Jesus Made Me Rational (An Introduction)
Writer’s note: what follows is a descriptive narrative of my epistemology not a statement of universal fact (though some facts are contained therein).
In the beginning was Rationality, and Rationality was with God, and Rationality was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
In a very new university (for all universities were new) as the 12th Century drew to a close a grand experiment was proposed: so grand that its conclusion may never be reached (though of course those proposing it made that fundamental error of optimism, believing it could be completed in their lifetimes), and the likes of which had never—indeed could never—have been attempted before.
For a little over one thousand years before someone had come into this world who changed our understanding of it forever. Instead of an irrational universe created and ruled over by fickle and oft-competing gods—where mathematics that held true in Egypt had no reason to be true in Greece—this person had said that not only was the universe created by rational laws but that he was rationality himself.
So in this (very new) university this group of men set this grand experiment in motion. If the universe was, as this person claimed, made by rationality then surely it ought to follow rational laws. And if, as this person claimed, rationality was the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, then these rational laws must be the same no matter who tests them, and no matter where that person is doing the testing. This grand experiment would be to test the rationality of the universe with the expectation that the universe would be the consistent, would be common, and would be rational.
In the century that was to follow the grand experiment would in turn motivate men like Thomas Aquinas who definitively showed that Aristotle was wrong—and if he could be wrong about one thing, why he might be wrong about many things.
This grand experiment would be tested time and time again over the millennium which was to follow. It would lead Nicole d’Oresme to liken the universe to a clock that had been made and set to run its own course. It would lead Rene Descartes in his quest for the laws of nature. It would cause Roger Bacon to create the scientific method to ensure the results of the experiment were valid. It would be the inspiration for the oft-misused William of Ockham to codify rational thought. It would be the foundation of Gregor Mendel’s discovery of genetics.
Eventually it would cause philosopher-mathematician George Alfred Whitehead to declare in front of a crowd of unbelieving sceptics that faith in science was a derivative of medieval theology. And so this great experiment would end up impacting the life of a young man who had been raised a Christian and hated that he was incapable of disbelieving in Jesus no matter how much he tried.
This young man had already (though perhaps unknowingly) decided to dedicate his life to being as rational as he could be—and with all the presumption and thoughtless energy of youth proceeded to make as many unthinking, irrational decisions that his brain, drunk on self-importance as it was, was capable of making. That was until he started studying mathematics.
here ends the story.
Mathematics has changed my life. It is the reason that I have pursued rationality. And it is the reason that I no longer hate that I believe in the resurrection of Jesus, but rather test the implications of it. HPMoR is the reason I have ended up at this particular site, but mathematics is the reason I read HPMoR in the first place.
Thank you for having me here. Sorry my introduction was so long. I didn’t know quite how to write what I wanted to write, and I am not a good enough writer to do a series of posts on it. I look forward to becoming more rational by being here—even as I stand fully aware that my unshakeable belief is the definition of irrationality—it is, however, evidence of the truth of a prediction made nearly two thousand years before my birth. I would love you to ask me about that, but understand this website is not about religion.