Friday, April 10, 2009

Irrational Me

{Psalm 95:7-9; ESV}
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.

Psalm 95 was part of my devotional reading this morning. When I read these three verses I was reminded how foolish Israel was while they were being set free and led to the Promise Land. They had seen the miracles of God, they had experienced God at work in the world around them, and they still did not trust Him. They didn’t trust His power or His goodness. Israel had every reason to put their faith in God, but they did not.

Truth be told that when I look at my life I am little better. It is always: God what have you done for me lately, rather than trusting God based on past experience. From the Bible, to the example of other Christians, answered prayer, and other experiences I have every reason to trust God with my life, but more often than not I neglect to take that next step of faith.

This irrationality of behavior is not just seen in the realm of faith, but in every area of people’s lives. Humans are just not very rational in their behaviors. It is seen in the person who continues to smoke, even though they have been told repeatedly that smoking is harmful and it is seen in the person who turns to the government to fix things in spite of the all the evidence the government ruins everything it touches.

Here are Vox Day’s thoughts on this subject:
“You need only look around to see hundreds of examples of totally irrational human behavior every single day. Indeed, you need only spend a moment of honest introspection to find dozens of examples in your own life. Perhaps you bought an Internet stock in late 1999, or are dating a girl who cheated on her last boyfriend with you. The chances are good that you spent tens of thousands of dollars on a college degree that not only cost you five years’ worth of wages and work experience, but has nothing to do with your job now. You probably vote in presidential elections even though it is statistically improbable and logically impossible for your one vote to have any impact on the final result. And yet despite the irrationality of your activities, you will continue to vote, invest, love, and live because you are not a robot, you are a human being. Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing one who uses his intellect to construct reasons in post facto defense of his irrational desires” (The Irrational Atheist, pp. 264-5)

We are irrational because we are complex creatures made up of experiences, beliefs, education, emotions, and desires. Left at the mercy of these things are tossed to and for the changing winds that make up life. That is why we need a guide to help us hold course, even during the most turbulent of times. The Bible provides us with just such a guide, and if we commit to following it we will discover that even though we have bouts of irrationality, that our course will be undoubtedly more straight than the rest of the world.

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