Category: Logic

Profound Problems with Religious Pluralism

Novelist Yann Martel’s book Life of Pi (now a major motion picture) embodies the popular notion that all religions are simultaneously true. The story’s young protagonist embraces aspects of multiple faiths (Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity), viewing these beliefs as equally valid but different paths to God. Unfortunately religious pluralism fails to appreciate the profound problems associated with it.

Debating the Authority of Scripture

How much authority does the Bible hold over the subjects it addresses? Believers sometimes hold differing answers to this question. Protestants promote the principle of sola Scriptura (Scripture as the supreme authority), while according to the Catholic position, tradition shares authority with the Bible.

Five-Point Logic Checklist

One of the most important skills to master, particularly if you intend to share your faith with others, is how to form a logical argument. Though it might seem complicated, an argument in logic is really a very simple thing. To have an argument you must make a claim (called the conclusion) and provide support (called premises) for believing the…

An Intellectual Code of Conduct, Part 3

Common sense says we should consider pros and cons before making big decisions. Imagine choosing a university to attend or deciding to go through major surgery without weighing all the evidence for and against your choices. The same concept applies to intellectual pursuits—in order to maintain intellectual integrity, we must take into account all the evidence for and against our…

An Intellectual Code of Conduct, Part 2

Wild goose chase, rabbit trail, red herring—all these idioms refer to diversionary tactics. A mystery writer might use a red herring character to distract readers (and even the detective) from the real culprit. A good plot device for authors, but in logic, using a red herring is a fallacy.

An Intellectual Code of Conduct, Part 1

From childhood, we’re taught to follow the Golden Rule: treat others as we want to be treated. Jesus Christ included this principle in His description of the greatest commandments: “The second [commandment] is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

How Theists and Atheists Reason Differently About God

Excerpted from my upcoming book, 7 Truths that Changed the World (Baker 2012) Theists and atheists do reason differently about God and the world. A common skeptical objection to the enterprise of Christian apologetics is that believers engage in a god-of-the-gaps form of reasoning. This charge means that the Christian theist typically attributes gaps in (especially) scientific knowledge to something…

Reflections on the Passing of New Atheist Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011)

Christopher Hitchens, author, journalist, and one of the “four horsemen” of the New Atheist movement, died December 15, 2011, of esophageal cancer. In his 2007 book God is Not Great, Hitchens argued that religions in general—and theistic religion in particular (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam)—are not only false but also harmful for human society. Ironically, Christopher’s younger brother Peter, also a…

Logic Lesson: Truth Trumps Origin

This may shock some of you—but I’m not Spock! Of course, I like to think (or, better yet, have others think) I’m as dispassionate and logical in my thinking as was the original Star Trek science officer Mr. Spock. But, then again, I’m not half Vulcan.