Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

irrationality and uncommon sense

3/4/17

 

In politics we hear a frequent appeal to what is called common sense. The dictionary gives the following definition of common sense: sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts. I emphasize the word "simple" above because the notion of common sense always seems to involve seeing a situation as not particularly complex and therefore lending itself to easy evaluation and straightforward resolution. If it is not simple, common sense must somehow lead directly through all the associated complexity, which is exceedingly difficult to imagine.

 

In the broadest context the term common sense implies the judgment or opinion to which most individuals would agree because it just logically follows. Thus, by implication the opposite of common sense is nonsense or foolishness. Appealing to the common sense for support is really to claim that there can be no real argument against common sense.

 

It is always helpful if the "common sense" position is actually the majority opinion. Otherwise the opinion seems much less common, as in frequent.

 

Appeals to common sense is the background of much of human history. It is the bedrock of political rhetoric in every age and culture. Those who propose to lead and solicit the support of the general populace always seek to associate themselves and their positions with common sense, that which seems logical and straightforward. Simple solutions, quickly and easily implemented, are just what we all would wish for.

 

However, no one need miss that what we actually experience in our world is ever increasing complexity and rate of change. There is little to nothing that is really simple. Before we can master the last bit of new complexity, the next bit has already passed us by.

 

Within the context of any discussion of common sense, those of a secular scientific or religious Christian bent must seriously consider the prevailing scientific and religious dogma. In the realm of science we are challenged by the counter intuitiveness of the Theory of Relativity and Quantum Theory, both of which involve ideas and concepts which are not remotely supported by "simple perception" or normal logic. No amount of common sense ever leads to either theory and yet they are widely held as true based on a century or more of analysis and technological application.  

 

On the religious side, Christians are confronted with the astounding ethical instructions which permeate the New Testament, in the words of Jesus, Paul, and others. The rejection of eye for an eye justice, the promotion of humility and meekness, the extolling of unconditional love- each of these ideas find no support in so call common sense as attested by the way these ethical concepts have been overlooked or outright ignored by the church and its adherents throughout history.

 

Jesus, for sure, was no proponent of common sense. In fact, he is probably the foremost advocate of irrationality and uncommon sense in all of human history. He challenged conventional wisdom at every step. Those who attempt to claim him should never rely too heavily on common sense as their measure of sound judgment. To do so is to digress and reject the essence of Jesus.

 

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