5 Logical Fallacies Christian Young People Need to Understand

5 Logical Fallacies Christian Young People Need to Understand - Parenting Like HannahYou already know Satan will use other people to try and convince your kids to reject God’s teachings and eventually God, himself. You want to prepare your kids, so they are armed for this battle of words, but may not be sure how to exactly do that.

Obviously, one of the best things you can do is make sure your children really know and understand what is in the Bible. Sometimes though, the people wanting them to reject God and His commands will play a verbal chess game with your kids. They will make use of rhetorical tricks to convince your kids a lie is the truth.

The reason we generally don’t discuss rhetorical tricks is that we all tend to use these them without even realizing it is what we are doing. They are many of the same tricks sales people and politicians use to convince you to “buy” what they are selling. The most common category of those tricks are logical fallacies.

Logical fallacies take an argument against God, His teachings or Christianity and make it sound really logical on the surface. It seems to make sense, which is why logical fallacies tend to work so well. If something seems logical, it must be true. Right? Wrong!

Here are the most commonly used logical fallacies in general, with what they may sound like in an anti-Christian context. (We won’t worry about the fancy Latin names, that at least I can never really remember!)

  1. The person making the argument for Christianity/God/the Bible’s teachings isn’t so great, so why should you believe anything he/she teaches? This argument can take various forms, but the most common is an attack on an author in the Bible, Christians in general, a specific Christian or in the extreme – even Jesus and God. What this argument chooses to ignore is that truth is truth – no matter the general character of the person telling it. For example, if a criminal witnessed a murder and tells the truth about the murderer, that person was indeed the murderer. Whether or not the witness is a murderer himself is irrelevant. We get confused because in court, a witness of questionable character will often have his or her testimony ignored. The bottom line though, if that person is telling the truth, it is the truth regardless.
  2. Drawing an incorrect conclusion based on one piece of evidence that is true. This one is often used to twist scripture and make people believe a lie about what God does or doesn’t want them to do. For example, someone may say Jesus thought it is okay to disobey God because it appears he did when he healed someone on the Sabbath. Technically, Jesus did break the Sabbath, but there is a lot more to the story that makes the conclusion Jesus thought it was okay to disobey God entirely wrong. If you look at the rest of his life and teachings, it becomes obvious Jesus did not preach, believe or practice situational morality. You may hear some Christians talk about “proof texts”. It’s a similar logical fallacy – pulling one verse to prove a point while ignoring the verses surrounding it and other verses on the topic elsewhere in the Bible.
  3. The person making the argument against God or something in the Bible is too smart/well-educated to ignore. Yes, this is the flip side to our first fallacy and is probably used most often when talking about science and God. “So and so has a Phd in biology and is a professor at xyz prestigious university and writes books, so of course everything he says is true.” Not so much. A quick review of scientific “facts” that were later disproved even over the last few decades will show, not even the brightest minds in the world are perfect. The only one we can trust as being 100% correct is God. Christians fall into this trap every day. Wanting to look intelligent, they will dispute what is clearly written in the Bible because they heard or read a well-educated or famous person say it can’t be truth.
  4. Arguments claiming the opposite of God’s truth is true, but without any real evidence. This person will claim one of God’s truths is false and give a “proof”, yet be unable to back their proof up with any real indisputable evidence. This can take a number of difference forms. It’s one of the arguments used in Eden by Satan – that bad thing won’t happen to you because… Usually, the “because” has no real evidence other than the experience of a few people the person making the argument knows. It can also be used frequently by science. They are starting to walk back a lot of early claims about evolution because even they have finally had to admit, the evidence just isn’t there to prove it – in fact new scientific discoveries disprove many of Darwin’s underlying assumptions. Go back and look at all of the “truths” of Darwin taught as truth four decades ago with no evidence to prove them as true – at all. Yes, Christianity is based on faith even with every evidence we have. Don’t let your kids believe others don’t also cling to a faith of a different kind that also lacks undeniable evidence, just because those people claim it is true.
  5. Everybody thinks this belief is true, so it must be so. This is often seen in false teachings within Christianity. If so and so famous preacher is teaching it, then it must be true – even if the Bible says the exact opposite. This argument is also used to justify sin, as in – “If our enlightened culture has decided this sin is acceptable and to be praised, then it must be fine.” Hollywood uses this technique a lot by making characters in shows do, say or think what they want everyone else in the world to do, say or think. They know if they can have enough characters in enough shows doing anything and celebrating it, most will eventually jump on the bandwagon, too.

These aren’t the only logical fallacies your kids may encounter over the years. Teaching them to recognize these types of arguments as an important red flag -driving them back into scripture is extremely important. It’s the best way to protect your kids from bad logic pulling them away from God.

 

Published by

Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking. Their daughter Katrina, who has been an integral part of their service adventures, attends Pepperdine University.

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