of evolution, general relativity, laissez-faire capitalism, marxism, and psychoanalysis, to name a few.
The difference in the ideas goes to the heart of the debate concerning the rationality of Christianity. The efficacy of rationality depends upon the ability of an idea being debatable. The claims of Christianity are not, by definition. When Gordon Clark says the theological hubris of Christianity is axiomatic, he is declaring them persona non grata to rational discussion, at least in so far as unbelievers are concerned. For those of you who have some knowledge of Christian sects, this goes far beyond Calvinistic claims and centers upon the foundational intangibility of absolutist theism.
There is a necessity to be found in why revelation is offered as a viable alternative, in fact in most apologists it is superior, to reason. This necessity is required due to the metaphysical grounding that Christianity and all other thestic claims have assumed. The ground is to be found in its earliest form in Plato, though most point to Descartes and his dualism as the particularly modern adaptation that is being used. This cannot be overstated. The rabid subjectivism, the superiority of mind over matter, and the consequent inability to discuss mental claims in an objective fashion, are all results of Cartesian dualism. If this is not understood and dealt with, then any discussion had with a believer is frought with problems.
It is the wise man who agrees with the Chinese strategist Sun Tzu, who cautions warriors to know thy enemy or face the possibility of going to battle with a ghost. For let me make this clear, we are in a battle. The claims of Christianity and other such ideas of an absolutist nature have far more dire consequences than simply being irrational. For the nature of Christianity is that of being non-rational, not only as has been noted in its ideological framework subject only to the dictates of revelation from an unknowable Being, but also in its practical outplay. To be irrational is curable and even in many circumstances comical, but to be non-rational is to deny a fundamental quality of being human and thus to embark on a path of disunity with the universe. This disunity is, as Sam Harris points out, fundamental to the destrution and death that Islam currently and christianity in the past, has taken. But of more immediate and prevelant concern is the vast number of individuals that, having taken this ideology to heart, seem incapable of thinking clearly on so many subjects, resulting in the continued ridiculous debate over evolution being taught in the schools, the anti-gay movement, and the general abhorrent attitude to science. The number of personal relationships destroyed and/or hurt by the inability of adherents of absolutism to admit to even being capable of being wrong and the disconnectedness with their fellow human beings remains a far worse atrocity than all the bombs dropped on Baghdad, for unlike those victims, the silent pain of a society wracked by ideological rigidity creates a lifeless living instead of an immediate death.
We must understand what is being dealt with and call it for what it is, a systematic and deliberate attempt to undermine what it means to be human. Nothing less will bring the point home, nothing less will do justice to the seriousness of the worldwide calamity that is among us and approaching.
Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite expression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. -Erich Fromm