Is logic foreign to the New Testament? Is it a field of study we should reserve for the philosophers and let the theologians be by themselves? Of course not! Logic is logic and works in every field of reality. If God is the God of Truth, then we should expect to see Him, the inventor of logic, using logic. Humans didn’t invent logic, we simply use it, name it, and study it. Today I want to look at a few examples of Informal Logical Fallacies and how the Bible actually uses these principles correctly.
The Law of Non-Contradiction
- It states, “Two contradictory statements cannot possibly be true at the same time and in the same relationship.”
- For example, you couldn’t say, “The Earth is round and not round.”
- This law is fundamental to thinking. You cannot have a conversation without it. We all use it intuitively. If someone denies this law, then you can point out they are actually using it right now. What do I mean? If I were to say, “There is a Law of Non-Contradiction,” and someone said, “No there is not” then they would be contradicting me to say there is none!!!
- 1st John 2:4 says, “The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” John states it is a contradiction to profess to know Christ and yet not obey him. You cannot do both at the same time.
- This law points out the fallacy when we jump to a conclusion without sufficient data. We extrapolate from a small sample to create a general rule.
- People/Organizations formulate rules or policies from accidental or exceptional situations.
- For example…When the youth group has an overnighter, and someone breaks a window. The Church will then make a rule that we can never have another overnighter because they are destructive to the Church building.
- Biblical Example…Someone reads a story of God destroying Sodom/Gomorrah and concludes He is a wrathful and mean God. They did not collect enough data to balance God’s characteristics.
- If hasty generalizations go from a small sample to a general rule dicto simpliciter is when you presume that what is true in general, under normal circumstances, is true under all circumstances without exception.
- For example…The speed limit on the highway is 65 mph in Maryland. But police cars exceed that speed all the time. Well, they are not under normal circumstances if they are chasing an armed robber or responding to a call for help.
- Biblical Example…I read an article a few years ago which denied that Enoch and Elijah were translated directly to heaven. What was their basis? Romans 5:12 which says, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” Their reasoning was this; If death spread to all men, then Enoch & Elijah couldn’t have circumvented death. The author was guilty of the dicto simpliciter fallacy for the Bible clearly says that a whole group of people are going to escape physical death if they are Christians when the Lord returns.
The Reductive Fallacy
- This fallacy occurs when we attempt to reduce a complex entity to only one of its many aspects
- Keywords that are generally used for this fallacy are “just,” “only,” “merely,” “simply,” “nothing but.”
- For example…”Man is just an animal” or “Music is nothing but sound waves.” These states hold truth but not the whole truth. Man is more than just an animal and music is more than sound waves. My burp is a sound wave, but it surely isn’t music.
- Biblical Example…Have you ever heard someone say, “God is love”? Would you agree or disagree? I guess as is we could agree with the statement but I might disagree with the intent behind the statement. When people use this phrase most of the time what they are really attempting to say is that “God is only love.” But God is also Holy. There is a balance to His nature (Romans 11:22).
The Church needs to be wary of using logical fallacies in our theology. If we want good theology, we need to use good logic. Can you think of better biblical examples than what I used?
For more articles like 4 Informal Logical Fallacies & Biblical Examples go to Billy’s website at DyerThoughts.com
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