Friday, December 16, 2011

Louis Ruggiero debate on Paltalk with Muslim25

My thoughts of the debate--what I sent to Lou Rugg in an email.

I believe that you had the more convincing argument hands down on the debate of did Jesus claim he was God (against Muslim25_15 on December 4, 2010). I believe the strict qualifications were to only utilize Jesus’ words in proving his deity claims. I do not think it was fair to disqualify all other NT or OT writings, but I guess that is where Muslim25 and I differ on collecting all evidence to make a case.
I was able to listen to most of the debate from the beginning. I hope I represent Muslim25 accurately in my reply. A few points that I noticed from Muslim25_15 were:
First, you posted Tawheed Al-Asma’ wa Sifaat - Belief in the Names and Attributes of Allah. Muslim25 stated that the significance of Jesus claiming to be first and last—as this having no real meaning. He went on to state that this only meant that Jesus first of his kind, but didn’t answer what the term “last” meant (prophet, messiah, etc). If he is saying the first profit, we know this is not true, and if he meant Jesus was the last profit, I think we would agree. If the term “the first and the last” is of no significance then Sura 57:3 “He is the First and the Last, the Outward and the Inward; He has knowledge of everything” would have disastrous implications for Allah as well. I believe Muslim25 failed to see the equivalence of Jesus making the same claim. I believe that this is due to his Islamic worldview, and of course the absence of the Holy Spirit on his part. Jesus is still alive when the book of Revelation was written even Muslims would agree that Jesus is still alive. Muslim25 stated the book of Revelation was written by man, to that I say all historical text was written by men (except for the 10 commandments in stone) and some inspired by God. All copies we have of the originals are written by man, and all copies of the Qur’an are also by man. I failed to see how Muslim25 has disproven the book of Revelation quote.
Second, Muslim25 agreed Jesus was the Messiah, but failed to explain why there was a need for a Messiah. What did the OT sacrifices mean; I believe Muslim25 failed to answer that question completely; in fact he resorted to mere hand waiving.  In Matthew 9:2 Just then some people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Have courage, son! Your sins are forgiven.” 9:3 Then some of the experts in the law said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming!”. I think we know the implication here about Jesus’ authoritative claims that he can forgive sin. I think Muslim25 failed to explain the need for blood sacrifices in Judaism. Why God would change from blood sacrifices as atonement for sin ending with Christ’s sacrifice then changing his (Allah) his mind to just use 5 prayers a day on a rug really baffles me. If Jesus is the only way to the Father, as he stated, then I would think we have no need for Muhammad.  Perhaps the Muslims think God does change his mind about sin and atonement and blood covenants. I don’t know.
Third, Muslim25 asked for explicit claims:
1.       Where in the bible did Jesus claim to be god?
2.       Where in the bible did Jesus ask to be worshipped?
3.       Where did Jesus say I am God Manifested in flesh?
4.       Where did Jesus mention the original sin?
5.       Where did Jesus say I am God the Son?
6.       Where did Jesus say that I am God the Word?
7.       Where did Jesus say I am the Second God in Trinity?
8.       Where did Jesus Mention word Trinity?
9.       Where did Jesus Say Father, Son and Holy Spirit Those three are one?
10.   Where Did Jesus Claim to have two natures?
11.   Where did Jesus claim that he is One in Essence With the Father ?
12.   Where Did Jesus claim that he Is YHWH ?
13.   Where Did Jesus claim that he is the Creator ?
14.    When Jesus Will be God ?

I believe that the doctrine of the Trinity is derived by the use of abductive (explanatory hypothesis) logic, much like the scientific method and also how we compile a murder trial case. I also believe that Jesus made implicit claims that were clear to Jews (claiming he and the Father were one and them wanting to stone him), but when speaking in parables I do believe it was for a specific reason, one of them being he had a ministry to perform during his short time. Jesus making explicit claims would have shortened his ministry time simply because if he came out directly on whom he was before the heavens were created early onset, the crucifixion would have taken place earlier.

Muslim25’s qualms for explicit (albeit, some of Jesus’ claims were) details about the Trinity are unwarranted in my opinion, simply because the concept of the Trinity would have most likely been new to Jews and would have most likely created a stumbling block during his ministry. While we believe the Trinity is the conclusion about God’s nature, we can also agree that there were problems within the early church when discussing the Trinity (gross misrepresentations from sects confusing pagan terminology and worldviews such as Mariamites). I do believe most of the 14 questions Muslim25 had asked you answered. We know that question #7 from Muslim25; Jesus is not the second God in the Trinity (which would be tritheism, a heretical claim), and we know that Jesus cannot become God as God has no beginning, that question #14 is moot. This only goes to show that Muslim25 has no working knowledge of the Trinity concept. Jesus’ claims were implicit, not explicit. Implicature is an aspect of meaning which is not stated, but one can reasonably take to be intended via the context of the writing.  I honestly believe and could easily prove that this was a rhetorical device that Jesus utilized within his ministry.
Fourth, Jesus stated in John 2:19 Jesus replied, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.”(cf. John 2:19 + Acts 10:40 + Romans 8:11 = Trinity) So how does one resurrect himself when he is dead? How is that possible for a mere man to have this capability when he is dead? How can Jesus make such claim? Sure, the Muslims will state he was not crucified, but Jesus still made this claim before the crucifixion and the Muslims tend to utilize pseudepigraphal writings to base their conclusions about the crucifixion not taking place despite those writings having clear errors internally within (historically). Apparently, Jesus has more power than Muhammad did, Muhammad could not raise himself, nor could Muhammad have made such a claim.
Fifth, Muslim25 (and other Muslims) speak about scribal errors incorrectly misrepresenting textual criticism methodologies. I noticed the utilization of NIV, and KJV in this debate. However, Muslim25 failed in his arguments because Muhammad was killed in or around 632AD. Neither the NIV or KJV was written before this time; in fact the earliest manuscript utilized for the KJV was around the 12th century if I am not mistaken. What Muslim25 should have done was concede simply because he needs to show corruption in great detail within the manuscript copies we now have (and continue to find) that pre-date 632AD. If the scribes have corrupted the scripture as Muhammad claimed, Muslims will need to document proof utilizing manuscript and patristic writings up until 632AD. The scribal errors that took place in the KJV manuscripts cannot be utilized to prove Muhammad’s claims, period. The Muslims have much work to be performed in this area, and they often do not tell the whole story about the scribal errors that took place before the Gutenberg printing press.
Sixth, Muslim25 claimed the writing occurred centuries later when speaking about the book of Revelation. To my knowledge no one has really contested the 95AD date of the writing. Besides, that would be decades, not centuries concerning when the writing occurred. This was an oral tradition culture during the period of Christ, yes; they did have writings however we must also know that their social-culture was much different than ours today. Jesus was alive in 95AD Muslims and Christians agree.

