Opinions on faith and life

Sloppy Apologetics

2008-06-06

::sigh::

I really don’t enjoy nitpicking at an otherwise good expose of false teachings, but this is just unacceptable.

Today, in Part 4 of the series at Herescope on Brian McLaren’s “Change” tour, I was very disappointed in this paragraph:

This entire line of reasoning is reminiscent of a geometry proof gone bad. If one begins with an incorrect statement, then the entire proof is corrupted and the conclusion will be skewed. For instance; if A = B (hell is not for those who reject Christ as Lord and Savior but for those who do not work for social and economic justice), and if B = C; (those who do spend their lives in this most noble enterprise will be in heaven, not because of personal faith in Christ’s finished work at Calvary, but by virtue of their humanistic compassion for their fellow man’s struggle with injustice). Therefore, (according the “transitory property” of geometric proofs) A = C (Heaven is for all who care for their fellow man’s economic and political condition regardless of whether or not they profess faith in Christ, or are the member of any other particular religion or belief system (Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, etc.)!
We have to be better than this if we expect anyone to take us seriously. First, it isn’t geometry but algebra, and second, it isn’t the transitory property but the transitive property (see Here). It would have also been far better to look for a logical, rather than a mathematical, analogy to try and illustrate what’s wrong with these twisted theologies. For example, let’s state a typical syllogism and then compare the arguments presented here:

To be valid, the syllogism must have 2 premises and a conclusion. But the one given here only has one premise:

In the above paragraph, the conclusion is actually one of the premises. It’s just a mess and really doesn’t make a good point. Put more simply, we could just say that the false teachers have changed the gospel into one of their own making; it really isn’t an example of the slippery slope fallacy at all (which is what they seem to have been driving at), but the predictable conclusions one would draw from a man-made gospel.

3 Comments

Jamie

You’re a smart little nerdy girl, Paula.

I’ve never been that impressed with Herescope and have noticed before that they can take something that should only require a simplistic explanation- and complicate it. Trying to be impressive, maybe?

Paula Fether

Aw, yer just sayin’ that... ;-) Tanx!

I dunno, I’ve read a lot of good material there. And I’m not always sure where their own comments leave off and they’re quoting the pastor who’s supplying the report. But whoever it is, they need to remember that it’s this sort of carelessness that makes skeptics block us out. Can’t be too careful.

Jamie

It’s been awhile since I’ve read anything there; I will check it out. I like ’apostasy watch’, but even with them I’ve found a few over exaggerations. Not saying they make it a habit but the ONE time I did investigate one of their statements on my own I found some things that weren’t consistent with what they were saying.

But I do appreciate the apologetics sites, they are priceless in the hour we are living in. Every now and then it’s good to check behind them just so they don’t get too sloppy.