Thursday, July 22, 2010

Living, Logical, and Sufficient

On the contrary, my object, and my only object, is to bring reason and belief into the closest harmony that at present seems practicable. And if you thereupon reply that such a statement is by itself enough to prove that I am no ardent lover of reason; if you tell me that it implies, if not permanent contentment, at least temporary acquiescence in a creed imperfectly rationalised, I altogether deny the charge. So far as I am concerned, there is no acquiescence. Let him that thinks otherwise show me a better way. Let him produce a body of beliefs which shall be at once living, logical, and sufficient;—not forgetting that it cannot be sufficient unless it includes within the circuit of its doctrines some account of itself regarded as a product of natural causes, nor logical unless it provides a rational explanation of the good fortune which has made causes which are not reasons, mixed, it may be, with causes which are not good reasons, issue in what is, by hypothesis, a perfectly rational system. He who is fortunate enough to achieve all this may trample as he likes upon less successful inquirers.

Arthur Balfour, Theism and Humanism, Lecture V

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