Real World Apologetics

Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by caddy, Jun 1, 2007.

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  1. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    Ok, I told Bob & Rich I would funnel some real world question I get on one of the forums I have frequented for years. I have been trying to answer questions to the best of my ability. The question was posed to me IF I believe the scriptures to be correct because the scriptures say so. My reply and the individual's following are here:

    In its simplest form: Yes


    So, yes, I would say the teaching of Christ in Scripture has self-attesting authority; Christ clearly speaks with the authority of God, is the repository of knowledge, and is subject to no authority or standard more basic than Himself as "the way, the truth, and the life." He alone is adequate to witness to Himself and His word.

    That answer your question?

    Unbeliever's Response:


    So my follow-up question is: do you agree that your reasoning for religion is illogical, that is, your arguments contain several different logical fallacies.

    By the way, I'm not passing any kind of judgment on religion here nor am I giving my opinion. I'm just going according to the common definition of logic. And am also not saying that if something is illogical then it should be rejected. So here we go:

    - Affirming the Consequent, Petitio principii, Circulus in demonstrando
    "The scriptures are the word of God, because the scriptures say so".
    - Appeal to Consequences
    "If you believe in God then you’ll find salvation. Therefore, God exists."
    - Appeal to Antiquity, Argumentum ad antiquitatem
    "Christianity is very old, therefore it is true in some form".
    - Irrelevant Appeals, non sequitur
    "Christians do good deeds, therefore God causes them to do these good deeds".
    - Argument from Ignorance, Argumentum ad ignorantiam, Shifting the burden of proof
    "You can't disprove God. Therefore, God exists".
    - Bifurcation
    "Either God created the universe or it came out of nothing, but since nothing can come from nothing, God must have created it".
    - Argumentum ad verecundiam
    "Einstein belived in God, therefore God exists".

    Look up the definitions of these logical fallacies here, the Wikipedia or any other source. I think you fill find that your arguments fit those descriptions. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if you already knew that the reasoning you present is illogical, but that you're completely ok with that. Am I right?

    Feel free to respond


    This does require that your register, IF you are interested in following the threads in the R&P

    Thanks for the Input in advance
  2. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    You believe the Scriptures are true because you have the Holy Spirit that testifies to it's truth.

    1 John 5:6
    This is he who came by water and blood--Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.

    You believe 1st because of the Spirit. No one that does not have the Spirit will believe the Scriptures.
  3. Greg

    Greg Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'm not sure how your friend read all of those fallacies into your response. What it does sound like, though, is that your friend already has a faith commitment in that he will not allow God to be His own ultimate authority. It sounds like he is saying that you cannot use the Bible to prove the Bible (circular reasoning).

    However, an ultimate authority is, by definition, self-attesting. If you can prove anything by something else, then that is not an ultimate authority. If God is God, and He is ultimate (by the very nature of being God), then what else other than a word from God could attest to the veracity of the Word of God? If there were any other standard (outside of the Word of God) by which we could examine and prove the truthfulness of God's Word, then God would not be ultimate.
  4. Cheshire Cat

    Cheshire Cat Puritan Board Sophomore

    I have no idea why this person thinks that Affriming the consequent equates with begging the question...

    Anyways, I wouldn't have answered yes to the first question. You might argue that the scriptures are the word of God by arguing that morality, induction, etc. (which btw are expressed in scripture) presuppose the Christian worldview.
    There is no way to get the rest of these fallacies out of what you wrote.
  5. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    I think he reads much in through the on going discusssion we are having in the other forum Greg. Yes, he thinks using the Bible and God is circular reasoning.

  6. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    I don't understand why he believes circular reasoning is a bad thing or something that can be avoided. He is working from presuppositions just as you are, are his presuppositions more coherent and sufficient for explaining his conclusions drawn from the same evidence.

    Does he believe in 'belief'? For example, how does he solve the problem of 'other minds'? That is, he knows he has a mind because he can reason that out but how can he be assured that the rest of the world are not automatons. Can he prove with logic that we are not or does he assume and just believe that others are not robots?

    How does he prove with certainty that the future will follow the same rules of the past. Gravity exists today but can he prove it will continue tomorrow? If not then he simply believes based on the evidence and in concert with his presupposition.

    All reasoning is circular. This fellow is arguing from subjective assertions. Christians argue based on historical evidence and the presupposition that God has given us logic and reason to draw conclusions that form real and true Truth.

    Where did this logic come from that he is using to attempt to knock down your argument? Is it the result of chance, a random burp of collective consciousness? He must justify the tools (knowledge and logic) that he is using to argue with you. Where is his justification?
  7. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    Good points Bob. I touched on one or two of these in my response to him. Some of my response is based on this an other post from this individual. I am always encouraged to see what angle you guys would take. I have used some suggestions already. P.Manata was a help on some material a while back:
    Originally Posted by Belzebutt
    Well for one, because it's illogical. I showed you in the other thread how your belief system uses logical fallacies to explain itself. I find that I am more drawn to argument that are logical.