Conclusion, I doubt anyone had a conversion of faith to Islam/Muslim. Muslim25 really needs to learn how to create more sound, valid, and cogent arguments for his proofs. I respect the Muslims but often find their claims about their knowledge of logic not well grounded. I don’t mean that to sound harsh but quite a number of the arguments posited by Muslims are rather weak, not to say there are not strong arguments by some Muslims outside of Paltalk.
I think you did a fantastic job in answering the questions from Muslim25 and other within the room. I did take note that most of the questions were for you and not Muslim25, and that probably was for a good reason as you answered with more evidences not mere hand waving. My Christian faith is just as strong today as it was yesterday.
Thank you for conducting this debate.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Was Judas really on the cross?

                                                        PIN THE MAN ON THE CROSS                                              Was Judas really on the Cross?
D. Adams

Through the diligent study of the Christian faith, one cannot perform much research without drudging across the counter-claims against Christianity in our modern society. Some of these claims often seem so preposterous that it would seem inconceivable for anyone to arrogate them as historically accurate. However, within our postmodern culture there seems to be a credo where faux carries the same equivalent as fact, fiction becomes fact, and truth becomes flimflammer. With the ever growing popularity of the internet—this only pushes the envelope where any writer can claim to be a well versed scholar, yet have no credentials or credibly reliable sources. In this article, we will exam the claims of whether Judas was the one on the Cross at Calvary, and we will show the grounds as to why some would think so, and our replies as to why we do not think so. We will let the reader decide based upon our findings.

This article will answer the pseudo-hallucination accordingly. We will be comparatively looking the sources of The Gospel of Barnabas and the Epistles of Barnabas a little later in this article. Quite often, these two writings are confused as being from the same pseudo-author of Barnabas. Let us start with our line of reasoning:

De facto Statements:

  1. Judas was never mentioned in the Epistles of Barnabas (translations researched thus far).
  2. The epistles of Barnabas date from 80-120AD.
  3. The Gospel of Barnabas are believed to be a 16th century forgery by most (if not all) scholars.
  4. The two writings from the apparent same author (Barnabas) contradict each other about who is on the cross.
  5. Muhammad is only mentioned in The Gospel of Barnabas
  6. Barnabas was never mentioned as one of the twelve disciples in the Gospels, we only hear of him in Acts.
  7. No early church father ever quoted from The Gospel of Barnabas
  8. The Gospel of Barnabas also contradicts the Qur’an

I. Judas was never mentioned in the Epistles of Barnabas.
From the Epistles of Barnabas (much earlier writings) there is no single mention of Judas. While we have not exhausted every translation, we have not been able to find any mention of Judas as being on a cross either. The alleged writer of this Epistle is suspected to have been an Alexandrian Jew of the times of Trajan and Hadrian. This layman possibly bore the name of Barnabas for purposes that may attribute to its authenticity. This could have also been a ploy to show Barnabas as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Typical Pseudepigrapha writings gave names of the Apostles or popular names used in the NT writings in the hopes that they would be automatically adopted authentic and grounds for accepting into the canon. The epistles of Barnabas and the Gospel of Barnabas would fit under this premise.
II. The Date of the Epistle of Barnabas
There seems to be a belief held by many scholars dating this writing from 80-200AD. Suffice it to say some have completely went off the beaten track and confused the Epistle from the Gospel of Barnabas without reading both texts in juxtaposition. The website makes a quote that states the Gospel of Barnabas as being accepted as a Canonical Gospel until 325AD. Unfortunately, they may have confused the Epistle of Barnabas with the Gospel of Barnabas which is very dissimilar in their writings and theology. They state on their home page:

“The Gospel of Barnabas was accepted as a Canonical Gospel in the Churches of Alexandria till 325 C.E. In 325 C.E., the Nicene Council was held, where it was ordered that all original Gospels in Hebrew script should be destroyed. An Edict was issued that any one in possession of these Gospels will be put to death.” [1]

“It is known that it (the Gospel of Barnabas) was being circulated in the first and second centuries after the birth of Jesus from the writings of Iranaeus (130-200 A.D.), who wrote in support of the Divine Unity. He opposed Paul whom he accused of being responsible for the assilation of the pagan Roman religion and Platonic philosophy into the original teaching of Jesus. He quoted extensively from the Gospel of Barnabas in support of his views.” (Rahim, p. 41)

*It should be noted that the Gospel of Barnabas (Epistles) and Gospel of Bartholomew are condemned in the decree of Pope Gelasius (492-496) Decretum Gelasianum. However, this is not the same Gospel of Barnabas that the Muslims have laid their claims to. The synod of Sirmium was called together by Constantius Caesar the son of Constantine. I have not seen any Edicts in the Council of Nicea where anyone was ordered to be put to death for anyone possessing apocryphal writings.

Examining these claims
Let’s look at what we know about the canonical Gospel from the earliest canons. Looking at the early NT canons, we have the following.

·         Marcion (c. 140) excluded the entire OT and included only Luke (except Chap. 1 and 2) and the Pauline epistles (excluding the Pastoral Epistles).

·         Muratorian Canon (170 A.D.) attests to all the books of the NT except Hebrews, James, and 1 & 2 Peter.

·         Athanasius, a fourth-century bishop of Alexandria, sent out a cyclical letter affirming the 27 books of the NT (367 A.D.). This is the first formal attestation to our current canon.

·         Council of Hippo (393 A.D.) and Council of Carthage (397 A.D.) both affirmed our current Protestant NT canon. They forbade claiming any other writing as Scripture.

