God and Human Reason

One of the accusations atheists have lodged against believers in God is that religion is an enemy of human reason. People who criticize theism say that people who believe that the Bible is the Word of God are against science and any academic study that promotes scientific investigation.

The reason for this charge is that some of the apostles of neo-atheism say that people who blindly accept the claims of the Bible are people who cannot use their own intellect to disagree with God and God’s word.

Yoram Hazony, in his article “The God of Independent Minds,” rejects the claims that religion is the enemy of human reason. He does so by looking at some of the “questioning, disobedient heroes of the Old Testament.”

Hazony shows that several of the main characters of the Hebrew Bible are depicted as independent-minded individuals who confront authorities and confront the claims of kings and other human leaders.

But, that is not all. Hazony said: “Some will want to object that the biblical heroes exhibit such independence of mind only with respect to other human beings, and that they become pushovers when God enters the picture. But that isn’t right either. Many biblical figures dare to extend their arguments and criticism to God himself. Abraham is famous for challenging God over the fate of Sodom: “Will not the judge of all the earth do justice?” Moses repeatedly argues against God’s intention to destroy Israel. David is outraged over what he sees as God’s unjust killing of one of his men, and similar arguments with God appear in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Havakuk, Jonah and Job.”

Hazony concludes that people who say that the Bible suppresses inquiry and argument should read the Bible again.  I enjoyed reading Hazony’s article. You can read the article here.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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