Do you know there are Christians who believe the sun orbits around the earth? We may chuckle at the simplicity of the argument—“Since the Bible teaches it; it must be true” (and I cannot help noticing they use similar tactics to dispel scientific evidence as creationists do)—yet on the other hand I give them due credit. They stick to their guns regardless of the proof.
Young Earth Creationists claim the Bible teaches an earth no more than 20,000 years old (at the most) and, like the geocentric, flatly states any scientific evidence contrary to that claim must be incorrect. Some Old Earth Creationists allow for an earth 4-5 Billion years old, but like the geocentric and Young Earth Creationist, flatly state any scientific evidence for macro-evolution, since is it contrary to the Bible, must be wrong.
Inerrantists who are presented evidence of contradictions believe that evidence is being mis-interpreted, or confused, or inaccurate, due to the belief the books of the Bible do not contradict each other. Historians, who indicate based upon their research, study and archeology, an event in the Bible did not occur, are informed they must be in error. Regardless of our current proofs, the Bible—the written word of God—must be considered true.
The Old Earth Creationist may snicker at the geocentric, yet together they are claiming, “The Bible says it; it must be true, regardless of evidence to the contrary.” One merely takes it a bit farther than the other.
Yet one area in which the Bible must bend to the human is in the area of philosophy. People, including Christians, would like to be assured their belief is logically coherent. That their worldview is consistent. “Logic” has become the new god to supercede the old one. To demonstrate this reality—all one has to do is explore any forum in which Christians and skeptics debate. Within a few minutes, one will be quick to see an accusation (from either side) of “Logical Fallacy!” Which will just as quickly (and just as vociferously) be defended as to why it was not a logical fallacy. Soon the thread degrades into the indictment of the reprehensible crime of violating the “Logic Laws.”
I can throw out a few terms—“ad hom,” “strawman,” “ad hoc”--and anyone immersed in this apologetic dimension will immediately recognize the terms. Probably will remember a fight or two in which they were either used against you or by you. It is the ultimate disgrace to be “illogical” within a forum debate. As if we were a bunch of Vulcans; not humans.
We all can think of numerous times in which scientific proofs or physical evidence were discarded because the Bible claims otherwise, but on how many occasions have we been informed philosophy or “being logical” must be discarded because the Bible claims otherwise? Can you think of one? I’ll bet you can! It is the second most common passage tossed at skeptics—1 Cor. 1 & 2. Usually it plays out like so:
Christian: The Bible is “inspired” ‘cause it says so!
Skeptic: Well, I have a concern about a self-authenticating claim. Have you considered this point? Or this other point? Or that point? When studying it, I came across these concerns—can you address them for me? Or perhaps you can explain this problem, or provide a consistent method in this area? How do you address this issue? Or what of these circumstances?
Christian: Oh yeah? God has made foolish the wisdom of this world. 1 Cor. 1:20. [runs away.]
(And if you think I am being hyperbolic, this happened recently right here.)
Read 1 Cor. 1 & 2. Look at the comparison and contrast with world thinking as compared to spiritual thinking:
“…the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing…”
“…I [God] will destroy the wisdom of the wise…”
“Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?”
“…the world through wisdom did not know God…”
“…it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe…”
“…Greeks seek after wisdom…”
“…but we preach Christ crucified … to the Greeks foolishness…”
“…not many wise according to the flesh…are called….”
“…God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise…”
“…my [Paul’s] speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom…”
“…your faith should not be in the wisdom of men…”
“…not the wisdom of this age…”
How could this be any clearer? Wisdom of the World = Actual Foolishness. Foolishness of the World = Actual Wisdom. Paul sums it up with:
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Why are Christians so anxious to demonstrate their belief system would qualify among the contenders for “Wisdom of the World” when Paul says this very wisdom is spiritual foolishness? Are the Christians looking for the stamp of approval from “natural humans” in demanding we declare their beliefs “wise” by our standards? Paul’s blood pressure would rise so quickly his eyes would pop out at such a notion! Can you hear him shouting, “No, no, no! If the world considers what you state as ‘wise’ this is every indication it is actually foolish!”
