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The End of Reason in Society

Author Meghan O'Gieblyn, explores meaning, morality, and faith. She recalls the role of thinking and reason during her days at Bible College:

When I was a Christian, I had a naive, unquestioning faith in the faculty of higher thought, in my ability to comprehend objective truths about the world. ... People often decry the thoughtlessness of religion, but when I think back on my time in Bible school, it occurs to me that there exist few communities where thought is taken so seriously. We spent hours arguing with each other—in the dining hall, in the campus plaza—over the finer points of predestination or the legitimacy of covenant theology.

Beliefs were real things that had life-or-death consequences. A person’s eternal fate depended on a willingness to accept or reject the truth—and we believed implicitly that logic was the means of determining those truths. Even when I began to harbor doubts…. I maintained an essential trust in the notion that reason would reveal to me the truth.

Today, no longer a believer, she has her doubts:

I no longer believe in God. I have not for some time. I now live with the rest of modernity in a world that is “disenchanted.” ... I live in a university town, a place that is populated by people who consider themselves called to a “life of the mind.” Yet my friends and I rarely talk about ideas or try to persuade one another of anything. It’s understood that people come to their convictions by elusive forces: some combination of hormones, evolutionary biases, and unconscious needs. Twice a week I attend a yoga class where I am instructed to “let go of the thinking mind.”

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