·         In Eusebius of Caesarea (c.324), the Epistle of Barnabas is not accepted. The same with the Shepherd of Hermas

·         Codex Charomontanus (c. 400) The Epistle of Barnabas is accepted. The same with the Shepherd of Hermas

There is no list of the Gospel of Barnabas or Epistles of Barnabas in the Marcion canon, the Muratorian Canon, or the Councils of Hippo or Carthage. The Epistles of Barnabas the dates range from 80-120AD ( There are no known copies of the Gospel of Barnabas among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The newadvent states:

“The history of the epistle confirms its Alexandrine origin. Up to the fourth century only the Alexandrians were acquainted with it, and in their Church the epistle attained to the honour of being publicly read. The manner in which Clement of Alexandria and Origen refer to the letter gives confirmation to the belief that, about the year A.D. 200, even in Alexandria the Epistle of Barnabas was not regarded by everyone as an inspired writing.” [2]

Cyril Glassé, The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam writes:

“As regards the "Gospel of Barnabas" itself, there is no question that it is a medieval forgery ... It contains anachronisms which can date only from the Middle Ages and not before, and shows a garbled comprehension of Islamic doctrines, calling the Prophet the "Messiah", which Islam does not claim for him. Besides it farcical notion of sacred history, stylistically it is a mediocre parody of the Gospels, as the writings of Baha Allah are of the Koran. (Cyril Glassé, The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1989, p. 65, [Emphasis mine])”

Muhammad Ata ur-Rahim makes the statement that the Gospel of Barnabas (deemed as 16th century writing) was accepted into the canon; however, there is no record of this because the writing was not in circulation at the time of the Council of Nicea. I cannot find any mention of this Gospel in the decree of the Council of Nicea. The Council of Nicea was not assembled to form any Gospel canon (as written inspired writings) but the canon that is being referred to as the Church laws. The Bishops go on to articulate the first creedal statement (mutual agreement) on the nature of who Christ was. I cannot be sure where Muhammad Ata ur-Rahim has obtained his information, for there are no references to be found. At this point, we will have to suggest that ur-Rahim is speaking out of thin air. For one to even suggest that a single writing would outflank the bulk of NT manuscripts, the various amounts of copies, and patristic writings is complete onionskin scholarship. Out of the twenty edicts issued within the Council of Nicea, none of them is in reference to any Gospel writings. The Council of Nicea is publicly available for anyone to research.

Here is the summary list of the 20 edicts/Canon from the Council of Nicea (Canon-Church laws) from Wiki-pedia:
1. Prohibition of self-castration; (Sorry Origen)
2. Establishment of a minimum term for catechumen;
3. Prohibition of the presence in the house of a cleric of a younger woman who might bring him under suspicion;
4. Ordination of a bishop in the presence of at least three provincial bishops and confirmation by the metropolitan;
5. Provision for two provincial synods to be held annually;
6. Exceptional authority acknowledged for the bishops of Alexandria and Rome, for their respective regions;
7. Recognition of the honorary rights of the see of Jerusalem;
8. Provision for agreement with the Novatianists;
9–14. Provision for mild procedure against the lapsed during the persecution under Licinius;
15–16. Prohibition of the removal of priests;
17. Prohibition of usury among the clergy;
18. Precedence of bishops and presbyters before deacons in receiving Holy Communion, the Eucharist;
19. Declaration of the invalidity of baptism by Paulian heretics;
20. Prohibition of kneeling during the liturgy, on Sundays and in the fifty days of Eastertide ("the Pentecost"). Standing was the normative posture for prayer at this time, as it still is among the Eastern Orthodox. (In time, Western Christianity adopted the term Pentecost to refer to the last Sunday of Eastertide, the fiftieth day.)

New Advent website defines the 20 Canons (Church Laws) as:
  • Canon 1: On the admission, or support, or expulsion of clerics mutilated by choice or by violence.
  • Canon 2: Rules to be observed for ordination, the avoidance of undue haste, the deposition of those guilty of a grave fault.
  • Canon 3: All members of the clergy are forbidden to dwell with any woman, except a mother, sister, or aunt.
  • Canon 4: Concerning episcopal elections.
  • Canon 5: Concerning the excommunicate.
  • Canon 6: Concerning patriarchs and their jurisdiction.
  • Canon 7: confirms the right of the bishops of Jerusalem to enjoy certain honours.
  • Canon 8: concerns the Novatians.
  • Canon 9: Certain sins known after ordination involve invalidation.
  • Canon 10: Lapsi who have been ordained knowingly or surreptitiously must be excluded as soon as their irregularity is known.
  • Canon 11: Penance to be imposed on apostates of the persecution of Licinius.
  • Canon 12: Penance to be imposed on those who upheld Licinius in his war on the Christians.
  • Canon 13: Indulgence to be granted to excommunicated persons in danger of death.
  • Canon 14: Penance to be imposed on catechumens who had weakened under persecution.
  • Canon 15: Bishops, priests, and deacons are not to pass from one church to another.
  • Canon 16: All clerics are forbidden to leave their church. Formal prohibition for bishops to ordain for their diocese a cleric belonging to another diocese.
  • Canon 17: Clerics are forbidden to lend at interest.
  • Canon 18: recalls to deacons their subordinate position with regard to priests.
  • Canon 19: Rules to be observed with regard to adherents of Paul of Samosata who wished to return to the Church.
  • Canon 20: On Sundays and during the Paschal season prayers should be said standing.

GOB in circulation?
Rahim goes on state that it is known that it (the Gospel of Barnabas) was being circulated in the first and second centuries after the birth of Jesus from the writings of Iranaeus (130-200 A.D.).

Rahim makes several claims but will not provide any evidence for it. He claims the early church theologian, Irenaeus, quoted the gospel of Barnabas as he opposed the Apostle Paul. When this claim is investigated, it is found to be false. The writings of Irenaeus are readily available online. [3]
Irenaeus writes:
(God) at first narrated the formation of the world in these words: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"(Genesis 1:1) and all other things in succession; but neither gods nor angels [had any share in the work]. Now, that this God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Paul the apostle also has declared, [saying,] "There is one God, the Father, who is above all, and through all things, and in us all" (Ephesian 4:6). I have indeed proved already that there is only one God; but I shall further demonstrate this from the apostles themselves, and from the discourses of the Lord (Jesus). (Irenaeus Against Heresies) [4]

Let’s examine some of the quotes from the Epistles and compare them to the Gospel writings.

Here are a few quotes from the Epistle of Barnabas:

Barnabas 12:5
Again Moses maketh a type of Jesus, how that He must suffer, and that He Himself whom they shall think to have destroyed shall make alive in an emblem when Israel was falling. For the Lord caused all manner of serpents to bite them, and they died (forasmuch as the transgression was wrought in Eve through the serpent), that He might convince them that by reason of their transgression they should be delivered over to the affliction of death.

Barnabas 12:7
When therefore they were assembled together they entreated Moses that he should offer up intercession for them that they might be healed. And Moses said unto them; Whensoever, said he, one of you shall be bitten, let him come to the serpent which is placed on the tree, and let him believe and hope that the serpent being himself dead can make alive; and forthwith he shall be saved. And so they did. Here again thou hast in these things also the glory of Jesus, how that in Him and unto Him are all things.

Barnabas 12:10
Behold again it is Jesus, not a son of man, but the Son of God, and He was revealed in the flesh in a figure. Since then men will say that Christ is the son of David, David himself prophesieth being afraid and understanding the error of sinners; The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on My right hand until I set thine enemies for a footstool under Thy feet.

