A LOGICAL FALLACY

The point has been made here before that it is hard to swallow when those who do not believe the Bible want to tell those of us who study it what it says and what it means. Such an act is akin to my telling my mechanic how to service my car when I wouldn’t know what to say. I take it to him for a reason. (Don’t misunderstand; I do not mean we should merely take in everything we are told by someone who supposedly does understand the scripture. Remember, the Bereans searched the scriptures to see if Paul was teaching truth, Acts 17:11.)

There is another bothersome thing that some atheists do: express personal incredulity. They say, “I cannot believe such a thing; therefore, it cannot be true.” They protest certain aspects of the Bible as unbelievable and expect such to persuade us that these things are not actually proof of God but reasons against his existence. Why after all should we not be persuaded? If they can’t believe it, how could we?

For instance, they posit, how could Noah possibly have gotten all those animals on the ark? It is not possible. I cannot believe such a thing; therefore, it did not happen. Ergo, no God. Implicit in the assertion is that anyone who can believe these things is foolish. And with this sort of reasoning, there is plenty within the pages of scripture to question. A staff turning into a snake? Ridiculous. Baalam’s donkey spoke? Silliness. Satan in the form of a serpent. Absurd. And this is supposed to be proof that there is no God.

This idea finds expression also in the desire for “reasonable” explanations. There must be natural causes for the parting of the Red Sea. An underground earthquake, they say. It is a relative of the idea that I won’t believe what I cannot see. There must be tangible proof. The problem with the idea of proof is it is relative. What serves as proof to one can be merely dismissed by another. Jesus performed miracles in front of witnesses that many dismissed. What if archaeologists found Noah’s ark? Certainly, such a discovery would be headline news, but would that event cause people to bow the knee to God?

What is not accounted for, often, is their misinterpretation. A while back, I purchased a book at the Dollar Store (for a dollar … much overpriced) called Divinity Of Doubt by Vincent Bugliosi. I thought I would consider argumentation from the other side. He is a prosecutor who is held in esteem for his thinking. Indeed, the jacket of the book says, “Theists will be left reeling by the commanding nature of Bugliosi’s extraordinary arguments against them.” Right. I’ve read about ten not necessarily consecutive pages of the book and already found glaring and serious errors. Errors which atheists/agnostics make because they do not understand the Bible. For instance, he adopts the personal incredulity logical flaw in calling Jonah’s three days and nights in the belly of the fish, Samson’s killing of 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey, and Jesus’ statement to his apostles that if they had faith as a mustard seed they could move a mountain as absurdities. In effect, he says, I cannot believe these things; therefore, they are absurd. And if they are absurd to me, they should be to you as well. See, proof. This reasoning is not proof of anything.

Bugliosi also considers “locusts with the faces of men but the hair of women, whose wings roared like an army of chariots (Revelation 9:7-9)” as absurd. He lumps this “absurdity” in with those he cited above. The problem is that he is obviously ignorant of the fact that these locusts are figurative symbols meant to convey a particular meaning. John even tells us up front that such is the case, Revelation 1:1. They are not literal entities. I assume that Bugliosi is familiar with the pre-millennial fallacy and so expects these locusts to appear at some point in our future. He completely misunderstands any true meaning; and so to him it appears absurd.

(I fail to see this supposed intelligence of Bugliosi. He is so completely off the mark in his “understanding” of the Bible that it really is laughable. And I do not just mean that because I am a believer. I say that because his arguments are not new or good. He argues that God allows us to die; therefore He must be evil. The old suffering argument. “So when we lose our loved ones and cry out in unbearable anguish, one being and one being only is responsible, and that’s God.” Do you see the ignorance and selfishness? It’s not our fault; it’s God’s. Even though the Bible tells us that death is a result of the sin of man, Romans 5:12. It was never God’s will.)

If there is an all-powerful God who created this universe, would he not be capable of making donkey’s talk, parting the Red Sea, empowering Samson to kill 1,000 Philistines, and raising Jesus from the dead? Are those things not an indication of what we would expect in an all-powerful God. Christians have no problem with the concept that God can do anything God wills to do. Why would anyone who cannot believe such things expect us to be persuaded by such reasoning? It is the very essence of what the Pharisees said to Jesus which he called blaspheming the Holy Spirit, attributing the power of God to Satan. These non-believers are denying the power of God.

Whenever someone protests how unbelievable the miraculous acts of God in the Bible are and tries to persuade you that their personal inability to believe should be proof of the absurdity of believing the Bible, recognize this logical fallacy for what it is. It is not proof, it is opinion disguised as proof and meant to make you feel inferior so as to cause you doubt. If you believe in God, you know He can do these things no matter what anyone else tries to tell you. If they do not believe God can do these things, that is their choice. It is only logical; however, that their disbelief is not proof.

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