The Evangelical Universalist Forum

The Circle of Reason And the Cycle of Madness

I was thinking of the laws of logic and how they have to be assumed in order to prove their validity. Logic is circular and therefore like the shame cycle leads to madness and psychotic break. When we deny the laws of logic we must assume their validity in the denial and therefore, end up in paradox and mystery. For example. It’s absolutely true that there is no absolute truth. When there is a break in the circle of reason faith arises as there is mystery and paradox. It’s faith beyond reason. Here’s how Chesterton puts it:

The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight. He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland. He has always left himself free to doubt his gods; but (unlike the agnostic of to-day) free also to believe in them. He has always cared more for truth than for consistency. If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them. His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight: he sees two different pictures at once and yet sees all the better for that. Thus he has always believed that there was such a thing as fate, but such a thing as free will also. Thus he believed that children were indeed the kingdom of heaven, but nevertheless ought to be obedient to the kingdom of earth. He admired youth because it was young and age because it was not. It is exactly this balance of apparent contradictions that has been the whole buoyancy of the healthy man. The whole secret of mysticism is this: that man can understand everything by the help of what he does not understand. The morbid logician seeks to make everything lucid, and succeeds in making everything mysterious. The mystic allows one thing to be mysterious, and everything else becomes lucid. The determinist makes the theory of causation quite clear, and then finds that he cannot say “if you please” to the housemaid. The Christian permits free will to remain a sacred mystery; but because of this his relations with the housemaid become of a sparkling and crystal clearness. He puts the seed of dogma in a central darkness; but it branches forth in all directions with abounding natural health. As we have taken the circle as the symbol of reason and madness, we may very well take the cross as the symbol at once of mystery and of health. Buddhism is centripetal, but Christianity is centrifugal: it breaks out. For the circle is perfect and infinite in its nature; but it is fixed for ever in its size; it can never be larger or smaller. But the cross, though it has at its heart a collision and a contradiction, can extend its four arms for ever without altering its shape. Because it has a paradox in its centre it can grow without changing. The circle returns upon itself and is bound. The cross opens its arms to the four winds; it is a signpost for free travellers.

The cycle of shame that led me to psychotic break



When I say reason is a circle I’m not referring to the logical fallacy of vicious circularity.

Bahnsen on Circular Reasoning

by Dr. Lisle | Nov 16, 2018 | Apologetics, Refuting the Critics

We see this circle of madness in the doctrine of eternal punishment. Man sins - God punishes - man sins - God punishes - man sins - God punishes as the cycle intensifies and goes on forever. With faith the shame circle breaks as we have paradox. It’s both mercy and justice in hell. Love and hate. A purifying and consuming fire that breaks the cycle. It’s both/and with paradox.

All will be salted with fire.

It’s the shame spiral that causes one to sin. It’s a cycle of shame, guilt, and anxiety. This is the cycle of reason. When fear or stress hit we go into our head and try to control. Step one is we admit we are powerless over sin. The bondage of sin is the shame spiral. This is the circle of reason. Steps two and three are surrendering and trusting Christ and letting Him have control. Faith goes beyond reason as the cycle breaks. Steps one through three are a surrendering and having faith in Christ. It’s a total acceptance of self as energy is centered and flows outward. We open up as we accept and love. With faith in God we are valuable children of God as surrender and open up in faith. The cycle of reason breaks as we give up control. We let go and let Christ have control.

We depend on and trust in God. We have faith in His reason as we let go and let Christ have control. We are ushered into the circle of love. Shakespeare said love is a madness. The circle of God’s reason is love. No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness. We see this as we are ushered into the circle of the trinity. It’s a good crazy. There is good reason (God’s reason) and bad reason (mans Reason). We trust and rely on the Divine Reason not our own. God’s reason is a circle of love.


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“I do not say we are called upon to dispute and defend the truth with logic and argument, but we are called upon to show by our lives that we stand on the side of truth. But when i say truth, I do not mean opinion. To treat opinion as if that were truth is grievously to wrong the truth. The soul that loves the truth and tries to be true will know when to speak and when to be silent.”

― George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons: Series I, II, III

For the childlike is the divine ~~ George MacDonald, The Child in the Midst

Another quote from “The Child in the Midst” by George MacDonald

The God who is ever uttering himself in the changeful profusions of nature; who takes millions of years to form a soul that shall understand him and be blessed; who never needs to be, and never is, in haste; who welcomes the simplest thought of truth or beauty as the return for seed he has sown upon the old fallows of eternity, who rejoices in the response of a faltering moment to the age-long cry of his wisdom in the streets; the God of music, of painting , of building, the Lord of Hosts, the God of mountains and oceans; whose laws go forth from one unseen point of wisdom, and thither return without an atom of loss; the God of history working in time unto Christianity; this God is the God of little children, and he alone can be perfectly, abandonedly simple and devoted. The deepest, purest love of a woman has its well-spring in him. Our longing desires can no more exhaust the fullness of the treasures of the Godhead than our imagination can touch their measure. Of him not a thought, not a joy, not a hope of one of his creatures can pass unseen; and while one of them remains unsatisfied, he is not Lord over all.


by Diane Adams

My eight-year-old was up a tree in the backyard. It was a clear, cold day. His cheeks were red from the wind and exercise. He called out to me, his voice high with the triumph of reaching the top, “Mom!”, he shouted, “Look at all of this. Now I know why God made the world. He just wants us to have fun in it. Look at it all; it’s made just like a playground with trees to climb and rocks for slides. He gave it to us for us to play in; he wants us to have fun!”.

