Friday, June 13, 2008

Don't Use Bad Arguments

"It brings no honour to God to resort to dubious arguments in his defence!" -Colin Brown, Philosophy and the Christian Faith, p. 272.

Perhaps driven by the mentality of a fast-food culture that demands instant everything or simply an honest desire to win people to Christ, there is at times an apologetic tendency of expediency that results in the use of flawed approaches and arguments. While flawed arguments may in fact have a positive apologetic impact despite their shortcomings, we should never knowingly utilize poor arguments.

We must also avoid offering simplistic answers to complex issues such as the problem of evil and suffering in relation to Christian theism. Many such issues are multi-faceted and are not served well by quick and easy answers.

Integrity is also central to a well-rounded apologetic approach. We should not try to trick anyone or offer flawed evidence in the hopes of accomplishing a greater good.

Years ago Robert Bowman, Jr. wrote an article ("Indefensible Defenses") on the topic of how not to do apologetics. In it, he writes, "many believers, in their zeal to defend biblical truth, have embraced arguments that are themselves indefensible."

Later he adds, "Apologetics is supposed to demonstrate the truth of Christianity--that is, to show that it is both factual and reasonable. If, then, appeal is made to 'facts' that are falsehoods, or to lines of reasoning that are illogical, Christianity is made to appear dubious ... If we are to be faithful to the God of truth, we must present Christianity in as truthful a manner as we can ... Bad arguments for Christianity, then, are more trouble than they are worth. Fallacious arguments discredit Christianity to those who see the logical errors."

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