Paul is looking for the following conversation:
Skeptic: Science shows the world is 4-5 Billion years old
YEC: No. God says differently, so science must be wrong.
Skeptic: You are not logical.
YEC: Fine, because God says the logic of this world is foolishness. Not spiritually discerned. Things you cannot understand. You’re saying this is actually a spiritual compliment to me.
Instead on the first point, the Christian YEC is more than willing to claim the evidence is wrong in light of the Bible, but on the second, is extremely hesitant to believe the Bible means it when it declares the wisdom of the world is foolishness. It sounds so…I don’t know…foolish to declare Christianity illogical, doesn’t it?
How does this play out? Take the very basic premise of logic—the law of non-contradiction. “A ≠ non-A.” Simply put, something cannot both be something, and at the same time NOT be the very same thing. We cannot exist and non-exist at the same moment. 0 cannot equal 1 (or “non 0” if you prefer.)
The reason for this premise is both for consistency in living out reality, as well as ability to communicate. When I say “The apple is in my hand” if “A = non-A” this sentence could mean:
“The apple is out of my hand.”
“The orange is in my hand.”
“The orange is out of my hand.”
“The apple is in my mouth.”
“The orange is out of my mouth.”
While some those statements could also be true, the point of the statement “The apple is in my hand” is to communicate a certain fact consistent with the words I am proclaiming. If logic fails, we are unable to consistently communicate, because words can have a variety of meanings, inconsistent with each other. We’d never know what the other person was saying.
Christianity claims Jesus was both God and Human. Not a demi-god. Not a superhuman. Not some new-fangled genetic mutation able to incorporate the abilities of both Gods and humans. But a creature 100% gen-u-ine, pureblood God, and 100% authentic, certified human at the same moment. Since humans are not God, this makes Jesus both God and non-God at the same time. Uh-oh. Sounds a bit like a violation of the law of non-contradiction, doesn’t it?
Can a creature logically be both God and non-God? Both Creator and Created? Be both Cause and effect? Further, this creates exactly the break-down in communication anticipated by the violation of the law of non-contradiction. How can a God be tempted? How can a God die? How can a human resurrect itself after death, since there are no brain waves? How can a human be perfect? Each question is answered by one of the two alternatives—either the bit about Jesus being God (hence resurrection and perfection) or the bit about Jesus being non-God (hence temptation and death.) When it is convenient for an apple to be an apple, it is declared an apple. When it is not, it is declared an orange.
The response to this apparent violation of a basic law of logic? While it may appear to be at odds with the law of non-contradiction, in reality it is not. We just don’t know why, because God’s ways are unknown.
Excuse me? So the way to make Christianity logical is to declare it by fiat and definition? But wouldn’t we be able to apply this broad definition to anything? “Sure, ‘1’ does not appear to be ‘0,’ but that is because we don’t have enough knowledge yet. In the future, we plan to discover that indeed 1 does equal 0.”
In other words, in order to make Christianity logical, we would need to re-define the term “logic” to mean something other than what we mean the rest of the time. “Logic” would have to be defined to what it is alleged God does, not what we observe about us. Christianity becomes “logical” by modifying the term.
Is that what Paul was intending? To claim the wisdom of God is to see logic in a whole new light, and not in the crass terms of how humans utilize it? Perhaps. Yet Paul himself goes on to use logic and reason and argument in the rest of his books, including 1 Corinthians. Paul acts as if logic is in place, but states it is not.
In the end, this is the same dodge. When it is helpful and beneficial to claim logical philosophy in order to impress, the Christian, along with the rest of humanity, is chanting and pitching, “Logic! Logic! Logic!” When the logic seems to break down, the Christian attempts to re-define it along terms which would never be accepted from any other claim. And when all else fails, logic is demonized as “wisdom of this world” and consequently foolishness.
Is Christianity logical? Two questions plague me on this notion:
1) Isn’t the claim Jesus was both God and non-God at the same time a violation of the law of non-contradiction as we know it?
2) Why isn’t logic included in the wisdom of the world which is actually foolishness according to Paul?