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Logic & Apologetics I. Why Logic Matters in Christianity II. The Basic Kind of Arguments I. Abductive II. Inductive III. Deductive III. Informal Logical.

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Presentation on theme: "Logic & Apologetics I. Why Logic Matters in Christianity II. The Basic Kind of Arguments I. Abductive II. Inductive III. Deductive III. Informal Logical."— Presentation transcript:


2 Logic & Apologetics

3 I. Why Logic Matters in Christianity II. The Basic Kind of Arguments I. Abductive II. Inductive III. Deductive III. Informal Logical Fallacies Game!

4 Logic Ordered thinking “Logic is the study of right reasons or valid inferences and the attending fallacies, formal and informal.” Genesis 1 – God makes order out of chaos John 1 – “Logos” is the order/logic/wisdom/reason of God

5 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah. – Acts 9:22 As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures – Acts 17:2 So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. – Acts 17:17 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. – Acts 18:4 For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah. – Acts 18:28

6 “But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen—that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.” “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable.” - Acts 26:22-25

7 “Apologetics” – The presentation of rational (reasonable) bases for the validity and defense of Christian beliefs. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” – I Peter 3:15

8 Understanding logic and reasoning makes us more effective in our interactions, dialogues and presentation of the Christian faith. No more canned answers!


10 The building blocks of logical thought and reasoning: Argument: a collection of related propositions resulting in a conclusion Proposition: a declarative statement that affirms or denies something Premise: a proposition that sets forth a reason to draw a conclusion Conclusion: a proposition derived from the inferences of its premises

11 Definition: Inference to the best explanation Example: “The fist-fight” In theology and apologetics: Coming to faith based on experiences and observations

12 In life we encounter the following: Origins of universe Origins of life Mind, consciousness, personality Morality, ethics, conscience, justice Love and relationship Beauty and aesthetics Scripture testimony Anthropology of religious belief Miraculous/supernatural phenomenon Natural law and science Logic and reasoning Religious conversion and transformation As separate self-contained observations, these things are peculiar and/or difficult to explain. But if God actually exists, then it follows as a matter of course that these things make sense together.

13 Definition: arriving at a certain conclusion based on the stated premises Example: mathematics In theology and apologetics: “God-friendly” arguments The Cosmological Argument The Moral Argument

14 1. Everything that begins has a cause. 2. The universe has a beginning 3. Therefore, the universe has a cause. Analyze what properties the “cause” must have and assess its theological significance. “God” provides the most reasonable explanation as this “cause”.

15 Premise 1 – “Everything that begins has a cause.” Has merit both philosophically and experientially Past events cannot regress infinitely Cause-effect dynamic is experienced generally in life

16 Premise 2 – “The universe has a beginning.” Prevailing scientific theory for the origin of the universe is “Big Bang Theory” 13.7 bill years ago the universe exploded into existence generating all matter and energy Expansion of universe and presence of background radiation

17 “Therefore the universe has a cause.” “Cause” must be: Timeless, constant and immaterial Agent acting freely without constraint An idea-generator with personal dimension - like a “mind” God’s characteristics best fit description of the “cause”

18 1. If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist. 2. Objective morals and duties do exist. 3. Therefore, God exists.

19 Premise 1 – “If God does not exist, then objective morals and duties do not exist.” Without God, moral values are illusory, relative and come from some naturalistic source (such as evolution). A duty to act in a moral way requires accountability, and naturalistic explanations for morality do not carry a sense of ultimate “duty” because there is no ultimate accountability. EG. – You could recognize the “good” or “bad” way to act, but there is nothing compelling a choice to act “good”.

20 Premise 2 – “Objective morals and duties do exist”. Universal presence of “good/bad” values and “right/wrong” behaviors infer an objective source of morality EG - Is it always wrong to torture and kill a baby for one’s own pleasure? Popular alternative position is “social conditioning”, but this does not undermine the truth of whether objective morals and duties actually exist, it only speaks to how we may discover or understand them. (Like in physical world). Self-defeating logic of relativism

21 Therefore, God exists. Ironically, people generally believe both premises, though many may attempt to fight the necessary conclusion!