    Good point. Grace and God does have to find you, yet you can read the scriptures at anytime with an open mind and heart, wanting to find the truth. Who is hindering you?

    There is no logical fallacy that says that an ultimate authority is by definition, self-attesting. If God is God, how can one appeal to anything higher? If you can prove anything by something else, then by definition of the thing you just proved that thing is your ultimate authority. For you it might be science, or your own opinion that your brain won't allow you to commit such an egregious error such as believe in a deity.

    As Scripture sees it, the unbeliever has an incorrect diagnosis of his situation and of his own person. The non-Christian thinks that his thinking process is normal. He thinks that his mind is the final court of appeal in ALL matters of knowledge. He takes himself to be the reference point for ALL interpretation of the facts. That is, he has epistemologically become a law unto himself: autonomous.

    Greg Bahnsen has stated that because the unbeliver cannot rid himself of a knowledge of God, because he continues to use the "borrowed capital" of theistic truths, he is enabled to come to a limited understanding of the truth about the world and himself--despite, not because of, his attempted autonomy.

    In other words autonomy and understanding are mutually exclusive. Because we are all fallen creatures, we won't see God or have anything to do with Him unless He first sees us. We are corrupt to the core. As Proverbs would state, "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes." ( Proverbs 12:15). The fool has utter self-confidence and imagines himself to be intellecturally autonomous. "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool" ( Porverbs 28:26). A fool cannot think of himself as mistaken ( Proverbs 17:10 ). He judges matters according to his own pre-established standards of truth and right, and thus his own thoughts always turn out in the long run to be correct. The fool is sure that he can rely on his own rational authority and intellectual scrutiny. "The fool beareth himself insolently and is confident" (Proverbs 14:16), and therefore he utters his own mind ( Proverbs 29:11).

    Originally Posted by Belzebutt
    This is where you confuse people: on one hand you claim that you want to help us share your grace, and on the other hand you say that the grace has to find US and there is nothing we can do about. Which is it. Does God CHOOSE us, or do we choose to read the scriptures and believe? Again, this is a logical fallacy.


    Not my argument, Gods. They are not my words, but His. God reserves the right to do with His creation as He wills according to Romans 9. I understand you are not fond of it. God is God. He will not apologize to you for being who He is and stating the rules.

    Tell me exactly why forgiveness is a logical fallacy? Are morals also a logical fallacy? Where do they come from? Are they innate, and if so, from where are the derived? Can we find them in a microscope or spot them on a ctscan? If we are created out of disorder and chaos, we are merely meat machines--bags of chemicals. Yet you probably don't treat your girlfriend or wife like a bag of chemicals.

    ...and what do you accept as evidence of what is real or logical? What is your theory of proof for believing or understanding what you believe? Should I know? I have stated this before: what if you said that the only way someone can prove something is IF a little pink fairy whispers sweet nothings in to their ear. On that standard I could not give you any evidence.

    When I state that I have faith and that there are absolutes and an ultimate authority it seems to trouble you. Are you saying that if a belief has no evidence then it's not rational or logical? Well, what is your evidence for that belief? And...when you give it to me would you tell me what your evidence for your evidence of your original belief is? ...and, well, you get the point. As philosophers know, the evidentialist constraint ends in an infinite regress.

    Originally Posted by Belzebutt
    Again, when you talk about forgiveness, you're using a logical fallacy. Your argument is that if we do not accept your argument, we are going to suffer consequences (we will not be forgiven).


  8. Cheshire Cat

    Cheshire Cat Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'm willing to bet that this guy has never even read through a logic textbook.
  9. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    I'm betting that he has (see below) and he keeps quoting the same lines over and over and over and over (ad infinitum).

  10. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    This is the point where I am completely honest in saying--neither have I !





    Originally Posted by caleb_woodrow [​IMG]
    I'm willing to bet that this guy has never even read through a logic textbook.

  11. puritan lad

    puritan lad Puritan Board Freshman

    I would follow in the footsteps of Greg Bahnsen. Ask him how he can account for the laws of logic in a meterialist worldview. How can any law of logic or reason hold any significance beyond the brain cells that created them? If he uses logic to prove the laws of logic, he is involved in circular reasoning. If he uses any other method to prove the laws of logic, he is being illogical.

    It is the mind of God that is the source for logic.
  12. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior


  13. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    I've always liked Sidney Harris' approach as illustrated in this famous comic.

