Most of the secular West has recently abandoned the concept of divine instruction, preferring the raw power of the human mind over Judeo-Christian moral code and its inflexible (unalienable, some might even say) system of human rights. But if we’re at all fair, we’ll recognize that rationalism–meaning, the reliance on mankind’s rationality as the sole source of morality and social advancement–has some serious downsides, even according to its own standards.
First off, rationalism makes the assumption that human beings are eventually going to reach a greatly advanced (or even perfect) system of social and moral evolution, in which the human race will achieve an optimum harmony, which we’ll most likely reach through trial and error. But this stance assumes too much of humanity: first, that human beings always remember all information, or that if they don’t, they’ll recognize correct information when they see it. Information is important, because it precedes successful decisions, and its absence from the human thinking process threatens us not only with error, but also with social regression. But we know that humans aren’t omniscient, which is one of the reasons that history tends to repeat itself. And besides the fact that human beings aren’t always working with a full toolbox, we can’t assume that humans are going to accept useful information when it’s right in front of them. After all, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. (more…)