22 Definition: compiling evidence that implies a probable conclusion Example: lawyer making a case In theology and apologetics: Peter’s Sermon in Acts 2, Making the case for the Christ

23 Gathering and synthesizing evidence/reasons that funnel toward a probable conclusion. Conclusion Evidence 3 Evidence 2 Evidence 1

24 Example of Peter’s Sermon in Acts 2 Evidence 1: Jesus performed signs and miracles publicly. (Acts 2:22) Evidence 2: God raised Jesus from the dead in accordance with the Scriptures. (Acts 2:24) Evidence 3: Jesus ascended to heaven to be glorified in accordance with the Scriptures. (Acts 2:34) Conclusion: “Therefore, let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36)

25 Jesus is Lord and Christ! Acts 2:33-35 Acts 2:23-32 Acts 2:22

26 Have to do with “truthfulness” of the argument/statement. Does the content meaningfully and properly relate to the issue at hand? The 2 most common ways to commit an informal fallacy is by confusion or irrelevance. Confusion – the flow of thinking is mixed-up and out- of-order Irrelevance – the flow of thinking leads to a point outside of the issue being discussed


28 “You are a person of faith; I, on the other hand, am a person of science and reason.”

29 “I read that most of the members of the National Academy of Sciences are atheists, so I don’t take religion very seriously.”

30 “If you study church history, you see a long tradition of violence towards dissenters, suppression of scientific truth, political corruption, wars and bloodshed. Clearly, the church is anything but a moral influence for good.”

31 “Centuries before Christ, the Egyptian god Osiris was said to have died and then risen from the dead. The Jesus account is another mythical manifestation of this same earlier story.

32 “Saying ‘God created the universe’ is not a truly satisfying explanation of origins, because then you have to ask the question – ‘Who created God?’”

33 “I can’t believe that God would allow people to suffer, burn, and experience pain in a place like hell. If you’ve ever experienced a moment of torture you know how horrible it is; then how could you could ever sustain torture in a place with no hope! The suffering we see in the world – starvation of children, genocide, war - is nothing compared to the idea of ‘hell’. How could God do such a thing?”

34 “The Bible is just a bunch of fantasy stories featuring characters like a talking snake, zombies rising from the dead and magic taking place. We’d never take such account seriously in a modern setting, and would likely think the authors had been doing drugs when they wrote these things.”

35 “The Bible cannot seriously be considered a relevant document as it came from a culture where slavery was legal, women lacked rights and simple modern conventions like electricity would have been considered miraculous.”

36 “I don’t think the Ressurection accounts of the NT are serious historical events. Christian scholars and historians who argue that the Resurrection was an historical event from God do so to justify their livelihood and get naive people to buy their books.”

37 “When I read about the pastor of a mega-church who was recently indicted on charges of fraud and embezzlement, it reminded me that churches are money-making operations.”

38 “Since faith is unjustified and irrational belief. Arguments that claim to present reasonable bases to believe in God fall short, because God is a faith-claim which cannot be justified rationally.”

39 “Religion has been used to justify horrible things.”

40 Speaker 1: The gospel of Mark, which is accepted by scholars as the earliest of the gospels written in the generation of eyewitnesses, provides an early source for an eyewitness account of Jesus’ empty tomb, and adds credibility to the historical claims of the Resurrection. Speaker 2: Details of the resurrection account described in Mark differ from some of the details in the other later gospels. Do you accept Luke, Matthew and John as credible accounts as well? How do you reconcile the differences between the accounts?

41 “As a scientist, I determine what is true based on proof. Therefore, I cannot accept that God exists unless I can see the proof of such a claim.”

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