Is Rationality Subjective?
Often on here and other religious forums, Christians and other theists have gotten upset with me for suggesting that their beliefs aren't rational, but the product of something pathological. I don't mean this to be offensive and I definitely don't mean to suggest that Christians and other theists be locked up in mental institutions, the way the Soviet Union did with all dissidents. One fundamentalist poster who was a mental health professional said that if his beliefs were pathological, it would manifest itself in other behaviors and he would be deemed mentally incompetent at some point. Yet is this really true? What really constitutes a "rational" vs. an "irrational" belief, especially in a subject that can be debated? I know plenty of people who hold what I would consider to be irrational beliefs that are by no means mentally ill, at least not enough to be intitutionalized or even medicated. I've already posted youtube links to the opinions of my Christian quantum physicist friend, Ben Schumacher and I can attest that Ben is one of the most rational people I know, yet I disagree with him on what I would consider to be a rational belief. Here is what he says on the rationality of his belief system and worldview.
I know others who I consider very rational and intelligent, yet I disagree with them on their rationality. I have another friend who is a world class engineer, his IQ is probably off the charts, yet he consideres hiimself a medium and talks to spirits on a regular basis, often giving folks messages from dead friends and relatives if they ask.
So what constitutes "rationality" and is it subjective? I know folks who would never fly across the country, in fact, the very idea of flying from LA to NYC would make them physically ill with fear, yet many of these same people would think nothing of crossing the country on a motorcycle, in fact, they would look at it as an adventure. In fact I used to date a girl who said she felt more comfortable hitchhiking across the country rahter than flying. Is this subjectively rational, despite the fact that statistically flying is much safer than driving or hitchhiking? Do all thoughts have to be both intellectually and emotionally accepted before they can be considered rational?
I used to jump out of airplanes for fun, many of my friends and relatives thought that was irrational. Yet, here again, statistics prove skydiving to be relatively "safe" among the "extreme" or action sports, especially given the advancement of today's technologies.
How should we, as a society determine what is "rational"? Deeming religion irrational on a collective scale could mean the road to totalitarianism if such a belief system were adopted by a government and enforced by law and no one wants that, yet at the same time, no intelligent, "sane" person wants a theocracy either.
"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."