THE IMPORTANCE OF LOGIC IN CHRISTIANITY
FOR SOUND DOCTRINAL, SPIRITUAL & MENTAL LIFE
Part 2: The 6 logical fallacies of the Jehovah’s Witnesses with respect to John 17:3
More on the logical fallacy of equivocation
In the last DDR, we looked at the logical fallacy of equivocation with respect to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ equivocation of the two phrases: “You [Father], the only true God” and “Only you [Father], the true God.” These two sentences, in fact, do not mean the same. By going from “the Father is the only true God” to “only the Father is the true God” the entire meaning of the verse is distorted. This would be similar to converting the statement, “Socrates is only man” into “only Socrates is man,” and asserting that these two sentences mean the same. Obviously they do not!
The logical fallacy of equivocation is one of the most common blunders of today–especially with regard to equivocation regarding the meaning of words. This is prevalent on television talk shows as well in homes in arguments between family members. In these arguments (or discussions) each party brings a different meaning to words, and this breaks down any possibility of a rational discussion; generally, people talk past each other and are left exasperated at the other person’s lack of logic. The breakdown in the logical discussion is usually in the fact that each person has a different meaning and nuance to a word or concept. You simply cannot have a rational discussion with someone if that person does not share the same definition of terms.
Consider a couple of examples of the fallacy of equivocation by Muslims.
#1 When a Muslim says, “Christians and Muslims worship the same God,” he is committing the fallacy of equivocation. While Christians worship the Triune God of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Muslims worship a Unitarian deity. Obviously, they are worshipping different Gods. There is an equivocation of the word “God.” That word has a different meaning for Christians than for Muslims.
#2 When a Muslim says, “We believe in Jesus too,” he is committing the fallacy of equivocation. The “Jesus” of the Quran is not the Jesus of the Bible. Islam teaches “another Jesus” (2 Cor. 11:4). The Jesus of the Bible is God the Son who died on the cross for our sins. But the “Jesus” of the Quran is not God the Son and he did not die on the cross for our sins. Thus it is erroneous for Muslims to tell Christians that they believe in Jesus too. There is an equivocation of the word “Jesus.”
Logic is critical to arriving at truth. How can anyone arrive at truth if his mind is filled a bundle of contradictory irrational concepts that cannot begin to be brought to bear in any logical or cohesive way to a conclusion. Christianity demands rationality. The spiritual life demands rationality. The very act of applying faith promises to a situation is a logical activity. It should be no surprise that it is those Christians (i.e. mystics, Holy Rollers, Charismatics) who downplay logic who live in anxiety, fear and have the greatest problems with mental illness. Consider the peace and blessings of the Christian who appreciates and uses logic to apply what logically necessary must follow from God’s Word. How can a logical Bible-believing Christian be afraid? God gave us His promises and if we apply them logically to the situations then how can we be afraid? Take death, when a logical Bible-believing Christian believes that when he dies he goes to be face to face with the Lord and logically applies it in his life how can he be afraid of death? On the other hand consider just how irrational/illogical the Christian is who says he believes the Word of God and what it says about how dying and going to be with the Lord is “far better,” and how Christ came to remove our fear of death, and yet this Christian is afraid to death of death. For a Christian to live in fear and anxiety about life or death is irrational. Irrationality is no friend of the Christian. It is one of the greatest enemies of Christianity. It is because of logic that we have Bible doctrine—there would be no understanding of the Trinity if not for logically putting together all of what God’s Word says about the one God and the three persons of the One Godhead. Logic has been attacked and maligned in Christian circles for about 200 years and the results have been absolutely devastating—both doctrinally for the church as a whole and for the individual spiritual lives of millions of Christians for at least hundreds of years.
Consider the centurion’s faith with its logical (what necessarily must follow) applications to his situation and how Christ honored him,
Luke 7:6-9 Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, "Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; 7 for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 "For I, too, am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, 'Go!' and he goes; and to another, 'Come!' and he comes; and to my slave, 'Do this!' and he does it." 9 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the multitude that was following Him, "I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith."
It is very easy for a logical Bible-believing Christian to say and believe with absolute confidence, “God says it and so that settles it.” It is the irrational believer who lacks confidence in the validity of logic that has problems with all of those mental hobgoblins of “what ifs.” His problem is with logic or faith or both. The solution is the Word of God under the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The solution is to gain the mind of Christ, the Logos (the logical, rational word).
Christian doctrine matters!