THE IMPORTANCE OF LOGIC IN CHRISTIANITY
FOR A SOUND DOCTRINAL, SPIRITUAL & MENTAL LIFE
Part 6: The Irrationality of a Christian’s Fear of Death
The Three Basic Laws of Logic
Logic is extremely important in defending the faith against skeptics as well as in maintaining a good healthy spiritual/doctrinal life. Regarding the former, skeptics have every right to reject something that they have no reason to believe. If I asked a skeptic to join the Cult of Eckor and he asked me why, and all I said was “because this mysterious voice told me to tell you this,” he has every right to reject “my faith” in Eckor. How in the world would the skeptic know if the mysterious voice was legitimate if I did not offer any rational evidence? Anytime a Christian gives bad (irrational) answers to a skeptic there is no reason for the skeptic to believe what the Christian tells him. Reason is the whole point. The Bible specifically tells us to give a reason for the hope that is in us, cf. 1 Pet. 3:15; Jude 3. We are to give good reasons for our faith. There is absolutely nothing pious about being irrational and wrong about God. It does not bring God glory when we use fallacious arguments. If God is truth (“and He is,” 1st class condition) and everything about Him is true, then if we give a bad argument (an irrational argument) then that does not reflect His glory—in fact it is shameful to bring irrationality to the Lord, the Rational Logos. To portray God as being irrational is to portray a crazy god.
Logic is very important to the Christian’s spiritual life as well. Even if a Christian is saved by some emotional appeal to believe in Jesus Christ, sooner or later he must come down off of his “high,” and ask if that faith was rational. Countless Christians have been saved by emotional appeals only later to reject or discard the faith because they were not given the powerful rational reasons, and thus concluded it was simply an emotional experience. Christianity is not about emotional experiences, it is about Truth! That is why God gives us so much evidence for the veracity of Christianity. Christianity is never to be relegated to the realm of “it works for me” ideology. If Christianity is all about how one feels or what one wants, then it simply joins the ranks of the many new age religions that “work” by helping one deal with a number of temporal life issues from alcoholism to problems with self-esteem, marriage, and loneliness—in fact many churches have come little more than Lonely Hearts Clubs. What is unfortunate is that there are genuine believers who are not even aware of the great arguments for Christianity and the importance of logic in their own spiritual lives. Young people are leaving Christian churches in droves because they realize how silly and irrelevant the churches have become with all of the programs for weak people—who in many cases seem about half crazy anyway. Anytime a question is asked regarding evidence for the existence of God, they are simply patted on the head and are summarily told “it works for me….makes my life better….just believe” or some other motto. Instead of being armed with the powerful arguments for Christianity, they are often given some "pragmatic" platitude. In some churches they are told that that was what faith was all about—in other words faith and reason are antithetical to each other. While one can become a Christian without understanding the powerful arguments for Christianity, it is impossible to continue living, growing, and thriving in the authentic Christian life apart from rationality. The doctrinal life demands rationality.
One of the best illustrations of how a believer cannot thrive in true Christianity apart from sound reasoning or logical principles is in the area of fear of death. Over the past fifteen years I have been in the homes of many Charismatics who were on the death beds. I have had the unfortunate experience of seeing their enormous fear of death. I have said it before and will say it again: any Christian who is afraid of death is not living the spiritual life—certainly not living in the realities of the doctrines in the Bible that inform us about what death really is all about.
So what does this have to do with logic? Everything! No believer can be afraid of death if he rationally believes what the Bible says about the Christian in death. Let me put forth a fictional colloquy between rational Christian (RC) and an irrational Christian (IC). The IC is on her death bed facing her death with enormous fear and terror (I have witnessed this fear and heard some of the remarks below many times).
RC. How are you?
IC. Oh…I am afraid….very very afraid! Help me! I am so afraid to die!
RC. It’s OK…. You have nothing to fear….the Lord is here.
IC. But I am so afraid of dying! Help me please….I do not want to die.
RC. Well….may I read you some Scriptures?
IC. Yes! O help me..I am so afraid….I don’t want to die…please help!
RC. (He reads Psa 23; 2 Cor 5:8-10; Philip 1:21-23; Psa 116:15)
IC. Thank you! I am still so afraid to die…I do not want to die! Help!
I hate to admit it…I am so ashamed, but I do not know if I really believe what those passages say about death.
RC. What do you mean?
