A matter of Logic
I was in a Reformed Christian Paltalk chat room this week. Paltalk is a voice and text chat arena where individuals can converse with each other. The Christianity section is formed of many views, and a number of them may not be orthodox, so listeners beware.
The particular discussion topic was about how the canon was decided—reaffirmed (in a Catholic vs. Reformed view). During this discussion there was talk about how the Apostle Paul quoted from other texts not from the Bible and the quote was in the Bible. While I was not referring to early thoughts of comparative religions or social-societies, I posted the phrase that “there are truths outside the Bible”. After I had made that statement, a moderator immediately suggested that I automatically ascribed all religions as being fully true (pluralism). Then this person went on to say that my logic was flawed simply due to my statement. Of course they didn’t say how or by what means specifically my logic was flawed.
The discussion went back and forth, I stated it is true that I wear glasses, am legally married and neither of those truths not in the Bible. We can also say that we can hear from God but again that isn’t in the Bible either. I also stated the laws of logic as also true but not articulated within in the Bible, the laws of physics are true but not all are listed within the Bible, the law of non-contradiction is not in the Bible [(per ‘se) and all these laws existed before the Bible]. It should be noted that what I am implying is that there are truths outside the Bible, not that the Bible is false or cannot be utilized for logical arguments. In fact, we can use logic outside the Bible to make our case about the Bible (scriptures or theoretical concepts).
I finally stated what he said is not true because what he said was not in the Bible (no scripture support), and my text input was blocked from that point forward. Their final response was that I was a heretic and I didn’t believe in the Bible. For the record, I never stated I didn’t believe the Bible, in fact, I believe it is true. I guess this person never took the time to view my Paltalk profile which stated my beliefs. Thou shall not bear false witness, amen.
I often hear that some Christians are rather harsh in their judgment. I agree, too many times the fundamentalist Christian (extreme) often paints a picture of a person that is false (bearing false witness) before allowing them to speak. A Christian should be open to reproof, and be open to correctly understand the scriptures and the opposition. If not the person representing the Christian faith does injustice to the faith. The Bible clearly states that we must be open to reproof, not bearing false witness—falsely accusing. The ninth commandment protects against bearing false witness in cases of law or judgments. Nevertheless, I feel that this false witness also would apply to daily Christian values and how we condemn others without proper representation of the accused.
During this Paltalk discussion, there was also someone that stated God created the laws of logic, and that lead to the belittling of anyone that had a college degree. Never mind their strawman argument tactics, let’s focus on the gross oversimplification-false dichotomy tactics. The Bible tells us to test all things, so we will put them to the test within this article.
Let’s look at their [sic] logic
(P1) The Bible is Truth
(P2) Nothing is true outside the Bible (Solo Scriptura)
(C) Therefore, only the Bible is true, nothing true exists outside the Bible.
Premise number 1 (P1) states the Bible is Truth. While I agree that is true and the Bible is self-attesting historically, this is not a sound logical form to create a truthful conclusion by itself. We could agree as Christians it is persuasive but I doubt it would be persuasive on its own without the help of the Holy Spirit.
Premise number 2 (P2) states nothing is true outside the Bible, this is self-defeating. Simply because that statement [nothing is true outside the Bible] is not contained within the Bible, this is self-referential nonsense. Besides what if God spoke or performed some miracles outside the Bible, would that be non-truthful? If the premise (P2) is true, then it must follow that the statement “nothing is true outside the Bible” is false (if-then) and making the premise self-defeating and would have bad logic form.
Looking at the conclusion (C) we know that there is no way that can be true, simply because the conclusion is not within the Bible, besides it’s an inductive circular illogical argument. It is widely known that Inductive arguments always exhibit some quantity or amount of uncertainty. Where as deductive arguments tend to be (more) certain. Sure Christ stated he was the truth, the only way to the Father, but that does not equate to all truths everywhere are solely based upon the Bible. The laws of logic aren’t defined by the Bible, and pre-exist before the Bible.