Barnabas 14:5
But He was made manifest, in order that at the same time they might be perfected in their sins, and we might receive the covenant through Him who inherited it, even the Lord Jesus, who was prepared beforehand hereunto, that appearing in person He might redeem out of darkness our hearts which had already been paid over unto death and delivered up to the iniquity of error, and thus establish the covenant in us through the word.

Barnabas 14:5
But He was made manifest, in order that at the same time they might be perfected in their sins, and we might receive the covenant through Him who inherited it, even the Lord Jesus, who was prepared beforehand hereunto, that appearing in person He might redeem out of darkness our hearts which had already been paid over unto death and delivered up to the iniquity of error, and thus establish the covenant in us through the word.

Barnabas 15:9
Wherefore also we keep the eighth day for rejoicing, in which also Jesus rose from the dead, and having been manifested ascended into the heavens.

Barnabas 2:6
These things therefore He annulled, that the new law of our Lord Jesus Christ, being free from the yoke of constraint, might have its oblation not made by human hands.

Barnabas 6:9
But what saith knowledge? Understand ye. Set your hope on Him who is about to be manifested to you in the flesh, even Jesus. For man is earth suffering; for from the face of the earth came the creation of Adam.

Barnabas 7:9
What then meaneth this? Give heed. The one at the alter, and the other accursed. And moreover, the accursed one crowned. For they shall see Him in that day wearing the long scarlet robe about His flesh, and shall say, Is not this He, Whom once we crucified and set at nought and spat upon; verily this was He, Who then said that He was the Son of God.

Barnabas 7:10
For how is He like the goat? For this reason, it says the goats shall be fair and alike, that, when they shall see Him coming then, they may be astonished at the likeness of the goat. Therefore behold the type of Jesus that was to suffer.

Barnabas 7:11
But what meaneth it, that they place the wool in the midst of the thorns? It is a type of Jesus set forth for the Church, since whosoever should desire to take away the scarlet wool it behoved him to suffer many things owing to the terrible nature of the thorn, and through affliction to win the mastery over it. Thus, He saith, they that desire to see Me, and to attain unto My kingdom, must lay hold on Me through tribulation and affliction.

Barnabas 7:11
But what meaneth it, that they place the wool in the midst of the thorns? It is a type of Jesus set forth for the Church, since whosoever should desire to take away the scarlet wool it behoved him to suffer many things owing to the terrible nature of the thorn, and through affliction to win the mastery over it. Thus, He saith, they that desire to see Me, and to attain unto My kingdom, must lay hold on Me through tribulation and affliction.

Barnabas 8:1
But what think ye meaneth the type, where the commandment is given to Israel that those men, whose sins are full grown, offer an heifer and slaughter and burn it, and then that the children take up the ashes, and cast them into vessels, and twist the scarlet wool on a tree (see here again is the type of the cross and the scarlet wool), and the hyssop, and that this done the children should sprinkle the people one by one, that they may be purified from their sins?

Barnabas 8:2
Understand ye how in all plainness it is spoken unto you; the calf is Jesus, the men that offer it, being sinners, are they that offered Him for the slaughter. After this it is no more men (who offer); the glory is no more for sinners.

Barnabas 14:5
But He was made manifest, in order that at the same time they might be perfected in their sins, and we might receive the covenant through Him who inherited it, even the Lord Jesus, who was prepared beforehand hereunto, that appearing in person He might redeem out of darkness our hearts which had already been paid over unto death and delivered up to the iniquity of error, and thus establish the covenant in us through the word.

Barnabas 15:9
Wherefore also we keep the eighth day for rejoicing, in which also Jesus rose from the dead, and having been manifested ascended into the heavens.

Barnabas 2:6
These things therefore He annulled, that the new law of our Lord Jesus Christ, being free from the yoke of constraint, might have its oblation not made by human hands.

Now let’s compare with these verses using the Gospel of Barnabas

[Quotes from The Gospel of Barnabas (the book some Muslims accept as canonical) quoted from  translation. Note that this website is a Muslim website].

Chapter 14 After the fast of forty days, Jesus chooseth twelve apostles. Jesus, seeing that great was the multitude of them that returned to their heart for to walk in the law of God, went up into the mountain, and abode all night in prayer, and when day was come he descended from the mountain, and chose twelve, whom he called apostles, among whom is Judas, who was slain upon the cross. Their names are: Andrew and Peter his brother, fishermen; Barnabas, who wrote this, with Matthew the publican, who sat at the receipt of custom; John and James, sons of Zebedee; Thaddaeus and Judas; Bartholomew and Philip; James, and Judas Iscariot the traitor. To these he always revealed the divine secrets; but the Iscariot Judas he made his dispenser of that which was given in alms, but he stole the tenth part of everything. (Barnabas is not mentioned in the Gospels as a disciple (one of the twelve). [Emphasis mine]

Chapter 217 (paragraph #4)
As God lives, he who writes forgot all that Jesus had said: how that he should be taken up from the world, and that he should suffer in a third person, and that he should not die until near the end of the world. Wherefore he went with the mother of Jesus and with John to the cross. The high priest caused Judas; to be brought before him bound, and asked him of his disciples and his doctrine. Where upon Judas, as though beside himself, answered nothing to the point. The high priest then adjured him by the living God of Israel that he would tell him the truth. [Emphasis mine]

Paragraph #11
Whereupon he caused him to be scourged by his slaves, who were paid by the scribes to slay him under the scourges. But God, who had decreed the issue, reserved Judas for the cross, in order that he might suffer that horrible death to which he had sold another. He did not suffer Judas to die under the scourges, notwithstanding that the soldiers scourged him so grievously that his body rained blood. Thereupon, in mockery they clad him in an old purple garment;, saying: 'It is fitting to our new king to clothe him and crown him': so they gathered thorns and made a crown, like those of gold and precious stones which kings wear on their heads. And this crown of thorns they placed upon Judas' head, putting in his hand a reed for sceptre;, and they made him sit in a high place. [Emphasis mine]

Paragraph #12
And the soldiers came before him, bowing down in mockery, saluting him as King of the Jews. And they held out their hands to receive gifts, such as new kings are accustomed to give; and receiving nothing they smote Judas, saying: 'Now, how are you crowned, foolish king, if you will not pay your soldiers and servants?' *The chief priests with the scribes and Pharisees, seeing that Judas died not by the scourges, and fearing lest Pilate should set him at liberty, made a gift of money to the governor, who having received it gave Judas to the scribes and Pharisees as guilty to death. Whereupon they condemned two robbers with him to the death of the cross.