IC I just don’t know if its really really true.
RC. Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God?
IC. Of course…praise the Lord! Thank you Jesus!!!
RC. Then how could it not be true? If you believe the Bible is the Word of God and the Word of God reveals how the believer goes to be face to face with the Lord, then how can you not believe the Bible’s word on this?
IC. I don’t know. I really do believe the Bible is the Word of God, but I do not know if I really believe what it says about death.
RC. Do you believe that Jesus Christ always told the truth? Did He ever lie? Was He ever mistaken?
IC. Praise Jesus! Of course He always told the truth. He never lied—He is the Eternal God!!! As God He never made a mistake.
RC. Are you SURE that He never lied or was mistaken?
IC. Yes! Absolutely. Jesus could never lie. He is my Lord!! I love Him so much. Praise Jesus! Thank you Lord!
RC. Well…He said He was going to prepare a place for you and that in fact if you believe in Him you really shall never die, in other words all you do is change locations.
IC. I know. Yes! I hear what you are saying but I still don’t really know.
RC. Do you know for sure that Jesus Christ is truly God?
IC Of course! But I still have problems. I am so confused. I don’t feel it.
RC If you believe that Jesus Christ is real and everything He said was true, then how can you doubt what He said in regard to the blessings of death?
IC. I don’t know. This is too logical for me. I just don’t feel right about it.
RC. What about God the Father? Do you believe in God the Father and all that He said?
IC. Of course!
RC. Would He ever lie to you?
RC. Then how can you be afraid of death, since He has informed you that nothing, not even death, would ever separate you from Him and His love?
IC. I don’t know! I just don’t feel right about it. I am so scared!!! I do not want to go! Help me!
RC. Do you believe that fear of death comes from Satan - Heb 2:14-15?
IC. Yes, Satan is always trying to instill fear of death in man! Yes I am afraid but not with that kind of fear.
RC. What do you mean?
IC. I can’t describe it. It does not make sense. Christianity is so much more than being logical. You simply do not understand. It takes more faith. I need more faith….help me with my faith.
RC. Do you want to be with Jesus your Lord?
IC. Yes! Yes! Yes! More than anything in the world…Of course He means more to me than anything else—but I do not want to go now! Don’t you understand?
Obviously, the problem with the irrational Christian was not the need of more faith but more logic and reason in the use of her faith. Faith and reason work together; faith and logic work together in true Christianity to enable us to come up with logical doctrine conclusions that in fact always correspond to reality. To denigrate logic is to create fertile ground for all kinds of mental hobgoblins–which are then usually piously excused as mysteries. Failure to logically connect the doctrines means that the irrational Christian in effect ends up treating God as a liar and the Bible as containing lies – or at least untrustworthy. The irrational Christian really does not trust God or the Bible - and lack of logic plays no small role in this problem.
The rational logical Christian, on the other hand, logically and rationally connects all the passages on any given subject and lives confidently in the conclusions (cf. Heb 11:19). The logical Christian understands, appreciates, and has confidence in the laws of logic and its necessary conclusions regarding God and the Plan of God. He understands that if the Bible is the Word of God, if Jesus Christ never lied or was mistaken, and if God the Father never lied, that he can confidently live in the assurances of what God has revealed about death. The logical Christian understands that it is Satan who enslaves the human race with fear of death.
The irrational Christian it totally divorced from Reality whereas the logical rational Christian is oriented to nature of God and the Bible and how that necessarily impacts his life as well as his last moments in death.
In spite of how postmodern Christianity has denigrated logic, the formal laws of logic are crucial because they are in fact a reflection of reality. Note the three basic laws of logic, and consider how they would have helped this poor frightened irrational Christian orient to God, God’s Word, and her Lord and Savior in her last moments on earth:
(1) The law of identity: when you say “this is a cup” you are saying just that. You are not saying it is a car or a bicycle. If she is logical she would have believed that the Bible is God’s Word–period! She would not “think” that it was God’s Word but then at another time believe it was merely the work of man—the product of wishful thinking.
(2) The law of non-contradiction: you cannot say this is a cup and that it is not a cup. If she were logical she would not believe in effect that the Bible is true and not true at the same time.
(3) The law of excluded middle: this is either a cup or it is not a cup; it is not “both and.” Logic would have kept her from thinking that maybe the Bible is both true and untrue.
Christian doctrine matters!