Thursday, February 23, 2012

Christian Logical Fallacies

Fallacy of the Complex Question. This fallacy puts people "in a bind" so that whether they answer "yes" or "no" to this question--and indeed these two answers are the only ones available--they indict themselves as guilty perpetrators.

Prime examples:
  1. Have you stopped beating your wife?
  2. Have you stopped cheating on your tests?
  3. Have you stopped being overly analytical and critical of others?
I ran across this one recently:

"If you were standing before God, could you describe your relationship to Him by saying, "I love You with all my heart, and all my soul and all my mind and all my strength"?

Now, I've been informed that this question is really meant to serve as an encouragement for Christians to love God with their whole being, as indeed should be the case. Nevertheless, this question commits the fallacy of the complex question because if one answers with a "Yes," then the guilt of pride lies close at hand. How would God respond to an affirmative answer to this question? Would the Lord reveal a particular sin, or sinful habit we have not noticed that sneaks around in our lives?

On the other hand, if someone says, "No, I don't love God with my whole being," then the indictment is one of unbelief. We wonder, "Why? Why don't you love God with your whole being? What's wrong with you?"

The proper response would be "Yes, in my spirit, which is renewed by Christ, I love God with my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, but I still struggle with indwelling sin and this indwelling sin is at war with the Holy Spirit within me, causing me to fail daily in my love for Him, and yet, by the grace of God, I'm growing in my love for Him." Paul says this clearly in Galatians 5 about life in the Spirit.

The proper way to form the question would be: In what ways do you strive to keep the greatest commandment, to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength? This leaves the question open-ended. We may detect the fallacy of the complex question by its very nature, which is close-ended, and requires either a "yes" or "no" answer.

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