Paragraph #14
But they that stood firm in the doctrine of Jesus were so encompassed with sorrow, seeing him die who was entirely like to Jesus, that they remembered not what Jesus had said. And so in company with the mother of Jesus they went to Mount Calvary, and were not only present at the death of Judas, weeping continually, but by means of Nicodemus and Joseph of Abarimathia; they obtained from the governor the body of Judas to bury it. Whereupon, they took him down from the cross with such weeping as assuredly no one would believe, and buried him in the new sepulchre of Joseph; having wrapped him up in an hundred pounds of precious ointments.

Chapter 218 Then returned each man to his house. He who writes, with John and James his brother, went with the mother of Jesus; to Nazareth; Those disciples who did not fear God went by night [and] stole the body of Judas and hid it, spreading a report that Jesus was risen again; whence great confusion arose. The high priest then commanded, under pain of anathema;, that no one should talk of Jesus of Nazareth;. And so there arose a great persecution, and many were stoned and many beaten, and many banished from the land, because they could not hold their peace on such a matter.
The news reached Nazareth how that Jesus, their fellow citizen, having died on the cross was risen again. Whereupon, he that writes; prayed the mother of Jesus; that she would be pleased to leave off weeping, because her son was risen again. Hearing this, the Virgin Mary, weeping, said: 'Let us go to Jerusalem to find my son. I shall die content when I have seen him.'
Chapter 220 (paragraph #4)
Jesus answered: 'Believe me, Barnabas, that every sin, however small it be, God punishes with great punishment, seeing that God is offended at sin. Wherefore, since my mother and my faithful disciples that were with me loved me a little with earthly love, the righteous God has willed to punish this love with the present grief, in order that it may not be punished in the flames of hell. And though I have been innocent in the world, since men have called me "God," and "Son of God," God, in order that I be not mocked of the demons on the day of judgment, has willed that I be mocked of men in this world by the death of Judas;, making all men to believe that I died upon the cross. And this mocking shall continue until the advent of Muhammad;, the Messenger ;of God, who, when he shall come, shall reveal this deception to those who believe in God's Law. Having thus spoken, Jesus said: 'You are just, O Lord our God, because to you only belongs honour and glory without end.'

It is not difficult to grasp why many Muslims will accept the writings of the Gospel of Barnabas. Muhammad is mentioned 15 times in their translation of this writing. ( However, in the early documented writings of the Epistles of Barnabas there is no mention of Muhammad. They seemingly want us to believe that this is the same author, which is not mentioned as one of the twelve disciples in the NT Gospels. We find this rather obscure in the least and leads it to serious question.
Who were the 12 apostles according to the NT?
The original twelve apostles are listed in Matthew 10:2-4, "These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him." The Bible also lists the 12 disciples / apostles in Mark 3:16-19 and Luke 6:13-16. In comparing the three passages, there are a couple of minor differences in the names. It seems that Thaddaeus was also know as "Judas, son of James" (Luke 6:16) and Lebbaeus (Matthew 10:3). Simon the Zealot was also known as Simon the Canaanite (Mark 3:18). Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, was replaced in the twelve apostles by Matthias (see Acts 1:20-26).
Note: Some will view Matthias as an "invalid" member of the 12 apostles, and instead believe that the Apostle Paul was God's choice to replace Judas Iscariot as the twelfth apostle.
III. What scholars says about The Gospel of Barnabas.
The Muslim scholar Cyril Glassé states:
As regards the "Gospel of Barnabas" itself, there is no question that it is a medieval forgery. A complete Italian manuscript exists which appears to be a translation from a Spanish original (which exists in part), written to curry favor with Muslims of the time. It contains anachronisms which can date only from the Middle Ages and not before, and shows a garbled comprehension of Islamic doctrines, calling the Prophet "the Messiah", which Islam does not claim for him. Besides its farcical notion of sacred history, stylistically it is a mediocre parody of the Gospels, as the writings of Baha'Allah are of the Koran. [5]

In their introduction to the Oxford edition of The Gospel of Barnabas, Longsdale and Ragg conclude that:

          "the true date lies ... nearer to the sixteenth century than to the first."[6]

After reviewing the evidence in an article in Islamochristiana, J. Slomp concluded:
"in my opinion scholarly research has proved absolutely that this 'gospel' is a fake. This opinion is also held by a number of Muslim scholars."[7]

From Reflexions sur la Recontre al-Azhar:
"Jomier proved his point by showing beyond any doubt that the G. B. V. [Gospel of Barnabas Vienna ms.] contains an islamicised late medieval gospel forgery."[8]

Slomp says unconditionally,
"There is no text tradition whatsoever of the G. B. V."

VII. No early church father quotes The Gospel of Barnabas:
No Church Father ever quoted it from the first to the fifteenth century; no mention of this writing is ever mentioned in the canons only the Epistles of Barnabas. So when Muhammad Ata ur-Rahim makes the statement that the Gospel of Barnabas was accepted as canonical until the council of Nicea is purely poppycock that goes against any historical findings. This is a case of mistaken identity of the Epistle of Barnabas. In fact there is no reference to the Gospel of Barnabas by any Muslim writer before the fifteenth or sixteenth century.

To make matters worse, we see that the Gospel of Barnabas contradicts the Qur’an. Most dismiss these claims due to an apriori that will not allow room for historical truth. Most Muslim scholars fully recognize that the GOB is not an inspired writing. However, those from the far left (deranged radical fringe groups) will not have much concern with historical inaccuracies as long as it supports their worldview, no matter how damaging to their worldview.
The Gospel of Barnabas contradicts the Qur’an (only a partial list):
·         The Quran (2:29) says that the Heavens are seven in number, while "Barnabas" gives the number as nine (ch.178).
·         According to "Barnabas,” man is endowed with a free will. (ch.164). On the contrary, man only does what Allah wills him to do (Quran - 76:30, 37:96, 17:13, 10:99-100).
·         Adam was not the first man circumcised (ch.23). Abraham was.
·         According to "Barnabas" (ch. 3), Mary brought forth her son without pain. This is contradicted by the Quran (19:23).
·         The Quran follows the Mosaic law of "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,” whereas "Barnabas" says "... ye shall not overcome evil with evil, but rather with good" (ch. 81). "Woe unto them that call for vengeance ..." (ch. 63). "... kiss the hand of those who revile thee, and present gifts to those who persecute thee and strike thee much" (ch.64).
·         The Quran approves of polygamy. "Barnabas" does not tolerate it (ch.115).
·         The Quran approves of the teaching of abrogation. "Barnabas" condemns it (ch.38).
·         The Quran condemns eating pork but "Barnabas" says "that which entereth into the man defileth not the man, but that which cometh out of the man defileth the man" (ch.32).
·         "Barnabas" totally ignores the existence of the prophet John the Baptist (Yahya ibn Zakariyya).
·         According to "Barnabas,” Jesus expressly denies that he is the Messiah. In the Quran, the only Messiah is Jesus.

