March 11, 2015

Does It Hold Water?

This post is essentially a logic pit stop to assure that we have the equipment we need as Christians to properly finish the race. 

When I approach someone’s worldview I do not automatically assume what they say or believe is wrong. That is a decision process that comes in quick succession but it is still a decision process. I do not come to a debate assuming I will learn nothing or expect reaffirmation of existing personal bias. In truth I must first hear the person out. It is what comes out of their mouth’s that tells me what is in their hearts. I can never assume something because if I do I assassinate their character and intent and this is sin (James 4:11). If they are harboring resents, bitterness, anger or animosities, their mouth will always betray them soon enough (Luke 6:45).

I immediately begin to ask myself questions about what the person is saying about their belief system. I need to logically, rationally and biblically analyze the merit of their beliefs. In other words I will assume it is true until I hear contradiction, inconsistency, false information or duplicity. If I hear inconsistency I know that it has come from the person or a false worldview. How do I know this? If God is to be God He has to be perfectly logical, perfectly reasoned, omnipotent, omniscient, and all the other omni’s. If a person espouses a worldview and it is riddled with inconsistencies, irrationality and other mistakes of reason I know unequivocally that the person’s source (holy writ, god) is wrong and therefore not trustworthy. Why would I want to adhere to the tenets of a faith or belief system that is more error-prone and illogical than I am? What blessed hope is there in this type of belief system?

If a person insists that their view is more tolerant and more accepting I am immediately turned off by this type of god. Acceptance of every human view is exactly what I don’t want. Why? How could there ever be any type of reliable justice applied or metered out to those that would actually deserve it with such a capricious being. I already know that if I believe in Jesus Christ and the Gospel I am saved. If I believe that Jesus died on the cross, was buried and rose again the third day I will live eternal life. If the holy writ of others is inconsistent, irrational or illogical, what hope to I have that I will gain salvation or reach enlightenment when it tells me I will?

A belief system that bases its beliefs in incoherent logic or poor reasoning is not valid because it then inadequately describes the reality that I can logically interpret comprehend or visually see in my surroundings. If I cannot comprehend the message or it is illogical which is also a failure to properly or correctly communicate, why even send or give the message. The message would contain only nonsensical information and certainly could not have come from an all-knowing God.

So if the message is illogical, inconsistent, and irrational or fails the proper reasoning test, it must be dismissed from viable consideration. If the worldview is self-referentially defeating, or self-negating (postmodernism, pluralism, universalism) it doesn’t even warrant further consideration because it will invalidate itself.

This then leaves us with two last issues.

(1) It requires that the person who analyzes the view to be versed in logic and proper reasoning. The person must at least have a firm grasp in basic logic arguments, what constitutes logic flaws (law of non-contradiction, law of exclude middle) or they will never know when they are being deceived. The Bible aids in this because it gives and absolute measuring stick to bounce off but it certainly helps to teach oneself basic reasoning principles. If we know what is correct, then we know what is incorrect. Two views in the same context (religion) cannot both be true if they both make the same claim. It would violate the Law of Non-contradiction. 

The Holy Book that is internally consistent must therefore be the measuring stick for all the others because it is consistent, coherent and logical. That is the Bible. If God has to be anything, he needs to be logically consistent and properly reasoned or God isn’t God because of inconsistency. If we believe the Bible is true it must be true absolutely or the Christian argument unravels completely from the top down. If it is not absolute truth than the only claim that can be made from the Bible is relativistic and worthless for the purposes of showing someone why others are wrong. Why must we show someone they’re wrong? Because truth by its nature is absolute and exclusive (Isaiah 1:18, 55:8-9, John 14:6, Acts 17:2-3, 18:4, 1 Corinthians 13:11).

(2) We must be prepared to defend what we believe in the same manner that we demand others defend their view in a debate or argument. We must know our own Holy book at least better than the people that will question it or our examination and critique of their beliefs fall flat on their faces (1 Peter 3:15)

In layman’s terms we must ask ourselves two things:

(1) Does the person’s belief system or view hold water? Does it actually make sense, is it consistent and can it accurately describe reality?

(2) Does our belief system or view hold water? The reason we must ask ourselves this is because of the possibility of having diverged from the Bible into heretical belief, idolatry or unbelief (2 Corinthians 13:5).

If we’re not prepared to show a person (including ourselves) why a view is inconsistent we are at a severe disadvantage intellectual and spiritually. How do we assure we are prepared? We must reason from Scripture first and that is why I have insert Scripture references throughout this post to lead by example. 

Secondly, we must verse ourselves in the other person’s views which is how this post started. If we do not educate ourselves on why a person’s view might be wrong we will be caught flat-footed and look foolish. If we look foolish, so will the belief system we supposedly defend or tout. The additional plus is that when we learn another person's beliefs we can find points of commonality with them in which to engage them.

Lastly, we must be honest enough to admit when our path has diverged from the Bible we put ourselves and others in eternal jeopardy. In this situation it is not an issue of saving-face…it is an issue of saving souls. 

1 Corinthians 2:14-16 ~ “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”

Please note in the verse above that we are to have the "mind of Christ". It does not necessarily say the emotion or feelings. Although these are God given characteristics and should be used, it doesn't necessarily mean we need to use them all at the same time. How can I say this? What is verse 16 here in reference to? It is in reference to the natural and spiritual person. The natural doesn't even accept the things of God but the spiritual man not only accepts God, he accepts the way God thinks

The reason the spiritual man can do this is because he can spiritually discern...or spiritually think and reason. Although the passage ends by saying that the spiritual person judges all things but can be judged or discerned by no one, He still has the "mind of Christ". He must therefore examine himself (2 Corinthians 13:5). We will all be held accountable.

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