A Conversation on the Life of the Mind, Part 4

Is it possible to please God as much by thinking as by praying? The answer is yes (though hopefully you’re also thinking while praying). This conversation-style series centered on the life of the Christian mind ends appropriately with a quiz to test your thinking. (If you missed the previous installments, they can be accessed here: part 1, part 2, and part 3.)

The following quiz consists of 10 syllogisms (arguments). In a logical syllogism the first two sentences serve as the premises (support or evidence) followed immediately by the conclusion (the central claim). The challenge is to determine which of these arguments are valid, that is, where the conclusion follows necessarily from the premises. In other words, if the premises are assumed true, then conclusion follows with certainty.

The first person to post a comment with all the correct answers will receive a signed copy of my brand-new book, Christian Endgame: Careful Thinking about the End Times. Editor Maureen Moser will announce the winner (and the answers) on Friday, November 1.

Good luck!


1. All Christians should seek to love God with all of their faculties.
2. The mind is a faculty.
3. Therefore, all Christians should seek to love God with their mind.

1. God wants all people to use their minds in service to him.
2. My mind isn’t very strong.
3. Therefore, it is less important for me to serve God with my mind.

1. God calls all people to love him with their minds.
2. Only certain people have robust minds.
3. Therefore, only the mentally robust should love God with their minds.

1. The mind is a terrible thing to waste.
2. Some minds are limited.
3. Therefore, it is not terrible to waste a mind.

1. God gives some people strong cerebral faculties with which to serve him.
2. I don’t have strong cerebral faculties.
3. Therefore, it isn’t important for me to use my cerebral faculties to serve God.

1. All Christians should seek to serve God with their entire being.
2. The mind is a part of a person’s being.
3. Therefore, all Christians should seek to serve God with their mind.

1. God wants all people to love him with their minds.
2. I’m not very interested in the mind.
3. Therefore, loving God with my mind isn’t important.

1. God wants people to use their mental faculties in his service.
2. Some people have extremely limited faculties.
3. Therefore, using one’s faculties in service to God is unimportant.

1. God wants all people to reason carefully.
2. Some people are not careful in their reasoning.
3. Therefore, God doesn’t care how people reason.

1. All Christians should seek to love God with their minds.
2. Individual Christians have different mental abilities.
3. Therefore, all Christians should love God with their minds regardless of mental ability.

  One thought on “A Conversation on the Life of the Mind, Part 4

  1. Daniel Shire
    October 29, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    The correct syllogisms are A, F, J

  2. John Tsai
    October 29, 2013 at 1:02 pm


  3. October 29, 2013 at 1:32 pm


  4. October 29, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Only A and F are valid. J’s conclusion does not include the word “seek.”

  5. October 29, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    You have to get up pretty early in the afternoon to get ahead of me…but evidently these gentlemen did. 😉

  6. October 29, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    A,F, & J are valid, though Luke makes a fair point for precision’s sake. (Wish I’d logged in earlier!)

  7. Manny
    October 29, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    A, F and J. I know I’m late, but… A) Kenneth needs to sell books B) Kenneth needs advocates to help promote the sale of his book c) Therefore, Kenneth should give a book to each person who answered his blog so that they can be advocates and help him sell more books

  8. Matthew Williams
    October 29, 2013 at 9:25 pm


  9. Vera
    October 30, 2013 at 3:54 am

    None of the above. God says clearly that it is possible to love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind and your strength. (Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27) To suggest that this is impossible is to call God a liar. And if there is one thing God can’t do, it is lie. Secondly, all of these arguments leave out one key component – grace, which is God’s power to set men free from sin making them Spirit led versus flesh driven. Romans 6, 7, and 8, Galatians, Philipians, Colossians. Without the law when we receive grace exercising our own faith that comes through the hearing of the Word, we obtain a righteousness by faith apart from the law and it is real and genuine. (Phil 3:6) Ditch the Calvinism. It is a bad theological position that leads to pride and a tolerance of sin. God states clearly that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom. Test what people say against the Word. Do not assume that someone knows more than you do. Put it to the test. Thank you for letting me post! Vera

    • October 30, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      Dear Vera:

      Wow! Where do I begin? Your remarks seem an odd fit in the context of a logic quiz. Here’s a couple thoughts in response:

      1. “None of the above.”

