Reason is limited by man and his experience. Aside from his creaturehood and sin, man is limited by his finitude. Man cannot experience all the potentialities of his world and there are certain realms he cannot experience at all. Rationalism ascribes to man’s reason unlimited responsibility with limited ability. If reality is at all what Scripture says it to be, however, reason is a valid but limited tool.
Rationalism limits understanding by effectively denying there is a mind greater than man’s…All the collective minds of men of all time could not understand all reality, yet rationalism demands that we limit our thinking to the parameters of human experience and exclude as illegitimate the revelation of God in Scripture.
One’s view of the place of reason is based on one’s view of man. If man is seen in subordination to God, reason will be seen as subject to faith in Him and His revelation of truth and knowledge. If reason is not so limited by faith and revelation it will be seen as superior to both. Any approach which places such an undue reliance on reason will rewrite both its theology and its anthropology to give man preeminence.
My two cents
I couldn’t have put it better myself. While one could read a philosophical journal or encyclopaedia to get similar insights, this quote puts it in easy-to-understand terms for normal people.
I sometimes hear about this philosophical perspective that its proponents label as freethought; it’s a darling of rationalists, skeptics, and so on. It is purported to be free from authority/dogma etc. While it vacates that rented house (and landlord), it then moves to the comfortable circular-shaped prison ward of, well, self-imposed epistemological restrictions.
Seen from that angle, faith offers a wider gamut of both freedom and thought.
Rushdoony, M (2013). “Rationalism: The Sinner’s Big Head” in Faith for All of Life, July/August 2013, p. 3