God's Existence, Science and Faith, Suffering and Evil, Jesus' Resurrection, and Book Reviews

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Norman Geisler- 10 Quotes on Logic and Christianity

Introduction

Over the years Dr. Norman Geisler has had a profound effect on the way that I think philosophically and theologically. Through his defenses of the Christian worldview (the essentials and nonessentials) in his numerous books and lectures I have been better equipped analyze views, defend the Gospel, and "worship the Father in spirit and in truth" (John 4)

One of the early books that set my path to being able to logically evaluate arguments was "Come, Let Us Reason" (click or tap the title for my full chapter-by-chapter review). In the book, he provides Christians with an introduction to logical thinking that will help them in identifying false claims (that may sound correct on the surface) and in defending true claims. I have compiled a few of my favorite quotes from that excellent book in this post. If you have not picked up a copy yet, I highly recommend that you do.


Why Do Christians Need Logic?- Logic and God

"Logic is a way to think so that we can come to correct conclusions by understanding implications and the mistakes people often make in thinking."

"From the standpoint of reality, we understand that God is the basis of all logic. As the ultimate reality, all truth is ultimately found in him. He has created the reality that we know and in which we have discovered the laws of logic. Even Jesus said, 'I am...the truth' (John 14:6). He has structured the world in such a way that these laws cannot be denied; however, we did not know God first and then learn logic from him. He exists as the basis of all logic (in reality), but we discovered logic first and came to know God through it. This is true even if we came to know God through his revelation, because we understand the revelation through logic. In the order of being. God is first; but in the order of knowing, logic leads us to all knowledge of God. God is the basis of all logic (in the order of being), but logic is the basis of all knowledge of God (in the order of knowing)."

Quote from book "Come Let Us Reason" by Norman Geisler: "From the standpoint of reality, we understand that God is the basis of all logic. As the ultimate reality, all truth is ultimately found in him. He has created the reality that we know and in which we have discovered the laws of logic. Even Jesus said, 'I am...the truth' (John 14:6). He has structured the world in such a way that these laws cannot be denied; however, we did not know God first and then learn logic from him. He exists as the basis of all logic (in reality), but we discovered logic first and came to know God through it. This is true even if we came to know God through his revelation, because we understand the revelation through logic. In the order of being. God is first; but in the order of knowing, logic leads us to all knowledge of God. God is the basis of all logic (in the order of being), but logic is the basis of all knowledge of God (in the order of knowing)." #Logic #Reason #Epistemology #Philosophy


"We use logic in the process of knowing God, but that does not mean that God came after logic in reality. without God, nothing could have existence. God is the basis of all logic in reality and he is in no way inferior to logic. Logic comes from God, not God from logic. But when it comes to how we know things, logic is the basis of all thought, and it must come before any thought about anything, including God. For example, I need a map before I can get to Washington, D.C. But Washington must exist before the map can help me get there. Even so, we use logic first to come to know God, but God exists first before we can know him."

"Unless valid inferences can be made from what is known to what is unknown, there can be no theological argumentation. Whether in a discussion between Christians on a matter of interpretation or in a debate with a non-Christian, no one could prove any point without the laws of rational inference."

How Do You Think Correctly?- Using Logic

"Using syllogisms is called deductive logic because it involves deducing particular conclusions from general statements. In inductive logic, we start with the particulars and reason to general principles. Deductive logic starts with the cause and reasons to the effect, while inductive logic starts with the effects and attempts to find the cause. That is why deductive reasoning is called a prior (prior to looking at the facts) and inductive reasoning is called a posteriori (after seeing the evidence). Syllogisms are more philosophical, and inductive arguments are more scientific. The biggest difference, though, is that deductive arguments yield necessary conclusions (that is, the conclusions are necessarily true if the premises are true and the inferences are valid), but inductive reasoning yields only probable conclusions. The conclusions might have a high degree of probability, but they are still not as certain as deductive conclusions."

"You may not know what the significance of some piece of information is, but you must note it in case it becomes important later. Even the smallest clue may change the whole direction of your understanding."

