Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Intuition comes before Evidence, Imagination before Reason, Meaning before Facts

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For me, reason is the natural organ of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning. Imagination, producing new metaphors or revivifying old, is not the cause of truth, but its condition.” C.S Lewis.


So, we need both reason and imagination - but which comes first?

The answer is imagination - because truth must have meaning before it is truth (otherwise it is just decontextualised 'facts').

This is a matter of crucial importance.

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If we are talking about reasons for being a Christian, or for being one kind of Christian rather than another, then we are confronted with external Evidence and our own Intuition - but which comes first?

Most Christians would probably say evidence comes first, but they are wrong: the answer must be intuition is primary.

Because it is only by intuition that we know the validity of reason, and the evidential nature of evidence.

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Evidence cannot support evidence, without obvious circularity (e.g. we cannot coherently use the Bible to prove the evidential validity of the Bible). Intuition must underpin evidence - intuition must underpin whatever it is that we regard as evidence - or else we are simply not making that decision for Christ which we know to be essential to Christianity.

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The validity of intuition - or rather its necessity - implies divine revelation: implies indeed personal divine revelation as the bedrock of Christian faith. Otherwise there is no reason to assume that intuition is at all valid, given that we all know so many instances when intuition is not valid, when it is changeable and has been mistaken: we all know that intuition is fallible.

But validity is not infallibility. Nothing is infallible - but some things are valid.

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Mormonism recognises that there is doctrine given by revelation to prophets, recorded in scripture, and transmitted by the church; but that this ought to be validated (in all significant respects) by personal revelation: for instance personal revelation of the validity of the prophets, scriptures and church authorities.

This recognises that intuition (in the form of personal revelation) is potentially and ideally the strongest, most enduring, most considered and tested basis of Christian faith.

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Christianity should not be afraid of intuition - should not pretend that it can do without intuition; should not be paralysed by the fact that intuition is often - perhaps usually - wrong.

Because there is no alternative to intuition: Intuiting is unavoidably the basis of all Christianity, which is unavoidably a religion of the heart.

As Christians, we just are agents, we just do have choice, and Christ can only be accepted by autonomous intuition.

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It is simply not Christian to accept Christ on the basis of reason, authority, tradition, expediency - or, for that matter, coercion; it is not Christian to accept Christ on the basis of any external factor.

External factors are relevant and very important - but they are secondary.

The bottom line, which is necessary and sufficient, is for each individual to choose Christ in his heart, from within his own resources, because he feels intuitively that Christ is real, true, good and loving.

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Note: The choice of Christ need not be conscious, or at an identifiable moment; often a person may only know that they have-chosen Christ. He or she may not know how, when or why this happened, only that the choice was made. That is enough: it is not necessary to know more.
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