The historical geographical errors:
·         “... sailed to Nazareth on the Sea of Galilee”. Nazareth is located inland and is not a seaport as indicated. (ch.20)
·         "... went up to Capernaum." However, Capernaum is not inland, but is a port city on the Sea of Galilee. (ch.21)
·         It is stated that Jesus went to Mt. Sinai, and then drew nigh to the Jordan River. However, Mt. Sinai is located on the Egyptian side of Israel, and the Jordan River on the Jordan side of Israel. These two locations are extremely far apart, not near! (ch 92)
·         "How beautiful is the world in summertime, when all things bear fruit." This description may be true for places like Europe, but not so of Palestinian summers, where the ground is left dry and barren by the hot scorching sun! (ch. 169)
·         "... and Pilate was governor in the priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas when Jesus was born." However, history records that Pilate did not become governor until 26-27 A.D. (ch. 3)
·         “The words "ascend to the pinnacle" are more indicative of medieval 15-16th century Europe when speeches were delivered from lofty balconies. This particular expression does not reflect the method of Palestinian Jews giving sermons from their synagogues. (ch 12)
·         Mention is made of the slaying of ten thousand prophets by the woman Jezebel. However, no such event is recorded either by the scriptures of the Holy Books or the pages of history. (ch. 18)
·         Mention is made of the idol of Baal spreading throughout all the world. However, there has been no archeological evidence to substantiate such a claim. (ch. 32)
·         The word "Probatica" is used in reference to a pool. However, this was a Greek name used for one of the entrances into Jerusalem called the "Sheep Gate." (ch.65)
·         Reference is made to 600,000 Roman soldiers assembling in the small town of Mizpeh. Such an event is nowhere recorded in the annals of Rome, and appears to be sheer exaggeration! (ch.95)
·         The words "mariner" and "ship" are not typical for Palestine during the time of Jesus and in the area he ministered. They are more indicative of places such as Spain or Italy of Medieval Europe. (ch.103)
·         Mention is made of 17,000 Pharisees in the time of Elijah the Prophet. However, the Pharisee sect did not come into being until 200 B.C. during the Jewish Macabean Era. Elijah lived long before in 900 B.C., seven hundred years earlier! (ch. 145)
·         Reference is made to soldiers being rolled out like casks of wood when washed to refill with wine. However, wooden casks were not typical of the times of Jesus' ministry. In that time and still today, wine skins were used, made of animal hides, not wood. Wooden wine casks reflect Medieval Europe from where they were exported to other parts of the world. (ch. 152)
·         Mention is made of thirty pieces of gold. However, during the times of Jesus, Palestinian currency tended to be in silver pieces. (ch.214)

Plenty of research has been performed and documented against the Gospel of Barnabas, fully affirming that it is a non-authentic writing. I cannot explicate why any Muslim would want to hold this writing as inspired for it contradicts their Qur’an not to mention history. Suffice it to say, we have found that some people will believe anything that sounds appeasing to their ears no matter how much evidence counters their claims. This Gospel of Barnabas, which was simply a parody, has fooled countless people to this day nearly 300-400 years later.


[1] A statement originally from Muhammad Ata ur-Rahim
[3] The works of Irenaeus can be found in the, Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts, D.D. & James Donaldson, LL.D.; Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 1995, vol. 1, pp. 315-578. Available online at The Early Church Fathers
[4] "Irenaeus Against Heresies", book 2, chapter 2, p. 362.
[5] The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, Harper & Row, 1989, p. 64
[6] Longsdale and Luara Ragg, The Gospel of Barnabas (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1907), xxxvii
[7] J. Slomp, "The Gospel in Dispute," in Islamochristiana (Rome: Pontificio Instituto di Studi Arabi, 1978), vol. 4, 68.
[8] J. Jomier, Egypte: Reflexions sur la Recontre al-Azhar (Vatican au Caire, avil 1978), cited by Slomp, 104.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Critical Thinking for the Christian

Christian Critical Thinking
 Constructing an Argument Series

April 11, 2007

This series will cover the basics of how an argument is constructed through a logical process. We will also cover some basic critical thinking concepts and the common fallacies that occur due to illogical or inconsistencies. The goal of this article is to help the Christian (whether new or semipermanent) construct and analyze an argument. To keep this article balanced I will be quoting from sources both inside and outside of Christianity. However the article will be constructed with a Christian epistemology viewpoint.

The sources of this work derives from “Prentice Hall Handbook for Writers” by Melinda G. Kramer, Glenn H. Leggett, and C. David Mead, “A Practical Guide to Critical Thinking”, by Greg R. HaskinsHow to Lie with Statistics” by Darrell Huff, Introduction to Theology Notebook and Trinitarianism Notebook by The Theology Program, Practical Logic, by Vincent E. Barry, Douglas J. Soccio,  and “Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences” by John Allen Paulos

We will begin with the process of Critical Thinking but before we get started lets discuss a few misconceptions about the critical thinking process.

Critical Thinking (CT):
  • Is it more than just thinking logically or analytically, it also means thinking rationally or objectively.
  • Is part of logical analysis stemming from philosophical mathematical concepts
  • Is thinking rationally and objectively that invokes broader concepts that implore psychology and sociology
  • Is more than thinking logically or analytically
  • Is NOT necessarily used for finding faults or thinking negatively
  • Is distinct from ones values and principles, not necessarily to think alike or have similar values amongst a group of people
  • Does not change who you are
  • Does not discourage or replace feelings or emotive thinking
  • Does not blindly support everything based upon science or empirical data
  • (CT) Arguments are not always the most persuasive arguments
  • Is an informal application of logic
  • Is a process

The Process

The process of critical thinking involves intelligence, knowledge to read objective and rationale viewpoints. It should also be noted that some of the greatest intelligent minds can succumb to irrational beliefs; any number of these beliefs can be illogical, be apt to innumeracy, or merely fall into the confines of pseudoscience. Before we delve into any examples of these abominable notions, we will need to cover a few basic constructs of critical thinking.

In the simplified model of the human understanding shown below, we have a 4-step process.