"Analogies can be used to present very strong and effective arguments, but analogies are good only when there are strong similarities and only nonessential differences between the things being compared."

Quote from "Come Let Us Reason" by Norman Geisler: "Analogies can be used to present very strong and effective arguments, but analogies are good only when there are strong similarities and only nonessential differences between the things being compared." #Logic #Reason #Analogy #Philosophy


How Can Thinking Go Wrong?- Fallacies In Logic

"Whenever there is controversy over an issue, the appeal to authority is weakened in direct proportion to the strength of the controversy...All appeals to authority ultimately rest on the evidence that the authority has. The only reason to quote an authority is that he knows the evidence better than we do. The letters after his name don't mean a thing without the evidence to back up his position."

"[Special pleading] is [a] way to make certain the opposing view doesn't get a fair shake. Here only the evidence that supports one view is cited, and the rest is left out...If there are ten studies that show your view to be false, ignore them and make a big point about the one that confirms your conclusion. Really, this argument counts on the listener to be ignorant of the facts. That way anything can be claimed, and no objection can be raised. However, if someone knows about the other ten studies, you're in trouble. This kind of argument can be torn apart easily if all the facts are made known."

Quote from "Come Let Us Reason" by Norman Geisler: "[Special pleading] is [a] way to make certain the opposing view doesn't get a fair shake. Here only the evidence that supports one view is cited, and the rest is left out...If there are ten studies that show your view to be false, ignore them and make a big point about the one that confirms your conclusion. Really, this argument counts on the listener to be ignorant of the facts. That way anything can be claimed, and no objection can be raised. However, if someone knows about the other ten studies, you're in trouble. This kind of argument can be torn apart easily if all the facts are made known." #Logic #Fallacy #SpecialPleading #Philosophy #Reason


"[No] view should be accepted on the basis of ignorance. That is no way to find truth! Let positive evidence be presented and evaluated for both sides, and the truth can be known...If a conclusion is false, it is only a matter of finding the fallacy or the untrue premises (or both)."

For more great quotes from Dr. Geisler on various other topics, see these posts:


Here are my chapter-by-chapter reviews of other books he (co)authored:

Monday, July 1, 2019

Top 5 Books on Having Productive Conversations

Introduction- How To Have Productive Discussions With Those With Whom You Disagree

In today's cultural climate, discussions of great importance, such as politics, worldview, morality, and science, often get heated. All sides are trying to convince the other sides that one view is correct and all others are incorrect. Usually, the sides reject the others due to their seeing that it does not match with the world as it is and/or that it violates some universally recognized, objective moral value. Those who strongly desire to be on the side of reality and morality have a deep conviction of the falsehood of the violating views and a deep conviction of the truth of their own views (assuming that view does not also violate reality). These deep convictions often cause discussions about which view is correct to get quite emotional. Each side accuses the others of either being unwilling to deal with reality and/or of being pure evil.

Unlike what some people may believe, the reality of the world and morality are not at odds with one another, so if all sides are truly committed to truth and morality, there is nothing to fear from discovering that our views need tweaking or are completely wrong and need to be jettisoned. But how do we get from staunchly believing that our view is the only possible true view to thinking that we could be wrong, and how do we converse with others who do hold to a wrong view and need to change their view? For Christians, we are given the command to "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do so with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15).

Monday, May 27, 2019

7 Independent Lines of Evidence for God's Existence

Introduction- Why Is God's Existence So Important?

One of the most heated debates in any setting is the existence of God. If God exists, then He is the foundation for objective morality. One's view of morality governs their thinking in everything from politics to workplace interactions, from scientific research to everyday behavior. If God exists, then there are objective behavioral boundaries which should never be crossed. If God does not exist, then no such objective boundaries exist, and anyone may behave however they wish in any situation without concern for the violation of some objective standard (that is not to say that relative/cultural/legal standards cannot be violated- but that is a topic for another time). If we do not examine this question carefully, we risk believing what is false about reality and morality, and such false beliefs will necessarily lead to behaviors that are not in keeping with reality and morality. This means that many of the political and ethic debates opposing people have come down to whether or not God exists.