söndag, juli 29, 2012

Om den falska motsättningen mellan tro och rationalitet

One can believe that faith is mere credulous assent to unfounded premises, while reason consists in a pure obedience to empirical fact, only if one is largely ignorant of both. (...) 
But more important in some ways, it seems to me, is to stress how great an element of faith is present in the operations of even the most disinterested rationality. All reasoning presumes premises or intuitions or ultimate convictions that cannot be proved by any foundations or facts more basic than themselves, and hence there are irreducible convictions present wherever one attempts to apply logic to experience. One always operates within boundaries established by one’s first principles, and asks only the questions that those principles permit. A Christian and a confirmed materialist may both believe that there really is a rationally ordered world out there that is susceptible of empirical analysis; but why they should believe this to be the case is determined by their distinctive visions of the world, by their personal experiences of reality, and by patterns of intellectual allegiance that are, properly speaking, primordial to their thinking, and that lead toward radically different ultimate conclusions (though the more proximate conclusions reached through their research may be identical). 
What distinguishes modernity from the age of Christendom is not that the former is more devoted to rationality than was the latter but that its rationality serves different primary commitments (some of which—“blood and soil,” the “master race,” the “socialist Utopia”—produce prodigies of evil precisely to the degree that they are “rationally” pursued). We may, obviously, as modern men and women, find certain of the fundamental convictions that our ancestors harbored curious and irrational; but this is not because we are somehow more advanced in our thinking than they were, even if we are aware of a greater number of scientific facts. We have simply adopted different conventions of thought and absorbed different prejudices, and so we interpret our experiences according to another set of basic beliefs—beliefs that may, for all we know, blind us to entire dimensions of reality.
David Bentley Hart. Atheist Delusions, Yale University Press, 2009. s. 101-102