 (Illustration from “A Practical Guide to Critical Thinking”, by Greg R. Haskins)

Graphic from Greg R. Haskins’ article

1.      Reality is something that exists, whether we choose to believe it or not (objectively). We can simply deny reality, but denial is simply a reaction or the act of refusing to comply or asserting that something alleged is not true. Reality can be defined as all of your experiences that determine how things appear to you, or the state of the world as it really is rather than as you might want it to be. (see Correspondence view of truth)

2.      Perception is the process of perceiving; a basic component in the formation of a concept or simply knowledge gained by perceiving. In other words, it is the experience of reality first hand. The word “experience” can be is used as a noun (direct observation or participation in an event), or as a verb (Have firsthand knowledge of states, situations, emotions, or sensations).

3.      Thinking Process is how we process information or data according to our worldview, emotions (see Figure 1. 3a and 3b), presuppositions, or pre-understandings. If we study some of the common logical fallacies we can be less apt to make any irrational or illogical conclusions. (We will cover these later).

4.      Conclusions are the ratiocinations that we base our actions or final judgments upon. Again this will depend upon our worldview, emotion, presuppositions, or pre-understandings. This is typically what we see as jury decisions in the courtroom. (see Moral Proof)

Greg R. Haskins Writes:
“Critical thinking is more than thinking logically or analytically; it also means thinking rationally or objectively. There is an important distinction. Logic and analysis are essentially philosophical and mathematical concepts, whereas thinking rationally and objectively are broader concepts that also embody the fields of psychology and sociology. These latter two areas address the complex effects of human behavior (e.g., hindrances) on our thinking processes.”[1]

Intelligence Quotient
Before we delve too far into the critical thinking series, I thought it would be pertinent to speak about the Intelligence Quotient. There are many myths or false-hoods widely spread about IQ and its true meanings. Some skeptics may lay incredulous claims that IQ determines knowledge, insight, or even wisdom. Some have also bolstered some highly irrational statements (assaults if you will) against those having a theistic worldview (e.g. Christians, Jews, and Muslims) claiming that a theistic mindset has an IQ below 100. For the record, an IQ number, gasconaded without any specifics of which test were professionally administered, is equivalent to wildly faceted enthymeme.[2]
Some Professional IQ tests:
·         Stanford-Binet
·         Cattell IIIB
·         Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices
·         Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale
·         Otis-Lennon Tests
·         Otis-Gamma Test
·         Cattell
·         Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales
·         Army or Navy GCT

What is IQ?
“Intelligence is often confused with knowledge, wisdom, memory, or a myriad of other attributes and in general has a variety of meanings depending on the context in which it is used. The term IQ usually refers to the attempt to measure a person's mental agility.”[3]

Our current Western civilization view of Truth

Postmodernism is (broadly speaking) a movement in modern western society that devalues truth, believing all truth is relative. This is the “that is true for you but not for me mantra”. Postmodernism has is values in some instances, but we need to be careful when trying to apply this ideology for everyday life as it can hinder our ability to find objective truth. The Postmodern mindset is one that can be critical, but concurrently, it is not a concept that one lives out in an everyday modus Vivendi, or lifestyle. As Christians, we strive to search for objective truths; however, some may disagree with this motto. Nevertheless, truth exists, and moral proof is the rational process by which we base most of our daily decisions. Notwithstanding, this does not mean that Christians are not prone to make incorrect decisions or judgments.

For some of you this terminology may be indecipherable, or perhaps you have not been exposed to postmodernism. Therefore, let us distinguish the Postmodern vs. the Modern view of truth. I would like to touch on this subject briefly as it will most definitely become a factor on how we define truth within critical thinking, or how our opponent may view truth. Primarily, we will need to achieve a healthy balance between two extremities of these views. From an equalitarian viewpoint, the Postmodernist should not become too dogmatic about there being no truths (or absolutes) nor does the Modernist believe truth (absolutes) without clearly defining or articulating their claims.

When defining the term absolute in the form of a noun we can ascertain that there are absolutes. (i.e. God, Nature, natural deaths are absolutes)

An absolute can be defined as:
Noun, Absolute:
1.      Something that is conceived to be absolute; something that does not depend on anything else and is beyond human control

Adjective, Absolute:
1.      Perfect or complete or pure
2.      Complete and without restriction or qualification; sometimes used informally as intensifiers
3.      Not limited by law
4.      Expressing finality with no implication of possible change
5.      Without conditions or limitations
6.      Not capable of being violated or infringed[4]

Of course defining the term “absolute” in an adjective form, we can discover that a postmodern view may seem to carry some weight, although marginally. From the postmodern mindset, it would be imperative to become quite descriptive in our arguments and terms for them to fully grasp our thought process.

Let me give you a quick example of innumeracy that may bring to light some postmodern vs. modern thinking patterns.

  1. mathematics is a form of an absolute
  2. Addition is a form of mathematics
  3. Therefore absolutely 1+1=2

However, let’s use an example (clearly define the terms) of this argument to see if it is always correct using a critical thinking mindset.

1 cup of water plus 1 cup of popcorn = 2 cups of soggy popcorn?

Our conclusion is that this syllogism (1+1=2) is not always an absolute if we do not clearly define the terms.” This is a statement that most Postmodernists would agree with. However, if we use “same or exact substances” like this example shown below (using mathematics as it should be implied or defined by our term “exact substances”):

1 cup of water plus 1 cup of water = 2 cups of water

We see that 1+1 can be equal to 2 but not always; this is where we need to break from oversimplification and define or articulate our terms to make them absolved in our syllogisms. It would be deemed as common knowledge, that we need one of the same or similar equal substances added together to equal two. Common knowledge is something that is widely accepted or held, and can be used as a positive syllogism. It is also commonplace to accept a dictionary definition of a word if used properly in context with the authorial intent, unless specified otherwise by the author. Let us move on to one more example of innumeracy.

Sometimes a skeptic defines the concept of the Christian Trinity as an illogical concept using a mathematical concept (1+1+1=3) and God is one (Shema). Therefore, the Trinity is illogical or false. Here is how a typical syllogism is constructed.

Anti-Trinitarianism Syllogism:
1.      God is one
2.      God is not three gods, because one is not equal to three
3.      Therefore the Trinity is false

A Trinitarian response:
While the Trinity is defined as One Father, One Son, and One Holy Spirit, the three are distinct—not the same person (as a scenario of 3 cups of liquid, but not exactly 3 cups of the same liquids). We define them as co-equal and co-eternal in subsistence which is the state of existing in reality; having substance. Therefore the concept of 1 Father +1 Son +1 Holy Spirit is not equal to three gods (or as defined by Tritheism or some skeptics), but one God-head. Trinitarians do not define the three as separate gods, but making up one God (Trinity). The Trinity is very logical, just as 1 cup of water and 1 cup of popcorn do not equal 2 cups of soggy popcorn analogy we used in our previous example of innumeracy.

