Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Book Review: Rationalism

The word rationalism have been used in so many senses that they cannot be said to stand quite definitely for a particular sense. Empiricist (going by “facts”),  Sensationalist,  Materialistic,  Pessimistic, Irreligious,  Fatalistic,  Pluralistic, and, Skeptical, are some of connotations this word can carry to the general mind, says J. M. Robertson, author of 'Rationalism'.  Rationalism, which broadly, implies the habitual resort to reason, to reflection, and to judgment, should feel uncomfortable with the professed religious beliefs, even of the more educated, he continues. Also, how a rationalist is continuously assailed by cooler attempts to demonstrate that his method will lead to moral harm, with religions becoming the prime opponent in this. 
Further chapters discuss the philosophical questions in this regard. Like, how the defenders of faith, appeal to reason both for arguments against and for supporting rationalism. The special position of 'reason' is then examined. That "no belief whatever concerning life and death and morality and the process of nature can be justified by ‘reason’; and that accordingly no religious belief whatever can be discredited on the score of being opposed to reason".

I liked the views expressed, which are quite logical and thought provoking. Is there a great difference between the rationalist and the religious, the book asks, and so will the reader too. For, "every religion sets aside every other: the rationalist only sets aside one more. Every theist has negated a million Gods save one: the rationalist does but negate the millionth as well." An interesting book, it gave me a lot to think.

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