  14. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    Ok Guys:

    I haven't even read this yet, don't have time right at this moment, so I thought I would post his next reply here. Please feel free to address his concerns:

    I want to answer your questions but since I can only post in relatively short chunks I will concentrate on a single threat for now, if that's ok. Let's come back to the rest in a bit and try to take it one argument at a time.

    Now, from your reply, I will make the assumption that you agree that your argument "the scriptures are the word of God, because the scriptures say so" is a circular argument (Circulus in demonstrando). So your argument now is that first I should explain why that's a bad thing, and second, prove that I'm not also using circular arguments.

    First, I will talk about your argument. Since you use many logical fallacies to support your position (circular reasoning is only the major one), your arguments fit the definition of "illogical". Again, it is not my opinon, look it up in the dictionary, your arguments fit the dictionary and encyclopedia definition of illogical since they use logical fallacies. It's not my logic, or a particular flavour of logic, it's the logic that you are pitted against here. If you want to start inventing a new definition of logic here where circular arguments are a good thing, that would be like the Buffalo Sabres inventing a new kind of Stanely cup where all the teams that get eliminated in the semi-fianals get to win the cup. So please, let's just agree first that we're using the same vocabulary here. [​IMG]

    So your argument is illogical, because you're using logical fallacies to support it. Furthermore, by some definitions of "reason" your argument could be not be considered "reasonable" or "rational' because it is not in accordance with logic.

    Now, obviously you're free to take an illogical position all you want. I do it all the time, for example this morning I didn't want to be late to work and yet I surfed the internet for a bit before leavning for work. I made myself more late for work because my emotional mind really wanted to look up Facebook, all the while I knew this was an illogical course of action since my first priority was to not be late for work. So I did something unreasonable.


    The second part of your question was "why should this be avoided". Well, it makes your argument weak. If you want to convince someone, a strong way of arguing is that you both agree on A, then your argument is "A, therefore B". If the link between A and B is strong, then you will convince people that B is true because you already agreed A was true. In your case, the link is strong (it does say in the Bible that it is the word of God), but your A and B are the same. And since you and I never agree that A is a fact, then you're just using a disputed claim to justify a disputed claim. Do you see now why a circular argument is a bad thing?

    Now your other point was "why do I claim that I'm not using a circular argument". Well, it's up to you to show me that I'm not using a circular argument if you're really convinced that I am, because I don't think I am. Remember, I am NOT starting with the presupposition that God does not exist or that the bible is not the word of God. Those are complex concepts that I don't personally think are conclusively proven or disproven. I try to only start from simple concepts, from an "A" that you and I can both agree on. Do you agree with me that when you throw a rock up in the air, it comes down? That's the kind of "A" scientific arguments start with.
  15. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    His addition:

    What is this God thing? Start from principles that you can show to every single person on this earth and they will see it just as you see it. Like I said, you throw a rock into the air, it falls down. You put something in the water, it gets wet. Not only that, you've already told me that NO ONE knows the nature of God, therefore you do not know the nature of God. So why are you telling me all these things about God? You're simply quoting scriptures, so our argument is about scriptures, not about God.
    There's two ways of arguing:
    1) You start from things that the other person already agrees on, that you can both see and understand. THEN you build on that.
    2) You tell the other person "I know I'm right, just believe me".
    You pick #2. I strive to use #1, and I find it more convincing personally.

    Plato's brain cells created them, and billions of different brain cells still use them and understand them later. And before you say that it's "just braincells", tell me, if there was not a single person left on earth to add 2+2, would it still equal 4?

    So what you're saying is, I need to prove to you that the #1 above is more convincing than the #2 above?
    Are you saying you don't agree that method #1 above (starting from a common understanding based on common observations) is a more convincing approach?

    This last part is just another logical fallacy. You present a false choice of "they just exist, or God created them, and since I personally think it's absurd that they just exist, then God must have created them". Saying "I think it's absurd" is a very weak argument.

    I'm glad we have at least agreed that your arguments supporting religion are illogical. I think what we're arguing now is the validity of logic itself. That should be interesting.
  16. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    To be honest Steven, I would have bid this fellow a good day long ago. HE is a logical fallacy. You need to ask him what kind of argument would satisfy him as to the existence of the God of the Bible. He speaks of 2 + 2 = 4 as if that is something you can see or touch. I asked my daughter to show me a two and she drew the symbol for a 2 on a paper. I tore it up and threw it away and told her that 2 no longer exists. She realized quickly that creation is filled with things that cannot be seen, touched or proven and yet we assume their place.

    So ask him what argument he would need to see and then determine whether that kind of proof can be given or does his own presuppositions prevent him from certain theistic conclusions regardless of your argument.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2007
  17. Greg

    Greg Puritan Board Sophomore

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