Reason and Experience Fail Again

Robert George deserves credit for at least getting the question right: What are the limits of reason?

He claims there is an objective moral order to the universe which reason can see. But whether or not that is true, is, as noted in the New York Times, “a debate at least as old as the Reformation, when Martin Luther broke with the Catholic Church and insisted that reason was so corrupted that faith in the divine was humanity’s only hope of salvation. . . .”

“This is a serious issue, and if I am wrong, this is where I am wrong,” George acknowledges. Read it here.

The above quote is found at the very end of the article. George is a Princeton University professor of modern law, a Roman Catholic, and a leading conservative Christian thinker.

Luther affirmed that reason is a tool to sort out life, but it’s not an absolute, not without sin, and not a source of revelation.

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Is there something anti-intellectual at the heart of seeker-sensitive evangelical churches? Mark Noll, in The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (1994), concluded that the “scandal” is that there isn’t much of an evangelical mind because evangelicalism is feeling-based.

Jonathan Fitzgerald argues in “The New Evangelical Scandal” that the same-old scandal continues.

Luther opposed experience-based religiosity. Faith is a gift, pure and simple. Our salvation does not depend on “what we are, think, say, or do” (Smalcald Articles 111/111, 36; Book of Concord [Tappert] 309). Rather, the promises of God are outside of us, in spite of us.  Through baptism he makes us his own.