April 23, 2015

A Short Note on Logic and the Christian

By In Blogs, C.Jay Engel

Let it be known that any attempt by an atheist or agnostic to dismiss the Christian on the basis of the assumption that religion rejects logic and reason while preferring “faith” instead, falls completely and utterly flat against us. It is a hopeless critique for the simple reason that there is nothing true about it. Rather than seperating faith from reason, as if they were two distinct categories a la Thomas Aquinas, the Christian ought to follow Augustine in bringing them together so as to make “faith” synonomous with “belief,” which is synonomous with “mental assent.” Thus, “faith” describes, not the absence of logic, but the intellectualistic status of a proposition in the mind of the rational thinker. To believe anything, even “the facts” of a given scientific test per the naturalistic worldview, is to have faith, that is, to agree with the “fact” in propositional form. Defined in this way, everyone believes something, and thus, everyone has faith in something.

The purpose of logic, which may be defined per Gordon Clark as “the science of necessary inference,” is to lead the thinker from one proposition to the next. Logic is a tool, a necessary way of thinking, that allows him to discover propositions beyond one’s epistemological starting point. Logic then, rather than being rejected by religious men, is embraced and emphasized. God’s thinking is pure and consistent, therefore it is logical. To deny logic is to dishonor God. The atheist critic then, rather than attacking biblical Christianity in this way, is wasting his time lambasting Christians who have deviated, in one way or the other, from the Biblical worldview itself. If he seeks to critique Christianity, let him first understand our system.

And let the Christian apologist never cower from his use of logic and reason. And let him also presuppose the proper starting point, which is the very propositional word of God.

Consider Clark:

“It is strange that anyone who thinks he is a Christian should deprecate logic. Such a person does not of course intend to deprecate the mind of God; but he thinks that logic in man is sinful, even more sinful than other parts of man’s fallen nature. This, however, makes no sense. The law of contradiction cannot be sinful. Quite the contrary, it is our violations of the law of contradiction that are sinful. Yet the strictures which some devotional writers place on “merely human” logic are amazing. Can such pious stupidity really mean that a syllogism that is valid for us is invalid for God? If two plus two is four in our arithmetic, does God have a different arithmetic in which two and two makes three or perhaps five? The fact that the Son of God is God’s reason-for Christ is the wisdom of God as well as the power of God-plus the fact that the image in man is so-called “human reason,” suffices to show that this so-called “human reason” is not so much human as divine.”

http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=16

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com