It’s Not Logical Captain

As I was sitting down after finally having a chance to write this week in semi-peace, I thought about something I had heard a few days ago and it made no sense to me at all. And although it doesn’t take much to flummox my meager little mind, this was something that no one else I asked seemed to have the answer to either; not even the people who said it to being with.

The matter in question is that of what has been described to me as “earthly logic.” Now obviously we are on the earth. And we do use logic. Therefore, all logic on earth is earthly logic. Even that was logical. But the term is only used when I am in the presence of Christian types who apparently get their kicks from giving me a terminal migraine. You would know them as those crazy fundamentalists. The term “earthly logic” is used by them to be juxtaposed against its obvious counterpart: “heavenly logic.” So logically, these two are mirror images of each-other and using one means not using the other.

Now apparently, this “heavenly logic” is somewhat different from “earthly logic.” The way I understand it, it means, well… no logic. In other words, a statement completely void of any rationality and would in any other setting (and it is) be discounted and rubbish and thrown into the garbage can after a good laugh and pat on the back. But lets have an example shall we? First let us consider a simple statement using “earthly logic” and then after that use “heavenly logic” to prove something in the same manner.

So, “earthly logic.” Given: When a computer is on, its power light glows. The power light is glowing. Therefore, the computer is on.

And, “heavenly logic.” Given: Whatever the Bible says is true. The Bible says the Bible is true. Therefore, the Bible is true.

Now obviously the first syllogism has a problem, the given statement before the logic could be false. The light might be out and the computer could be on anyway. But by and large the first “earthly logic” statement would be considered logical. However, the second example, the “heavenly logic” is a paradox. It is self-fulfilling and thus also self-contradictory. Plus, the given statement is something of an opinion and is not provable using the current logical information provided.

The example I have shown you is a common theme in Christianity today. Whenever a Christian doesn’t like an argument, they usually pull out the old “well thats earthly logic” routine to downplay any point the opposition has put forward. I have heard this statement personally from ministers on down through the memberships and even into the teens. They all seem to think, or at least propose for the sake of winning their argument by default, that there exists a separate logic with which to play by: that of heavenly logic.

Now far be it from me to use this article to try and say that Christianity is illogical. Far from it! I believe whole-heartedly that all of Christianity… well at least rational Christianity is well… rational, and subject to testing via all logical arguments. What I AM saying in this article is that there are no differences between “heavenly” and “earthly” logic. All logic is logic. ((Wikipedia – Logic))

Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is by turning the “heavenly logic” around on itself. Lets supposed I make the following observation: the bible could be a simple collection of stories. Stories are not always true. Therefore, some of the bible may not be true. Now I don’t believe this, but I’m using it as an illustration. A “heavenly logic proponent would say, “You are using earthly logic, what you are saying isn’t true.” Lets look at their argument based on their own observation: “earthly logic” may not always be true. What I just said was “earthly logic.” Therefore, it may not (or as always in these cases, IS not) true. Sound familiar? It’s the same argument but wrapped up in something that looks like “heavenly logic.”

“Heavenly logic” can then be described in two ways. One way is to say there is no difference so they are using the same logic we are. And this is reasonable to say. In fact God himself uses logic all the time, “earthly logic” I might add. The second way, and normally the way it should be interpreted is, no logic or an anti-logic. A way of reasoning that suspends all rational thought and instead substitutes personal wishes or quotes of authority.

This second way sheds light on the people who say it: anti-intellectuals. ((Wikipedia – Anti-Intellectuals)) These are people who would rather not try and reason their way through a paper bag in case they find something, like in my bible logic syllogism, that could tear their whole life apart. The reason this can happen is that they have set themselves up for this to happen. Like in the “the bible is true because it says so” case, most of their reasoning, if you can call it that, is self sustaining and will crumble if challenged. Thus, these people decry all intellectual pursuits as counter to their own cause. They say that science and schools are out to get them because something science has found has disproved one of their non-changing and irrational beliefs that holds up an entire chain of other facts. ((Their Own Version of a Big Bang by Stephanie Simon – LA Times)) If the one link fails then they all fail.

The most common of these is the Creation (again). Fundamentalists and anti-intellectuals will say: What the bible says is true because God wrote it. If the bible says it happened in 6 days, it happened in six days. All other notions are wrong. Now should something come along and say, “but this notion seems to be right,” bad things happen to the argument. If one other notion is right, then the Creation may not have happened in 6 days, therefore the bible is wrong, therefore God is wrong, and therefore God does not exist. It is for this reason that most evolutionary science is denounced as a purely atheistic propaganda vehicle with no other purpose than to disprove God.

Now it is true there is some logic behind this thinking, its very very bad logic, but it is logic. The problem is that logic is an interlinking thing, especially when it comes to something as complex as the Christian religion. Just because one previously held theory (yes THEORY) of how to interpret the bible has failed in light of some external factor, does not mean that another one will come in to take its place. When the six-day theory failed, the day-age theory stepped in. If it fails, another will take its place. Logic chains this complex can adjust to new information to make the web more and more complete and sturdy.

Logic is tool that is to be used as a vehicle for proofs and for deduction. Proving that the computer may be on despite the power light not being on does not mean that there is no computer. Just as proving the six-day theory wrong doesn’t mean God exist. It means you need to back up and change the logic and see if it fits with the new information. Are there other ways to see if the computer is on? Yes, many. Then there are also many logical arguments that will always lead back to God and all are based on “earthly logic.” It’s only logical.

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  1. #1 by Noni on March 20, 2006 - 9:58 pm

    Very entertaining.

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