TOPIC PAGE

— Bible Apologetics —

Topic definition

Proving the veracity of religious truth claims can be very difficult. I suspect this is because people rarely come to faith through merely rational processes, but rather through accidents of birth, appeal to passions and fears, and etc. The rationalizations come afterwards, to explain what has already been accepted for other reasons. Below is an example which contains several logical fallacies. It should be noted that a poor argument for a religion does not in itself invalidate the religion. It merely poorly defends it.

If the Bible is nothing more than the work of men, then it was either written by good men, or by evil men. Now, if it was written by good men, they would not have lied about its origin. Paul, who wrote 2 Timothy, declared that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God (3:16). And in 1 Cor. 14:37 he wrote, “the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” And Peter, in his second epistle, wrote that the Scriptures were given by men “moved by the Holy Ghost” (1:21). Many other examples could be given. If these were good and honest men, they would not have lied. Therefore, if the Bible was written merely by men who were not inspired of God, then it was written by evil men. But evil men would have written it to their liking! And they would have written it to the liking of other evil men! The truth is, however, that it is NOT written to the liking of evil men. It is not to their taste at all. It speaks of sin; it declares that sinners will spend eternity in the lake of fire; it calls the worldly pleasures so beloved of evil men, sin; it exalts the grace of God, and lays low the works of men; it calls Christians to holy living, to the mortification of the works of the flesh; etc., etc. Such teachings are not to the taste of evil men. They hate them!

Flagged fallacies

false_dilemma by Andrew Kenworthy

Explanation

The argument tries to make it’s point by saying that men are either all good or all bad, but the truth is that good men can do bad things. There is a grey area here which is being ignored in order to make you think that your only options are solidly either “this” or “that”.

False Dilemma(AKA Either/or): This is a conclusion that oversimplifies the argument by reducing it to only two sides or choices.

Forum

Either/or falacy created
posted by GhiOm on February 26, 2010 19:29

Hey Andrew!

I just created the either/or fallacy (under the name “false dilemma”), maybe you can edit you flag to it if you wish. Don’t forget you can also create fallacies, even if they are stubs, we will edit them later. You can create a fallacy by visiting the “Fallacies” link in the top-left corner of the page.

Cheers!

Doing the wrong thing for the right reason
posted by Michel Daw on February 26, 2010 20:11

I agree with Andrew’s identification of the either/or fallacy. The truth is that not all evil men always do evil things, nor do good men always do good things. In fact most people do bad things inadvertently, believing that they are doing good. Whatever errors, mistakes or moral problems one may have with the Bible, they can be as much the product or ordinary men as the most beautiful and moving passages.

We should not ignore the possibility that these regular fallible people were doing the best they knew how, ‘inspired’ by their desire to do some good in the world. Or perhaps that is too polyanna. I guess I am just trying to avoid another either/or, where we position the Bible as either inspired or garbage.