      Does that mean that all of these syllogisms are invalid?

      2. “To suggest that this is impossible [to love God with one’s entire being] is to call God a liar.”

      The point of the four-part article series on the life of the mind is actually to encourage believers to love God with all of their faculties.

      3. “all of these arguments leave out one key component – grace.”

      If you read the four-part series on the life of the mind you’ll find that I talk about reason being the good gift of God’s grace.

      4. “Ditch the Calvinism. It is a bad theological position that leads to pride and a tolerance of sin.”

      What does this comment have to do with the logic quiz?

      Actually it is called Reformed theology. And it is important for me to say that while I belong to that theological tradition, the Christian apologetics organization that I work for and who sponsors this blog site (Reasons to Believe) has its own independent doctrinal statement. RTB is broadly evangelical in its theological views and nondenominational.

      I wonder if in your careful theological evaluation whether you have ever read such historic Reformed theological sources as the Three Forms of Unity and the Westminster Standards? In stark contrast to your comments, the Reformed Christians that I know value highly such virtues as humility and holiness.

      5. “Do not assume that someone knows more than you do. Put it to the test.”

      I agree that truth-claims need to be tested (1 Thess. 5:21). But the doctrine of common grace indicates that we have much to learn from others including people who do not affirm Christianity.

      Respectfully yours.

  10. October 31, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    I agree with Luke. A, F = valid b,c,d,e,g,h,i,j = not valid

  11. October 31, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    And since Luke didn’t list all 10 answers… Technically… If we(he and myself) are correct, I should win the prize because I listed all 10. Right?

  12. November 1, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Thank you to everyone who participated in the quiz! Nearly everyone got the right answers (A, F, and J are valid), but as Daniel Shire got here first, he is the winner of a free, signed copy of “Christian Endgame.” Congrats, Daniel!

    On another note, Luke, Ken asked me to tell you that you made a good point and he should have included “seek” in the last syllogism, however that detail doesn’t negate the syllogism’s validity.

  13. November 1, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Benjamin- LOL

    I figured it was probably a typo. But just in the case that it was a trick (haha) I wanted to give it my best shot. 🙂

    I am curious, though, how the conclusion can follow. Is there a small enough different between “should” and “should seek” that they have pretty much have the same meaning thus not negate the validity of the argument?

    Have a great weekend!

  14. November 4, 2013 at 4:05 pm


    You just want a new signed book!

    I’ll send you one if you promise to review it.

    • November 4, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      Absolutely, Ken! I will not say “no” to that offer! I’m working on one review right now, but once its done, yours will be next. 🙂

      But I am still curious. 😉

  15. November 5, 2013 at 12:26 pm


    You’ve got a keen eye and I should have included the word “seek.” However, as I see it I don’t think the absence of the word removes the conclusion’s basic validity. Sometimes the language can be a little different without changing the meaning reflected in the premises. Though I grant validity (in deduction) usually requires greater logical precision than does strength (in induction). See my book A World of Difference.

    I appreciate your apologetics ministry and I also value the careful and fair-minded book reviews you write.

    A copy of my book is on its way to you.

  16. December 1, 2013 at 5:30 am

    Christ’s return is clearly two events often seen as one!) Mat’24v38-44. They will be eating drinking and making merry! When I come, after the tribulation? They will be working really after the tribulation? Is anyone doing this in Syria now? Then will be much worst! And you will have to have the mark to do any of this and Christ will not take any of them so must be before! Then at the end with his gathered ones at the mount of olives.

  17. December 31, 2013 at 4:30 pm


    I recommend my new book on eschatology to you. I’ll bet it is different than virtually all the books on end times that you’ve read.


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