I wasn’t really having fun, sitting outside halfway watching him, with a million worries in my head, dealing with the reality of living every day with an illness that was tearing my life and body apart. I was not feeling it. I looked up at him, and his eyes were glowing with excitement, his face bent down to see what I would say, hopeful, so innocent and beautifully simple. In that moment, I saw he understood something about God that I did not.

There was a moment of decision, something offered that I could take or to refuse. The simple plan of God, to give us good things, to make us feel loved and happy and excited by all he has done or my own burdened thoughts–the gift of a child’s delight against my adult vision of ‘reality’, cold and expected, hard and painful. I stood up and went over to the tree, turned and looked out, trying to see what he saw.

The wind was tearing over the field in back, bending the branches, ripping at the brown, dying grasses. The sky was crystal blue and endless. I chose to take the gift, to see God in that moment together with my son. I imagined his delight, holding out the world to us, saying with wonder and expectation, “Go on, open it”.

Could it be that God has something of the same heart as the boy in the tree? Is there a God who laughs when the wind blows, rejoices to see his children play, even a God who is not above playing himself? The childlike expectation that the world is a good place, that people are kind, that fun is important, does not come from us alone. It comes from something deep in the fabric of creation, is something every child is born knowing, and it tells us something about the maker himself. No one can create what he does not know.

So it would seem, and so Jesus taught when he told us to become like a child, and so MacDonald understood when he wrote, “God is the God of little children”. The childlike vision is the God-like vision. In the heart of a child is an unbounded playfulness, a joyful freedom from self and the daily expectation of hurts and troubles. Every child knows simply and without the confusion of thought that of course God wants us to play! He made the world like a playground! In his heart there is a joyful conspirator, very much like an eight-year-old, hoping that we will choose the perspective that climbs trees and has fun and shouts to those struggling below, “Look! Look at all of this!”

Reason is good and has it’s purposes but my point is that there are limits to reason. It can only take you so far. I’ve written about this here:

After studying the scriptures for and against Christian universalism I have to say that a good case can be made for it’s rational permissibility from the scriptures. For the scriptures can be taken this way or that way depending on one’s starting point and assumptions on this issue. Our starting point, assumptions, and emotional biases will cause us to explain away those passages that seem to contradict our position. We simply cannot get the view from nowhere. Reason is situated, located, embodied in this person at this time and in this place. It is moved by our biases and emotions to attend to this sort of evidence and to ignore that sort of evidence. From what I can see, if you want universalism to be true then, yes, “the evidence” is perfectly clear and there is much of it. If I believe in bigfoot I see lots of evidence for bigfoot. The trouble is with the prior conviction and how it creates an epistemological filter, literally creates the evidence you want to see. It’s called confirmation bias. Can we show from scripture that universalists are in an epistemically superior position? I don’t know. We don’t have belief independent access to all the factors that condition our acceptance or rejection of all the relevant passages. I know it’s just as reasonable position as the others based on the scripture and the fact of religious diversity and peoples beliefs and the problem of suffering I am forced to say it’s not the only reasonable position but the most reasonable position. Reality forces me to accept it.

Reality forces me to accept some form of Christian Universalism. I also include the arguments from Natural Theology and evidence for the resurrection of Christ. When it’s all said and done I believe Christian universalism is the most reasonable worldview. But there’s more. I’ve also undergone a change in my life at times where a Creator of the universe just seemed real. I lose myself in love. I can look people in the eye and communicate with them now. I haven’t been able to do this my whole life. This along with the other considerations I think I am justified and warranted in believing in a form of Christian Universalism. Like when they had evidence that the earth was round but not absolute proof. When we experienced the spherical earth it then became a fact of knowledge. Just like I have knowledge that I’m drinking a Reign energy drink right now. You don’t have this knowledge but it’s true for me. Alvin Plantinga has developed this. I wrote about it here here:

Alvin Plantinga has developed a model where basic Christian belief can be rational and warranted. I will outline it here. For a better and more in depth treatment see “Warranted Christian Belief”. According to the model humans have fallen into sin and this has disrupted or clouded our awareness of God. It affects not only our rational faculties but our affections as well. They have malfunctioned or are to some degree dysfunctional (some worse than others). When these faculties are functioning properly (the way they ought) we will come to sense God’s presence. Not only from looking at a beautiful sunset but the beautiful Christ in the Gospel as well. When things go as they ought to (according to a design plan) we will love God above all else and our neighbor as our self. The Holy Spirit produces within that firm and certain knowledge (faith) that we are loved by Christ. When held firmly enough these beliefs will constitute knowledge. Because the beliefs and affections are functioning properly according to a design plan successfully aimed at the production of true belief we are justified and rational in holding our beliefs. Plantinga doesn’t claim to argue or prove that God exists or that Christianity is true. These beliefs just rise up within. But FOR THOSE who have changed and love God above all else and their neighbor as their self their beliefs and faith in Christ have warrant FOR THEM and they are rational in holding them. That is, they are functioning properly according to a design plan. God’s design plan. And are therefore rational.