The Trinitarian may construct an argument as:

Trinitarianism Syllogism:
1.      God is One (Shema)
2.      God is The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit
3.      The three are distinct, not the same person (not as suggested by modalism)
4.      Therefore the three are one (Shema—ehad—Husband and wife become one flesh).

Once we define our terms clearly, as we did in the popcorn and water analogy, we find that Trinity is defined as three personhoods considered as a unit, just like Alex, Geddy, and Neil make up the rock band “Rush”. This is due to the fact of the distinct nature of the Triune God. It is important in how we define our nomenclature as Trinitarians, not so much as calling them gods, but the three as one God. The focus is on these terms that keep us distinct from holding a Tritheism view. (We will cover this more in detail in the study of Trinitarianism)

Various Views of Truth

Now returning to the various views of truth discussion, the Postmodernist view (circa 1960-present) could also be shared to a degree with some religions. Here are a few examples that we find in our postmodern society today:

Universalism: The belief that all people, good or bad, will eventually make it to Heaven
Pluralism: The belief that there are many ways to God, those being equally valid
Syncretism: The assimilation of differing beliefs and practices
Inclusivism: The belief that salvation is only through Christ, but Christ may be revealed in other religions

Pluralism and Universalism is only valid if the law of non-contradiction is an invalid precept. Syncretism does have some rationale, but remember that Jesus stated that “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”. (John 14:6) This statement by Jesus is an example of inclusivism; however, we rest in the assurance that Jesus is correct in his statement not that Christ is revealed in other religions. This is because this could be self-defeating on the other religions part if they disagree with Christ’s statement in John 14:6.

What is a relative view of Truth?

Relative view of truth: (1) Truth is a perspective reality that exists in the perspective of the individual or group, (2) and that perspective reality is grounded in time. (Postmodernism view--Law of non-contradiction may not apply)

For the Modernists (circa 1600-1900AD) the view of truth can be defined as:

Correspondence view of truth: (1) Truth is an objective reality that exists whether someone believes it or not, (2) and that objective reality is grounded in nature. (Modern view--Law of non-contradiction is valid)[5]

Logic Induction and deduction

Now that we have covered some of the views of truth, we can move forward to how we apply logic to the critical thinking process. Logic can be broken down into either induction or deduction. Let us look at how the terms are defined in the Practical Logic book:

Vincent E. Barry, Douglas J. Soccio writes:
“The reasoning process that leads to logical certainty is called deduction. A deductive (reasoning for the general to the specific) argument is an argument whose premises, it is determined, logically entail its conclusion. With induction (highly probable, never logically certain), our conclusions are at best highly probable, never certain. Validity has nothing to do with empirical truth, although “soundness” does. Deductive argument that is sound is one that is true and valid.”[6] [Emphasis mine]

Critical thinking is defined as an informal form of logic. A deductive argument can be implied as one thing that necessarily follows from another. The product “A” is true; therefore, the product “B” will follow. Here is an example:
1.      American Presidents are males (Premise “A”)
2.      No woman has ever been elected as President (qualifier)
3.      Therefore all elected Presidents are males (Conclusion “B”)

This deductive reasoning is common knowledge that is implied by all Americans. This is not to say that a woman will never be elected as President—thus far, it has not materialized. Of course, due to our modern feminization of America, someone could take this syllogism out of context and use it in a negative manner, although the authorial intent is displaying this as a positive event that could change over time.
It should be noted that a syllogism (logical construct) is only the beginning to a discussion. This will determine if we can further move onto constructing a true premise, nothing more. In some cases within a syllogism, a law, common knowledge (widely accepted), and so forth, the case could be well enough to stand on its own merit if the premise is truly represented and is indeed truthful. Just as our syllogism of American Presidents as males, historically this would be accurate until a female is elected as President. We will cover more on the inductive and deductive constructs later in this critical thinking series.


Deductive reasoning is narrower (compared to induction) in nature and is concerned with testing or confirming hypotheses. In the deduction process, we start with a theory for our argument or discussion. We then move down to specific hypothesis that we can test. Next, we would collect observations to address the hypotheses. In the end, this would lead to a test of the hypotheses with specific data -- cogent evidence (or falsify) of our pilot theory. (See diagram below)
Deductive process diagram (courtesy of Defending Christ Ministries)


Inductive reasoning goes from specific observations to less specific generalizations and theories. Inductive reasoning is considered less restricted and exploratory, especially in commencement. In inductive reasoning, begins with specific observations and measures. Next, we commence to detect patterns and regularities, in which we can articulate some tentative hypotheses for research, in which we can develop some general conclusions or theories. Note that this is the reverse order of deductive process (see diagram below).

Inductive process diagram (courtesy of Defending Christ Ministries)


How do we deal with uncertainty? Do we become as static as Bill Murray does in the film “What About Bob”?[7] Of course not, because we would define someone like Bill Murray’s character as insane or espousing irrational behavior. So in essence, we can be certain enough to make rational choices, and still hold some things in tension or to a degree of uncertainty. An example is the belief that we will wake up tomorrow morning and the sun will shine, we will be alive, and time will not stop but knowing that each day could be our last. We do not live in fear simply because we know that we have a rational belief in the certainty of tomorrow, it is our faith in tomorrow that pushes us to move forward. Now let us define the types of certainty:

Types of Certainty
1. Mathematical certainty (scientific method)
2. Empirical certainty (weight of evidences)
3. Logical certainty (what is reasonable)
4. Moral certainty (what is demanded)

What types of proof can we use to define our arguments?

Types of Proof
1. Mathematical proof (true by analysis)
2. Logical proof (what is reasonable)
3. Empirical proof (scientific method/observable data)
4. Moral proof (what is demanded based on the compelling conclusions of the evidences)

Mathematical Proof: Proof that a mathematical concept or law is valid by proven repeatability (note in our earlier syllogism we need to clearly define our terms).

Logical Proof: Proof that is deduced through deductive logic. In Christianity, the ontological and cosmological arguments would be classified as logical proof for God’s existence.

Empirical Proof: Proof that is induced through the weight of evidences. In Christianity, the teleological and moral arguments would be classified as empirical proof for the existence of God.

Moral Proof: Proof that is demanded by the weight of the cumulative evidence. A person is morally obligated to submit to it. (e.g. typical courtroom decisions)

To be continued later...


[1] Greg R. Haskins “A Practical Guide to Critical Thinking”
[2] Enthymeme is an argument in which a premise or conclusion is suppressed or missing.
[3] definition of IQ
[4] WordWeb Dictionary:
[5] Intro To Theology Handbook pg 67
[6] “Practical Logic” by Barry, Soccio