Pride, Prejudice and Rational Religion

In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice Caroline says to Mr Bingley,

I should like balls infinitely better, if they were carried on in a different manner; but there is something insufferably tedious in the usual process of such a meeting. It would surely be much more rational if conversation instead of dancing were made the order of the day.’

‘Much more rational, my dear Caroline, I dare say, but it would not be near so much like a ball.”

There is the proper reply to the sophomoric atheist who says that religion is “irrational.” Religion could be more rational if it were more like a philosophy lecture–but then it would not be near so much like a religion. Read more.

  • Faith

    I love that you used that exchange from P&P to prove your point! Bravo! Caroline and her pretensions to superiority are so transparent.

  • Steve S

    T.S. Eliot said it best:
    “Where is the Life we have lost in living?
    Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
    Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”
    Thinking that the sum total of reality can be reduced down to empirical measurements (“information”) is the truly irrational position. Can the full reality of a baseball game be encompassed by the “information” in a box score? Can the full reality of love be encompassed by the information contained in a brain scan or by describing the chemical structure of hormones, etc? That which is real (or should I say “Real”?) transcends mere information and mere knowledge (the levels of reality accessible to science). To believe otherwise is irrational.

  • Oregon Catholic

    And art, to be of any worth, must also be utilitarian.

  • Howard

    St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas were two of my shepherds into the Catholic Faith. No one who has read and understood them can think that the Catholic Church is irrational.

  • Howard

    And, noteworthy to P&P discussion, it would not only be less like a ball, it would be more like a pub.

  • SKay

    Great points Father. . From my point of view, you always make the complex into common sense.
    Thank you.

  • Linus

    I am more concerned about Catholics and other Christians who are troubled by the arguments of popular theoretical physicists than about convinced athiests. First the Catholic Church teaches that ” God, our Creator and Lord can be known with certainty, by the natural light of reason from created things.” De Fide dogma. Secondly, the Catholic Church teaches that ” The existence of God can be proved by means of causality.” A teaching proximate to the Faith regarded by theologians generally as a truth of Revelation but not yet promulgated by the Church. This latter teaching was issued by Pius X in 1910, so it has been held for a long time. So no Christian need fear that he or she cannot give a ” rational ” account for their belief in a Creator who caused all the universe and all that is in it to exist and who maintains it in existence and guides all existence to the proper end he has planned and who Himself is not a part of the created universe but who is situated ” outside ” the universe of matter in some mysterious way beyond our human comprehension and who futher has and continues to interact with His creation in countless ways, some times in hidden ways, some times directly, as in sending his Son and after his death and Resurrection and later by his Spirit to provide guidence and protection for his Church and for those he has called and knows.
    So Cathlics need to know that the proofs of God’s existence have been provided by numerous great Catholics of the past including St. Thomas, St Augustine and many others. The validity of their proofs are still good today inspite of what their detractors say. But if you would explore more modern proofs you can go to http://www.magisreasonfaith.org.

  • Linus

    Besides the two intellectual giants I mentioned above it would be interesting to Christians and athiests alike to look into the proofs of God’s existence offered by Aristides, Apol, 1,1-3; Theophilus of Antioch, AD Autolycum 1,5; Minucius Felix, Octavius 17, 4 et seq: 18,4 http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/octavius.html ( very interesting); St Augustine, De Vera Religione 30-32: Conf. X 6; XI 4; and St John of Damascus, De Fide Orth, 1, 3. Whatever the athiest may think, will not be able to accuse these men of being irrational.

  • TeaPot562

    Atheists who understand Stephen Hawking’s research leading to the Big Bang theory may want to examine a fundamental question: If, thirteen billion or so years ago, all matter and energy were concentrated at a singularity with a temperature of fifty million or so degrees Celsius,
    WHAT (or Who) caused this singularity with its properties to come into existence? Or, what was there before?
    I believe that the answer in Gen. 1 satisfies Occam’s razor, requiring the fewest variables to be satisfied: “And God said, ‘Let there be light!’ And there was light.”
    TeaPot562

    • Korou

      I’m afraid I do not find your explanation satisfying in the slightest, and I would invite you to rethink some of its points. What makes you think there was a Who? What does the word “before” mean in the context of the beginning of time? And what do you mean by Occam’s Razor? Surely introducing a huge and complex intelligence into the equation requires a great deal of extra explanation?

  • Noe

    Quick thought; “irrational” is not always the word, as I’m sure you know. Robert. J. Aumann, Nobel Prize Winner in Economics in 2005 (and very obvious Orthodox Jew), introduced me to the concept of something being in an “orthogonal” relationship to another something – in this case, rationality (very much his field) . He’s quoted on this kind of relationship in terms of religion and rationality here, also featured are some vignets of his religion, mondern culture and his scientific work as a living example;
    http://harherem.blogspot.com/2009/12/dr.html


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