All Things are Irrational

“There are not many possibilities in answer to the three basic areas of philosophic thought, but there is a great deal of possible detail surrounding the basic answers….

1. The first class of answer is that there is no logical, rational answer…all is finally chaotic, irrational, and absurd…This is the philosophy, or world view, of many people today. It is a part of the warp and woof of the thinking of our day, that there are no answers, that everything is irrational and absurd.

If man held that everything is meaningless, nothing has answers and there is no cause-and-effect relationship, and if he really held this position with any consistency, it would be very hard to refute. But in fact, no one can hold consistently that everything is chaotic and irrational and that there are no basic answers. It can be held theoretically, but it cannot be held in practice that everything is absolute chaos.

The first reason the irrational position cannot be held consistently in practice is the fact that the external world is there and it has form and order. It is not a chaotic world. If it were true that all is chaotic, unrelated, and absurd, science as well as general life would come to an end. To live at all is not possible except in the understanding that the universe that is there – the external universe – has a certain form, a certain order, and that man conforms to that order and so he can live within it.

…Sometimes people try to bring in a little bit of order; but as soon as you bring in a little bit of order, the first class of answer – that everything is meaningless, everything is irrational – is no longer self-consistent, and falls to the ground.

The view that everything is chaotic and there are no ultimate answers is held by many thinking people today, but in my experience they always hold it very selectively. Almost without exception (actually, I have never found an exception), they discuss rationally until they are losing the discussion and then they try to slip over into the answer of irrationality. But as soon as the one we are discussiing with does that, we must point out to him that as soon as he becomes selective in his argument of irrationality, he makes his whole argument suspect. Theoretically the position of irrationalism can be held, but no one lives with it in regard either to the external world or the categories of his thought world and discussion. As a matter of fact, infthis position were argued properly, all discussion would come to an end. Communication would end. We would have only a series of meaningless sounds – blah, blah, blah. The theater of the absurd has said this, but it fails, because if you read and listen carefully to the theater of the absurd, it is always trying to communicate its view that one cannot communicate. There is always a communication about the statement that there is no communication. It is always selective, with pockets of order brought in somewhere along the line. Thus we see that this class of answer – that all things are irrational – is not an answer.”

(Schaeffer, He is There and He is Not Silent, 5-7)

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