Why Christians Should Study Logic…
While Jesus and his disciples dined together in the upper room, Satan, more at home in the back room, conspired in the shadows. While Jesus and his disciples taught openly, Satan whispered and winked. Simply put, the truth is not on Satan’s side, so he must conspire. From the moment he slithered through the tall grass of Eden he has used deception as a tool of dominion. Christ’s kingdom is a city set on a hill, openly advancing in the light. But Satan’s kingdom must lie in ambush.
This is why one of Satan’s many deceptive tactics is the use of fallacy. He is the father of fallacies. He originated the strawman, the red herring, and the ad hominem. He is a master of equivocation and a craftsman of the false dilemma. In other words, Satan must engage in less than valid argumentation. He must mislead and present his case with unsound premises and faulty conclusions. He cannot rely on the truth—he must rather depend on deception to make his case and extend his reign. Deception is his tool of dominion.
As a result, many of us, like our mother Eve, have been caught off guard by his wiles. We have not always been able to spot his lies and as a result have suffered untold consequences. Consider for an example the many fallacies even in his first recorded words in Genesis 3.
Having caught Eve apart from her Husband, he whispered his curious question, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Immediately we recognize the fallacy of incredulity. Satan feigns disbelief. Satan is aghast at such a cruel and supposedly harsh law. We see without much difficulty that this question is no question at all. It’s rank pretense. We see the implied, yet not stated conclusion: God’s laws are overbearing and unreasonable.
We can lay out all the unstated premises: God is anti-Eve. God is anti-Woman. God is the great oppressor. Satan, on the other hand, cares for Eve. He is a humanitarian, the first ever man-of-the-people. Through his deception he traps Eve in a dialogue. He is the prosecutor, God is on trial, and Eve is duped into donning the black robes and judging for herself whether God is loving and His laws just. This was Eve’s first mistake. If Eve would have been more practiced in the art and science of reasoning well, she may have been able to recognize the many fallacies. She wouldn’t have fed this swine her precious pearls. But she was not so shrewd and as a result she fell to his deception.
This is a sobering account. Who among us would not have fallen just like Eve? But what if I were to tell you that a Christian could become more adept at spotting demonic lies and figuring out Satan’s fallacies. Of course, nothing can be done apart from the Spirit’s power, and often we choose to do evil even when we are not deceived, but I would arguethat in the power of the Spirit, a Christian can grow in shrewdness. A Christian can, by God’s grace, become more mature and less gullible. What If I were to tell you that there is an art form, or a scientific subject that, if mastered, could fortify you from Satanic deception either coming from Him directly or from his many minions?
For several years now I have been engaged in teaching children the art and science of reasoning well known as Logic. And, as a result I have become absolutely convinced that one of the reasons that many American Christians are so unwittingly duped by propaganda, fake news and fallacy is that we have lost our ability to reason well. Now, of course no matter how great we are at the art and science of Logic, without the Spirit of God we are without hope in this world. But, the ability to reason well is a gift from God that we should cultivate in ourselves and especially in our children. If we can learn how to love the Lord with all our mind we would not be so easily enchanted by Satan’s charms.
Scripture demands that Christian children receive a Christian education (Deut. 6; Eph. 6:4). I would highly recommend making Logic a part of that instruction. Teach your child how to think God’s thoughts after him. Instruct your child in the principles of God’s invisible world of reason. Be sure your child can throw a ball, play a piano and read a book. But, also be sure they can smell a rat and spot a lie. Fortify your children before they leave your stewardship that they may be shrewd and formidable opponents in the advance of Christ’s Kingdom.