~ Logic: The Enemy of Faith ~
Logic is a human invention, specifically by humans of the Western Civilization culture. Logic is actually an academic discipline. In the philosophy departments of our universities you can literally take "Logic 101." Logic is entrenched in our thinking to the point where we believe if something is not logical, it must therefore not be true.
Of course, many of our humanly constructed institutions are governed by the rules of logic, which is important. So, we expect these institutions to function consistently logically, such as the administration of law and justice. The danger to our faith is when we insist on applying these humanly constructed "rules of engagement" of our minds to the heavenly realm.
Let's face it, God is not logical! Those of us who cling to logic as the basis and test of all truth may be offended by my previous declaration. Those same people may not be able to accept the reality of God because He does not fit into their logical thinking. Logic has become a religion, a false and dangerous one. How many times have you heard someone say, "If there was a God, He would not let X and Y happen!"? It isn't logical that Christ declared we must die to live, we must be last to be first, that the least in His kingdom is the greatest! Last night I felt overwhelmed by the starry night. Zillions of stars, nebulae, galaxies! Our tiny earth is on the edge of a stellar spiral of our Milky Way galaxy and God walked this place in an incarnate human form out of incomprehensible love. Where is the logic in all that?
God declared that His ways and thoughts are higher than ours. (That is indeed one of the understatements of all time.) To keep trying to figure Him out is the epitome of arrogance. I do not wish to understand Him. I just want to know Him intimately. The smallest inclination toward trying to understand Him or apply the rules of logic to His ways is spiritual quicksand.
Now, you may be agreeing in part or fully with these musings of mine. But then consider your prayers. Many may think, "My prayers, needs and motives are logical. The timing I ask for God to intervene is logical. But He doesn't seem to hear me. I don't get it. What's up?" Our prayer lives are one of the last, yet most essential, areas of our spiritual practices in which we must abandon logic.
Interesting how we apply the rules of logic in some situations and not in others, depending on whether the outcome pleases us. One person (to use an extreme example) may have been sitting in a stopped vehicle, only to be simultaneously rammed in the back by a car going, say 55 mph, and by another going the same speed head on, and walking away. There is no logic in that, and since there isn't, we praise God for the "miracle." (Note that we would only call it a miracle because it doesn't fit into our logical ways of understanding how things "should have been." It does not make "sense" although we are quite happy about it.) On the other hand, should that person been critically injured, this would "make sense" given the event. Should that person die, after scores of people praying for his or her recovery, some may exclaim this doesn't make sense, it isn't logical, where are you God! You promised to fulfill our prayers when we pray in faith! Well, logic is the enemy and destroyer of faith.
On one dark, stormy night at sea, Jesus heard in His spirit the death cries of fear from His disciples far off in a sinking boat. Jesus had no boat, so He needed to walk out to them. (Logical, right?) The men in the boat could not believe it (not logical to them), so they concluded it must be a ghost. (When things are not logical, then we make up a supernatural reason for them, though they are quite natural to God.) Then Jesus used the opportunity to teach something about faith. In effect, Jesus said, "Come on Peter. I know it is not logical to you, but you can walk on water too. Just have faith." Peter ventured forth in faith and stood on the water. We can imagine Peter, finding himself standing on water, saying to himself, "Hey, this isn't logical, this doesn't make sense" because he rapidly began sinking into the turbulence. Jesus grabbed him, pulling him up, with a simple comment: "Oh you of little faith." Logic is the enemy of faith.
Isn't it logical to plan ahead? Yet, Jesus instructed us to pray for our "daily bread", not our weekly or monthly bread. He instructed us to not concern ourselves with tomorrow, for "today has its own troubles." (Recovery programs such as AA teach living hour by hour, even minute by minute. Their members don't say, "I will stop drinking, drugging, overeating, gambling, etc. for the rest of my life." They say, "I will not do X today." And tomorrow is another today, when it comes.) Jesus instructed us to not rehearse what we will say to our persecutors. Instead, He said to have faith and the "Holy Spirit will give you the words." He instructed us to love our enemies. (Isn't that an illogical, tough mandate to exercise?) He said to be joyful in our sufferings. (Another tough one.) When asked how many times should we forgive those who hurt us, one, two, maybe seven times, Jesus responded, "Seventy times seventy." We know Jesus was not saying, "Stop at your 4,900th time (and keep careful count), but rather to just keep going. All this is not logical and neither is Christianity. And I am no apologist for the non-logic of God and His ways.
These illogical teachings and ways of Christ are not suggestions. Some have accused Christians of being "too nice, too forgiving, etc." These are mandates of the Christ! These are not "nice platitudes by which to live" but instructions to be followed for those living in His kingdom, so He can abide in us and we abide in Him.
How shall we then conclude this Reflection, bringing all this together into one focal point? With abandonment and embracement. As I said in other writings, I am just a beggar pointing out to other beggars where I found some food. Given that, I am in the process of abandoning applying, consciously and unconsciously, the temptation of the logic and "making sense" paradigm which just doesn't work in the heavenly realm. Moreover, I am going to increasingly embrace the exercise of faith and pray for Christ's hand when I'm slipping into the turbulent waters, the same hand He stretched out to Peter. Jesus later told Peter, "Simon (Peter), listen to me! Satan has demanded the right to test each one of you, as a farmer does when he separates wheat from the husks. But Simon, I have prayed that your faith will be strong. And when you have come back to me, help the others." (Luke 22:31-32.) Wow! Consider what Christ is saying in a couple of sentences: 1.) "Satan desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat" which is how the KJV puts it; 2.) Christ had to pray for his strong faith, else satan would "have" Peter; 3.) When Peter finally gets through his distancing from (denial) of Christ predicted for that night, despite the terrible pain of that denial to both Peter and Christ, forgiveness reigns; 4.) Christ says "when you have come back to me", not "if you come back", another prediction that night that is too often missed by preachers; 5.) Christ says to "help the others", implying that Peter, among all people, will then be in the position of helping others in their exercise of faith and embracing redemption.
I love what Jesus said to Peter! Jesus is doing no less for you and me! "My friends, the blood of Jesus gives us courage to enter the most holy place by a new way that leads to life! And this way takes us through the curtain that is Christ himself. We have a great high priest who is in charge of God's house. So let's come near God with pure hearts and a confidence that comes from having faith. Let's keep our hearts pure, our conscience free from evil and our bodies washed with clean water…Faith make us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see." (Hebrews 10:19-22, 11:1.)
Whenever you catch your logical mind challenging you with fear, confusion, painful thoughts and anticipations, and that "this is hopeless without a miracle" attitude, remember that logic is not part of God's kingdom, ways or thoughts; that seemingly supernatural, illogical "miracles" are quite natural and commonplace events in the heavenly realm and are only "miracles" to our logical minds; that we invented logic but God provides faith as one of His gifts; that our Christ is praying for our strong faith so that satan will not "have us" or "sift us like wheat"; and that Christ wants us to help others understand this liberating and joyful reality that exceeds in power and wonder our puny, limited and weak constructs of logic.
John S. Hilkevich, Ph.D.
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Weekly Reflections © September 30, 2000
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