We also know their logical conclusion is not true because the premises have not been proven on their part (not that I totally disagree with premise number 1). If the Bible is the only truth, then God’s existence was not true before the Bible canon. Rather absurd Christianity in my book if you believe their logic.
(P1) all circles are round, not square
(P2) All squares are square, not round
(C) Therefore, these truths exists outside the Bible
Premise 1 (P1) circles are round, not square we know this is true. Granted, some circles can be elliptical or oblong but they are not squares. Premise 2 (P2) squares are square, not round. Not much thought to reach that premise, I know. Conclusion (C) it is proven by these two premises that truth does exist outside the Bible. Therefore, we can conclude logically that truth does exist outside the Bible unless one wants to become a deconstructionist and redefine the terminology, forms, and definition of circles and squares. Plato covered forms, old news. I hold the Sola Scriptura over the Solo Scriptura view held by this fundamentalist.
With this response not only have I completely defeated the logic of this fundamentalist, they have self-defeated themselves—a double hitter. The laws of logic are not in the Bible but are true and exist outside and existed before the Bible; God also exists outside the Bible and before it was written (according to Christianity). We know that God cannot create a being greater than himself, nor can he create square triangles, all true outside the Bible. Mathematics and science work outside the Bible, let’s not get too carried away by that statement. I would also hold to the belief that the Bible is self-attesting. Lastly, the Bible canon was not completely assembled and compiled together until after Christ. We know that Paul and others did write after Christ left this earth, but according to this hyper-fundamentalist they suggest we knew not of any truth before the Bible was compiled. Surely that also proves to be problematic within their premises as they equate God as the Bible and limited by the Bible canon.
We know that the laws of physics are true and exist outside the Bible; we also know that the laws of logic and non-contradiction are not created, the Bible is created. So when the Bible was not created, God was still alive and still true. We know that God exists not only because of the Bible, but we can know more about him through the Bible. To test all things (as it is written within the Bible) and hold fast to what is good, truth must exist outside the Bible and before the Bible was written. That isn’t to state the Bible is not truth but we know and readily admit truth does exist outside the Bible. We can say things such as; John Adams was the second President of the US (eternally true from this point on) and it is true even though it is not within the Bible. And lastly; it is true you are reading this so you know it is true that you must exist, and so does this text (I think, therefore I am).
God created the laws of Logic?
Let’s make it clear; God did not create the laws of logic or non-contradiction, for if he did they did not exist at one time or another (I am against Cornelius Van Till’s theory of logic being created). Before you thump me over the head with your Bibles, to create something means that at one time it did not exist as we know it or them (i.e. the Bible). To say that God created the laws of logic would have very disastrous implications, don’t fall prey. I believe that the laws of logic are a characteristic of God.
If I were to accept the opposition, to clarify, according to their faulty position and logic, there was a time where these laws did not exist, but we know and define God as infinite no beginning and having no end. Thinking clearly we must state that these laws always existed as a characteristic of God, while not being God (another argument for his existence). Funny thing was this fundamentalist person (and/or someone that agreed with them) stated that God was the logos, if we define that term as logic (as suggested by them) which if that was so—and they believe logic was created—then God (being logic) was created (i.e. Van Till’s suggestion). That is blasphemy and their logic is flawed, fundamentally. How I end up being the heretic, I don’t know but it looks like they may need to take a critical thinking class and a theology class or two. So they believe God was created, I can’t say that is an orthodox view on their part. Lastly, there are many translations of the Bible; I wonder which one they view as truth? Another argument for another time, I suppose.
The problem is that one can become a hyper-fundamentalist, not discerning what is being said, and then jump to random and unfounded faulty non-logical conclusions. Christianity needs nothing to do with this kind of fundamentalist and splinter tactics. A good engineering practice I learned years ago; when in doubt, assume nothing. This also carries over to how we read and understand the text, I hope you can see how a faulty logic system can either allow you to find truth or never really know truth.